The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, SGT Kenneth Charles Hess, who died in the service of his country on February 8th, 1969 in Pleiku Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Small Arms/AW while with 75th Rangers. At the time of his death Kenneth was 23 years of age. He was from Throop, Pennsylvania. Kenneth is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel W33, Line 89.
The decorations earned by SGT Kenneth Charles Hess include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachute Badge, 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.
Ken had prior service with A,1/35th. He was serving with the 75th Rangers at the time of his death.
The following was taken from the Scranton Times dated Sunday Feb 23, 1969.
Tragedy Stalks Family of Soldier Killed in Viet
The death of a Scranton soldier in Vietnam on February 8 is the latest in a string of tragedies which has struck the family over the years.
Sgt. Kenneth C. Hess had predicted that he would not return alive from Vietnam when he departed for the war zone in March 1968. Eleven months later, just one month before he was due to return to the States, his prediction came true. The 24 year old sergeant succumbed to wounds incurred when his unit the 4th Infantry, 35th Brigade, engaged in a firefight with hostile forces.
But he had reason to be fatalistic for his own father had been killed while serving in the navy in WWII and had never seen the unborn son he left behind.
And now the parallel was complete,
Sgt. Hess had departed for Vietnam leaving behind a wife and an unborn child also. And, like his father, he never saw his six months old son, Kenneth Charles Jr. His widow, the former Judy Doughton, resides at 826 Madison Ave, Scranton.
That tragedy over-visited this family can be seen because on August 14, 1963, a brother, Jerome Pica, 14, was killed while riding his bicycle on the O'Neill Highway, Dunmore, when struck from behind by an automobile.
And coincidentally, on the day that Sgt Hess was killed in Vietnam, an aunt, Mrs. Jane Healey, formerly of Scranton, was killed in an automobile tractor-truck crash in Alabama. Mrs Healey was buried from the Sweeny Funeral Home , Olyphant, on Valentine's Day with interment in the Archbald Protestant Cemetery.
Sgt. Hess attended Lackawanna Trail High School and entered the army in 1963. A career man, he served three years in Germany and returned to this country in October 1966. Before shipping to Vietnam he was stationed at Ft. Dix, NJ and Ft. Meade, MD.
Surviving are his widow and son, his mother, Mrs. Robert Lenane, Scranton; maternal Grandfather; John Hess, Scranton;, who raised Sgt. Hess; a brother Armand Picca, Scranton; two sisters, Mrs. Margaret Larnerd and Miss Antoinette Picca, Scranton and three nieces.
The funeral will be Monday at 2:30 p.m. from the McGoff Funeral Home, 1401 Capouse Ave, Scranton, with services by the Rev. W. Edward McHale, St. John's Luthern Church. Interment, Archbald Protestant Cemetery. Friends may call 2-4 and 7-9 p.m.