The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, SP4 Joseph Ledesma Jr., who died in the service of his country on May 20th, 1967 in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Multi-Frag. At the time of his death Joseph was 20 years of age. He was from San Jose, California. Joseph is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 20E, Line 62.
The decorations earned by SP4 Joseph Ledesma Jr. include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star with V, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.
VICINITY VINH HIEN (3), 8 KM N-NW OF DUC PHO BS 768443
38 years ago today my big brother Joe was killed in the Battle Of Vinh Hien, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. I want to thank the Cacti Association for helping me to locate men who served with Joe and knew him during his service in 'Nam. I am compiling information for a book I am writing about his life. Although Joe was a civilian for 19 of his 20 years, his service in Vietnam is an integral part of his life story that me and my family want to share with others. Thank you to the Cacti men who served with Joe that I have spoken with and shared their memories of Joe, and those who were there on this day 38 years ago: Doc Joe Baker, Randy Morris, Jim Phillipe, and Mike Hord. I am still searching for more men out there who served with Joe. His Award of the Bronze Star with "V" Device reads as follows:
"For Heroism in connection with military operations against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. On May 20, 1967 Specialist Four Ledesma distinguished himself while serving as a Fire Team Leader in Company C, 2d Batallion, 35th Infantry, which was conducting a search and destroy operation near Duc Pho. The company was engaged by a numerically superior enemy force deployed in defensive trenches and bunkers. Specialist Four Ledesma's Platoon had maneuvered to within a few meters of the enemy lines when it's advance was halted by intense small arms and automatic weapons fire. Undaunted by this, Specialist Four Ledesma crawled to within six feet of an enemy automatic weapon position and attempted to destroy it with rifle fire and grenades. Firing from a completely exposed position, he suppressed the enemy fire enough to allow his platoon members to advance and close with the enemy. As the machine gunner of the platoon began maneuvering forward Specialist Four Ledesma moved to his side to provide better protective fire but was mortally wounded in this heroic act. Specialist Four Ledesma's courageous and self-sacrificing actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the United States Army."
My family continues to love and miss Joe very much. His memory will never leave us. -David Ledesma P.S.- Joe's page can be located on the Vietnam Wall Memorial website http://www.thewall-usa.com David Ledesma -- San Jose' CA USA -- 05/20/2005