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PFC John Charles Peel
Birth: Jan. 24, 1946
Bradford
Essex County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Sep. 17, 1967, Vietnam

On the morning of 17 September, after a day and night of pitched battles with the enemy in the Area of Operations on the 16th, we were scheduled to move into a number of enemy strongholds and sweep the enemy back towards to the west into the blocking force which had been established earlier that morning by elements of the 1st Marines. I had breakfast that morning with my radio operator, Ron Hamlin, and with John and LCpl Cheney. Everyone seemed on edge as if we knew something big was in the offering for the day. John was his usual self. His sense of humor, and his love for music was one things I liked about him. He was always singing and pretending he was playing guitar. We ate our breakfast and then moved out for objective One at 0900 hours after being somewhat delayed. It began to rain ever so slightly and it was very very hot...somewhere around 105 degrees. As we moved near to our objective, a village to our direct front, we were ambushed by a large enemy force with mortars, .50 cal. machine guns, and small arms fire. John was hit in the initial burst of enemy fire and went down. As we dived for what cover there was and began returning fire I noticed that John was laying infront of us and exposed to enemy fire. I jumped up and went to him and pulled him back to cover. Then I went about calling for close fire support on the enemy positions to our direct front and left flank. The battle was on going for almost an hour before the enemy broke contact and fled back into the countryside. I made my way back to where John was laying and the Corpsman was feverishly administering mouth to mouth in an effort to save his life. He needed the oxygen that was on board the medevac chopper that was circling above us. However, the medevac pilot refused to land because we were taking fire despite the fact that an LZ had been secured out of the area of the fighting. The Marines were mad at the pilot because we had many many casualties and he would not land and secure their extraction. A number of the Marines died waiting for that to happen...Including John. Meanwhile, Doc was still working on John and I noticed that he was slipping away. His color was ashen, his lips were blue and syonotic...I had seen it too many times in my 10 months in Vietnam. I kneeled down next to John and Doc and cradled John's lifeless body in my lap and cried. After some time passed some Marines came over to where I was sitting with John still cradled in my lap and said, "MO (my nickname) we have got to take him." I clung even tighter to him when my radio operator, Ron Hamlin came over to me and touched me on the shoulder and nodded at me. I gently placed John's head on the ground as he was placed in a body bag, tagged and taken to the helicopter. I was so distraught and angry...I wanted payback on the enemy and would get it later that day and night, and the next day. After the operation I was so bad that my CO forced me to go on R&R to Hawaii. I was given a combat decoration for my actions that day for pulling John to cover and other actions during the ambush. I often wondered about John, his Mom and Dad and brother who he spoke about all the time, and about his funeral. This is the first time I have mentioned what happened that day in a long long time. I hope that it helps you in some small way. If I can answer any other questions for you don't hesitate to ask. He spoke about his part in the band a few times.

Vietnam Wall Panel co-ords 26E 085
In Memory of
Private First Class John Charles Peel





 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Dennison K. Peel (1917 - 1986)
  Ruth F. Peel (1921 - 1985)
 
 Sibling:
  John Charles Peel (1946 - 1967)
  Norman V. Peel (1951 - 2009)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Inscription:
"Died in Vietnam Action"
 
Burial:
Elmwood Cemetery
Bradford
Essex County
Massachusetts, USA
 
Created by: Michael Carnevale
Record added: May 08, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 26678698
PFC John Charles Peel
Added by: Michael Carnevale
 
PFC John Charles Peel
Added by: Michael Carnevale
 
PFC John Charles Peel
Added by: Michael Carnevale
 
 
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John,you passed far too young but your sacrifice will never be taken for granted.
- Love to you...Cindy
 Added: Nov. 11, 2013
I'm sure Thanksgiving is amazing up there...no calories! Thinking of you, as always.
- Love, Cindy
 Added: Nov. 21, 2012
John, did you see how many people wrote such wonderful things about you on FB? Everyone still thinks of you and misses you. You are so loved!
- XO...Cindy
 Added: Nov. 15, 2012
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