The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC Walter Earl Duncan Jr., who died in the service of his country on May 20th, 1967 in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Small Arms/AW. At the time of his death Walter was 19 years of age. He was from Beaver, Ohio. Walter is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 20E, Line 57.
The decorations earned by PFC Walter Earl Duncan Jr. 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.
DURING SWEEP IN AREA OF MAY 19 CONTACT, 7 KM S-SE OF DUC PHO BS 843315
Walter enjoyed hunting and fishing and was engaged to a fine young lady when Drafted. Walter is buried in Owl Creek Cemetery, near Beaver, Ohio. His funeral at the nearby Mennonite Church was one of the largest ever held in the Beaver area
HHC, 4th Infantry Division, General Orders Number 1708
Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device
For heroism in connection with military operations against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. On 19 May 1967 Private First Class Duncan distinguished himself while serving as a Rifleman in Company A, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, which was conducting a search and destroy operation near Duc Pho. His platoon had the mission of sweeping south through a suspected North Vietnamese Army battalion base camp in a village. As the platoon entered the village, it encountered the enemy, well dug-in and heavily fortified. The enemy waited until the platoon had advanced to within 25 meters of their positions, and then opened fire with small arms and automatic weapons. Private First Class Duncan was wounded in the initial burst of fire, but he remained forward, covering the rest of the platoon until they could shift to more tenable positions and evacuate the wounded. Then, despite his wounds and the intensity of the enemy fire, he made an assault on an enemy bunker dangerously close to the platoon's position. Reaching the bunker, he hurled a hand grenade into it, destroying it and its occupants. Later he succumbed to his wounds, but his efforts had been instrumental to the success of the platoon's assault. Private First Class Duncan's unselfish bravery and personal courage in the face of the enemy are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
News story from The Pike County News Watchman Sunday, October 13, 2019
Local hero recognized by Ohio and local hometown
On Saturday, August 24, 2019, the State of Ohio and the Beaver, Pike County area honored a local hero by dedicating a portion of state route 32 in his name.
PFC Walter Earl Duncan Jr. was killed 52 years ago in Duc Pho, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. 20 May 1967, when his platoon was on a search and destroy mission was attacked by Vietnam soldiers. Despite mortal wounds, PFC Duncan made an assault on the enemy and, reaching the bunker, hurled a hand grenade into it, destroying it and it's occupants. He later succumbed to his wounds, but his efforts were instrumental to the success of the platoon assault and saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. He was awarded, posthumously, the Bronze Star with the "V" device for heroism in ground combat. Like so many other Vietnam veterans, his return home was without ceremony, speeches or notice, like slipping home after dark, through the back door, except for his hometown of Beaver, Ohio
The people of Beaver kept his memory alive, and it was the effort of a local woman, Bonnie Ward, who had known him in high school and championed the request to the State of Ohio to award this honor, that this designation of a portion of Rt 32 was possible. The ceremony was well attended, with nearly 100 family, high school friends and community residents, many of them veterans, themselves. District Deputy Director of ODOT, Mike Dembrowski, himself a Marine and Ohio State Representative Shane Wilkin, gave remarks about Earl's service. Earl's sister, Linda Duncan Thompson, gave remarks about Earl before Vietnam, as well as recognizing family veterans attending the ceremony, Vietnam Veterans and other veterans in the crowd. She also recognized the parents of Justin Helton, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2014. She reminded the crowd that there were two other soldiers who were killed within 3 months of Earl in Vietnam. Sp4 Charles Eugene Miller and Sp4 Clarence Rickards, both of Piketon, died in Vietnam and wondered if they have ever been recognized.
She stressed that awards, medals, speeches and signs are wonderful tributes, but that Vietnam Vets need to be honored in other ways. Not until there is adequate health care and psychological care, no long waits for care at VA hospitals, no homeless and no unemployed veterans, will they be truly honored and thanked for their service. Only when those needs are met, will we be truly showing honor and respect for these who give everything for this country.