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PFC Felton Roger Fussell

Photo added by Elizabeth Reed

PFC Felton Roger Fussell

  • Birth 8 Nov 1950 Pasco County, Florida, USA
  • Death 6 Jun 1969 Quang Tri, Vietnam
  • Burial New Port Richey, Pasco County, Florida, USA
  • Memorial ID 16623220

PFC Felton R. Fussell of Elfers, Florida was killed in action in Vietnam and is honored on Panel 23W, Row 85 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Known by most as 'Roger', he is the son of Anna Inez Gause and John Felton Fussell.
NEW PORT RICHEY -- He was Roger to anyone who knew him. He went to a far-off place to fight for his country, and he didn't come back. So history will remember him by his full name. It is on the Pasco County Veterans Memorial, five names down on the south-facing panel. Etched in stone. FELTON R. FUSSELL
In June 1968, 18-year-old Felton Roger Fussell and his friend Jack Mathison had just graduated from Gulf High School. Mathison was Fussell's nephew, the son of his oldest sister, Jackie Mathison.
"They just came home one day and said "Hey, I joined the Marines,' " recalled Roger's younger brother, Tim. "Mama was quite surprised."
It was 1968, and America was in turmoil. The war in Vietnam was nearing its peak, and so were the anti-war demonstrations.
The two young men had talked about joining the service when they got out of high school. They believed it was the right thing to do.
Their enlistment was front-page news in the twice-weekly New Port Richey Press. They joined up on what was known as the Buddy System, with a guarantee they would be together.
"The two young men were to have been sworn in at Jacksonville Friday where they went for their physicals," the story said. "They will go on active duty at Parris Island, S.C., in September for eight weeks intensive boot camp training."

Fussell's parents, two of his sisters and his brother Tim made the trip to Parris Island for his graduation from basic training.
"We were proud; we were all proud," Faye Shorter said of her brother, who received a marksmanship award at boot camp. "I remember Daddy watching him up on that stage."
Fussell and Jack Mathison were sent to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Mathison was stricken with spinal meningitis there, so Fussell had to go to war without his friend.
But first he came back to Pasco.
Tim was 14 then, and he remembers the homecoming.
"That was the last time I saw him," said Tim, now a district chief for Pasco Fire-Rescue.
A year to the day after his high school graduation, Pfc. Fussell was part of the 3rd Marine Division, operating in the central highlands of Quang Tri Province. His squad came under mortar fire.
The 19-year-old rifleman dived for cover, but he didn't make it.
"The first thing you think about is a bit of selfishness because you lost your brother," Tim Fussell said. "Anger was one of the biggest feelings I had. Angry that he went over there and didn't come back."
Shorter said she was never prepared for the news.
"I thought if anyone could make it back, Roger and Jack could make it back," she said. "They were tough. I really did think that."
After recovering, Mathison followed Fussell to Vietnam and was wounded twice before coming home. He is now a firefighter in South Carolina.
More than 30 years later, Fussell's sisters, Jackie Mathison, Shorter and Myra Gulbrandsen, and his brother, Tim, still live in Elfers. Roger is buried nearby in Meadowlawn Cemetery.
A few miles away sits the memorial, 72,000 pounds of concrete, granite and steel, with Fussell's name on it. There are 71 other names as well, all Pasco residents killed in the nation's wars. Nine are from Vietnam, five from Korea, 39 from World War II and 19 from World War I.
Jack Kinney, chairman of the Pasco County Veterans Memorial committee, said three years have gone into gathering donations and building the $120,000 monument. The last two months were for construction.
Today's dedication ceremony will include a military bugler, a rifle salute and a speech by Rear Adm. Thomas W. Steffens, director of the Navy's Intelligence and Operations Center at MacDill Air Force Base.
"It's something that the county owed the veterans of this county who died," said Kinney, a Vietnam veteran himself. "You've got something that is sitting in front of the county building being seen by hundreds of people every day. It's a county's salute to its own."
"I'm glad they've got something," said Shorter, Fussell's sister. "We don't want him to be forgotten."
Just below Roger Fussell's name on the memorial is another name familiar to the family: Arthur R. Moody III. He was the uncle of Jody Fussell, recently divorced from Tim.
Moody, a sergeant in one of the most celebrated units of the Vietnam War, the 1st Air Cavalry, was killed by ground fire at the age of 22.
Everybody knew Moody as "Butch," said Jody Fussell, and not a day goes by that she doesn't think about her uncle, who died when she was 7.
"He has been my hero all my life," she said. "I remember him like it was yesterday."
Jody Fussell wears her uncle's unit patch on her jacket. In 1975, she followed her uncle into the Army.
"He was a hero, and I wanted to be just like him," she said.
The memorial being dedicated this weekend makes her proud, Jody Fussell said.
"We never forget," she said. "It's nice that somebody else remembers too."
Story by: Matthew Waite. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6247 or (800) 333-7505, ext. 6247. His e-mail address is waite@sptimes.com.


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  • Created by: Elizabeth Reed
  • Added: 12 Nov 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 16623220
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for PFC Felton Roger Fussell (8 Nov 1950–6 Jun 1969), Find A Grave Memorial no. 16623220, citing Meadowlawn Memorial Gardens, New Port Richey, Pasco County, Florida, USA ; Maintained by Elizabeth Reed (contributor 46561848) .