The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC Ronald S. Sandel, who died in the service of his country on October 9th, 1967 in Quang Tin Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Small Arms/AW. At the time of his death Ronald was 21 years of age. He was from Thorp, Wisconsin. Ronald is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 27E, Line 83.
The decorations earned by PFC Ronald S. Sandel include: the Combat Medical 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.
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Friday, October 13, 1967
By Irene Herrmann
Herald-Telegram Staff Writer
To say that Ron Sandel gave himself completely to whatever he did would probably explain the way he died, as well as the way he lived.
The shocked community of Thorp found it difficult to believe that Specialist 4 Ronald Scott Sandel, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Anton Sandel, 108 Rusch Street, Thorp, had been killed in Vietnam action on October 9.
Within a few hours of the tragic report, however, friends were seeking to put into words their feeling of loss, and their high regard for the greatly respected young man. One of the oft-repeated phrases used in describing Ron was, "He worked hard at whatever he did."
This was especially true in the field of athletics, for Ron was a valued member of his high school football squad; the basketball quint, and track team. Football coach, Roger Hedrington, and basketball coach, Arthur "Jack" Tetzner, had a high regard for Ron and his ability and are saddened by his death.
In school athletics as in other activities Ron earned as a "team" man, working for the advancement of his team rather than for personal gain. He frequently demonstrated his understanding of the valuable quality of self-discipline.
Though Ron was not always present at the school dances he found himself the center of attention at one of them for his classmates selected him as Prom King.
Because he gave so much of himself to Thorp High School prior to his graduation in 1964, plans are underway to establish a memorial in relation to the school.
Bud and Betty Bishop of Thorp's East Main Street were among those who paid their verbal tribute to the youthful soldier. Bud (A.F.) Bishop was Ron's Boy Scout leader and regarded him as an "exceptional member of an exceptional troop" of scouts. As an Explorer Scout Ron brought to his post a spirit of cooperation and respect for his leader and associates.
Scouting went deep with Ron for he practiced the high ideals of its program in his relations with others. He liked people, and endeared himself to the kids of his neighborhood by playing football with them.
Long after Ron and his fellow Explorers had completed their scouting activities they continued to be close friends. They followed a favorite custom of Christmas caroling last year and Ron and a pal had a gift for their former leader, Bud Bishop. The Bishops recall that of the former close-knit group four have gone to Vietnam. Ron was honored at a big surprise farewell party before he left.
It was 11 months ago that Ronald entered the service, and he left for Vietnam early in May. In a letter to his parents, written October first, he stated that he doing the right thing in helping to subdue the VC.
A precious ingredient went out of the lives of Tony and Claire Sandel and their son Kenneth, 16, when representatives of the United States Army called at the Sandel home this week on their difficult mission. It is typical of Claire Sandel that she sought to make their task less painful. Tony's eyes are clouded as he recalls still another war in which he himself served his country.
In the midst of the heartbreak at the Sandel home there is a quiet pride in the son who, in just 21 years, has given a lifetime of unselfish service to his fellowmen.
Father Francis Brockman will officiate at the memorial service at St. Bernard's Church in Thorp when the body arrives with military escort. SPEC 4 Ronald S. Sandel will be laid to rest with full military honors.
October 15, 1997
403 North Washington
Post Office Box 487
Thorp, Wisconsin 54771
Ronald Sandel was a young man from Thorp who died in combat in Vietnam on October 9, 1967. I served with him and want to remind his home town of his service, his courage and his sacrifice. Thirty years have passed but the story is timeless.
Late in the afternoon of October 9, 1967 two platoons of our rifle company assaulted North Vietnamese Army positions on a heavily vegetated ridgeline. The North Vietnamese were in much greater strength than anticipated and the assault quickly became a desperate, mortal struggle. Ronald Sandel was a medic, known to us as "Doc Sandel". When the fighting started that day he was temporarily in basecamp. He heard we were in contact and rushed to the field in the first resupply helicopter. As the firefight continued Doc Sandel treated the wounded he could reach, even those in locations exposed to continuing North Vietnamese fire. In one such location he was mortally wounded while trying to treat and then shield a wounded man from enemy fire. Doc Sandel was a hero. He died trying, with everything he had, to save his friends.
I hope the people of Thorp will honor and perpetuate his memory. This month, thirty years after his passing, please remember Ronald Sandel with a special prayer or a moment of silence. Thank you.
R. Timothy Peters