The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC Michael Lee Farley, who died in the service of his country on April 10th, 1970 in Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Grenade Thrown into Night Laager Position. At the time of his death Michael was 21 years of age. He was from Tipton, Indiana. Michael is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 12W, Line 117.
The decorations earned by PFC Michael Lee Farley include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star, 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.
Unfortunately, all I remember about Michael was that he was a really nice guy. He was relatively new to our platoon when he was killed.
I believe his death was instantaneous. The grenade landed right on him and it was a big Chinese grenade. I saw it at the top of its arch when it came in. I was only about 10 feet away from Michael when it happened, however, I was lucky and got no shrapnel. I believe almost all of the shrapnel was absorbed by Michael's body, however, there was one guy who got some shrapnel in his eye. My platoon leader, Lt. Glenn Troester was right next to Michael
when it happened and amazingly was unhurt.
I mentioned in my E-Mail of yesterday that Michael had killed a VC the day before on a squad sweep. I was on that sweep. We came on some man made large holes in the ground, probably the beginning of bunkers being built.
While I was looking over the holes in the ground, a VC snuck up and peeped over the top of a small ridge. Michael was alert and popped him with his M-16. One round, one kill. The VC had an SKS rifle which was much prized as a war souvenir by GIs. It would have been Michael's souvenir, however, after he was killed, we sent it back to the rear. It was probably traded to Air Force guys for something important like steaks.
We also had a memorial service for Michael at a forward firebase a couple of weeks after he was killed. A Chaplin came out and held the service. We had an M-16 stuck in the ground by its bayonet with a helmet on top to symbolize Michael. We were very dirty and tired, however, we were inspired by the service.
I truly sympathize with you and your family. We lost a bunch of fine guys in Vietnam who generally were doing their best under very difficult circumstances in a war no one supported including our elected public officials. I can assure you, however, that we cared about each other. In fact, our only motivation was to protect each other. We did not care about ideology or grand purpose, however, we cared about each other. We were brothers in the truest spirit of that word.
It took me at least a year to unwind from my Vietnam experience and it still sticks with me and somewhat defines who I am. Very few men I have known in my adult life served in the Military let alone as combat soldiers in Vietnam, and I have met many people who hold us GIs in disdain because we did. Many people think we were either baby killers or stupid for getting drafted. My perspective is that I learned what is important from that experience. Its all about God, family, friends, integrity and perseverance.
In general, the guys who served represent the best of America. I fly a U.S. flag at my house every day. My Dad flew a U.S. flag at his house every day I was in Vietnam and I feel like I owe it to my brothers to remember their honor.
Dwight F. Davis
Michael Farley is buried in Crownland Cemetery, Noblesville, IN