The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC John Michael Astley, who died in the service of his country on June 5th, 1967 in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Booby Trapped 250 lb Bomb. At the time of his death John was 24 years of age. He was from Des Moines, Iowa. John is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 21E, Line 57.
The decorations earned by PFC John Michael Astley 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.
John is buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Des Moines
(From The Des Moines Tribune, June 30 1967)
Services for Army Pfc. John Michael Astley, 24, of 1905 E. Twenty-second St will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Hamilton's Funeral Home. Burial will be at Laurel Hill cemetery. Private Astley was born in Des Moines and lived here most of his life. He had attended high school at Runnells and formerly worked at the Iowa Packing Company.
Surviving are his wife, Marcia; his father, John C Astley of West Des Moines; his mother, Mrs. James C McCauley of Runnells; a brother, Robert C of Des Moines; three half sisters, Linda and Cynthia McCauley and Suzette Astley, at home; two half brothers, James N. McCauley Jr. and Charles Astley at home; his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Guy Stevens of Lohrville, and his maternal grandfather, Cecil Milliken of Des Moines.
(A Remembrance from his brother Robert)
I can remember when John came home from AIT before going to Vietnam. He was so stern and ready to fight for his country and what he believed in. John was the type that would not back down from trouble when he was looking right at it. It was for this reason that, when I saw him off at Des Moines International airport headed for Vietnam, I gave him a big hand shake and a brotherly hug. I had this feeling that it was going to be the last time I would see him for I knew he was a real soldier and a hero!
It is with deep regret that his mother just passed away at age 84 years old, and on her son's birthday, to be with him in heaven forever.
(A Virtual Wall Post from his sister Linda)
You will never be forgotten
Mick is my Brother one of my big brothers and I think of him almost every day. So quiet,so kind,and I can't help but wonder each day what would he be like now,what would he be doing, how many children would he have,how many grandchildren,he was so very young to have his life ended. I have a son who looks so very much like him, and I pray he will never have to go to war.When I go to Mick's grave I tell him about my kids, and how I wish he could meet them. If only we could all learn to live and let live, even though we don't all believe the same,we still every one of us have people we love and who love us and hurt so very badly when we can't touch and talk to that loved one. I could go on for ever saying how much I Love and miss my Brother. I just hope and pray that one day war and killing will be unknown,because I know how badly it hurts and wish no one ever again has to feel this pain. I Love and Miss you very much Mick your sister Linda
(A Virtual Wall Post from his cousin)
Deborah Schriver (Stevens)
I'll Remember You Always Mick
How well I remember you. I remember how quiet and handsome you were,what seems so long ago,but seems like yesterday. I remember the family getting together before you left,and I remember the family getting together again for your coming home the last time. Micky,I've told my own children about you many times,and I know I'll tell my grandchildren the same stories. Thank you for the ultimate gift anyone can give,but I miss you.
I served with John in Company A, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division
It was a sunny, hot, very humid day and we were on a patrol and crossed over a bridge on Highway 1 in Quang Ngai Province. I was in the rear part of the mission and as the front part of the formation crossed the bridge it was blown up. Found out later that a 500lb dud bomb had been moved below the bridge and a hand grenade was set next to the bomb with a see through filament line was tied to the pin on hand grenade. The pin was pulled from a nearby tree line (150 yards away). Three others died that day. John and I became friends as I was from Perry, Iowa and him from Des Moines. He was a good soldier and friend and was always friendly and cordial to be around. I have carried his death around for 47 years and still remember that day for the rest of my life. I am now 67 and retired from the Union Pacific Railroad in Omaha, Ne. Rest in peace John and God Bless you.