The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC Richard Larry McClain, who died in the service of his country on September 30th, 1968 in Quang Duc Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Small Arms/AW. At the time of his death Richard was 20 years of age. He was from Toms River, New Jersey. Richard is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 42W, Line 49.
The decorations earned by PFC Richard Larry McClain 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.
On October 6, 1968, the "Asbury Park Press" reported that Richard L McClain, 20, Class of 1966 Toms River High School, had been killed in action in Vietnam on September 20, 1968; two weeks to the day after his arrival there. He had previously lived with his parents, Mr and Mrs Ernest McClain at 48 Flint Road, South Toms River.
He entered the Army April 15, 1968. Before that he attended Rutgers Universtiy in New Brunswick for a year and worked briefly for the Toms River Chemical Company.
He left for Vietnam on September 15 and ws killed the day after he was assigned to a combat unit. He was buried with full military honors in the National Cemetery, Beverly.
Besides his parents he was survived by two brothers, Daniel, Washington D.C. and Donald, Toms River; his paternal grandmother. Mrs mary A McClain, Toms River and his maternal grandmother, Mrs Bertha Birthright, Pensacola, Florida.
(His BSV Citation)
General Orders 6064, Award of The Bronze Star For Heroism, 4th Division, 24 November 1968
For heroism in connection with military operations against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Private First Class McClain distinguished himself while serving as a Rifleman with C, 2/35th Infantry. On 30 September 1968, Private First Class McClain's platoon was conducting a patrol along a highway when they came under intense enemy mortar, rocket, machine gun and small arms fire from their front and right flank. Reacting quickly, Private First Class McClain engaged the enemy position and kept the machine gun supplied with ammunition. Placing suppressive fire on the enemy position, the machine gun enabled his comrades to move the wounded to cover and find advantageous positions. When the machine gunner was mortally wounded, Private First Class McClain braved the enemy fire to move the machine gun to a position from which he could place intense and accurate fire on the enemy. When the enemy located his position they concentrated their fire on him. Attempting to move to a new position, Private First Class McClain was mortally wounded by enemy fire. His personal bravery, determination, and exemplary devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.