Corp Jan Avery Elkins

Corp Jan Avery Elkins

East Brunswick, Middlesex County, New Jersey, USA
Death 26 Oct 1968 (aged 20)
Tam Kỳ, Quảng Nam, Vietnam
Burial Pleasant Hills, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA
Plot Oak Knoll Sect.29 Veterans Field of Honor Lot 420, Space 1
Memorial ID 17613970 · View Source
Suggest Edits

US Marine Jan Avery Elins, Vietnam Veteran, Native of East Brunswick, New Jersey.

US Marine Corporal Jan Avery Elkins was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Marine Corps, CPL Elkins served our country until October 26th, 1968 in Quang Nam, South Vietnam. He was 20 years old and was married. It was reported that Jan died from an undetermined explosion. His body was recovered. CPL Elkins is on panel 40W, line 036 of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. He served our country for 2 years.

I am my Fathers Son. There is much I don't know about him, but would like to learn. He was killed near the village of An Hoa in Quang Nam Provence. He was assigned to, 1st Marines, 1st Battalion, Charlie Company. If you are reading this remembrance then either you have a connection with my father or me. If you have a connection with my father, in any way, please email me at the address given. I would like to talk to you about him. I am looking to contact a few people. Stacy Watson; with Alpha Company, Robert Lantz, Stan Dickerson, Rueben Gonzales, and Robert Howard. Thank you. God Bless.

Jan Avery Elkins resided in East Brunswick, NJ. He graduated from East Brunswick High School in 1965. Jan's interests included electronics, Elizabethan Literature and 20th Century American authors. He ran on the track team and played basketball. He sang well and played the guitar through high school and college. Following one year of college and a short period working for IBM, he enlisted.
Jan A. Elkins entered the US Marine Corps in 1967, where he attained the rank of Corporal (CPL) in Company C, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. On October 26, 1968, in the Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, Jan was participating in an operation against the enemy. At approximately 8:40 AM an explosive device mortally wounded him. A Medical Corpsman rushed to his aid but his wounds were too severe and he died almost instantly.

The grim and embittering elements of war, specifically for Americans in Indochina, affected every soldier differently. Where some accepted their experiences as part of their assigned tasks in Vietnam, others chose to reflect upon the horrors of their surroundings and activities and to avoid participating in either depravity or atrocity. Jan Elkins was an individual who practiced personal reflection, while his leadership qualities drew the attention of his peers and superiors. Before his entrance into the U.S Marine Corps, Jan had been an introspective and serious high school student and athlete. He ran on his track team and played basketball. He sang well, and played the guitar through high school and college, where he performed in coffeehouses and nightclubs. Following one year of college and a short period working for IBM, he enlisted. He resumed his enjoyment of music while stationed at the 8th and I Barracks in Washington, DC, and there he met and married Steffanie Blanning. They'd been together for eight months when Jan started his tour of Vietnam. He died seven weeks later. At that time Steffanie was pregnant with their son, Jan.

While corresponding with family and friends amidst war's ugliness and madness, he articulated the ironic, the contrasts between home and war surroundings and the inhumanities he witnessed, with both surprise and sadness. His letters from Vietnam testify to his decency and his remorse over the tacit losses of cultural and civilian life in the lives in Vietnam, of the losses of his friends and fellow soldiers, and of the dramatic changes in the lives of those who would live to see the end of that war. He wrote to his former schoolteachers, to his siblings, his parents, and daily to his wife, maintaining his personal and moral perspective. He died a U.S. Marine with the copy of The Complete Works of Byron in his pack. Jan expressed concerns for his unit in combat, including that of surviving; returning to civilian life with the burden of what they all had become accustomed and compelled to do in their days. He wrote of firing at a moving object at the command of his C.O., and that a fellow Marine subsequently reported that he'd shot a young boy; how horrified he was that he'd killed a child the same age as his own youngest brother. He wrote of his frustration over having our Dad sending medical supplies to his platoon when the Marine Corps began to send only what the "statistical survivors" should have needed. We got photos of Jan and other soldiers sharing cigarettes with the Vietnamese, posing with the children in small villages in the forests. He wrote of "sweeping" villages for Vietcong soldiers and of the hunts for snipers along with the common dread of booby traps (which would eventually claim him as well).

The past decades of events in the lives of Jan's family members tend to dilute the impact his death had on all of us, but no eulogy or reminiscence has been capable of capturing the scope of what an extraordinary person he was, especially to those who knew him well. Written by Jay A. Elkins, Brother.

Jan and I went to the same high school. I was a year younger so I didn't know him very well but I knew he was well liked. I remember when the news of his death hit our town a few days after his death. I had signed up for the Army the day before he died. I frequently thought of him during my time in the Army, as he was the first person I knew who died in Vietnam. I learned to have great respect for Marines, and I say this with honor and humility. Semper Fi, my friend. Ron Walker,

He served with Charley Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 3rd Marine Division, 3rd MAF.

He was awarded The Combat Action Ribbon(CAR), the Silver Star for Gallantry in Action, The Purple Heart Medal for his Combat Related Wounds, the Military Merit Medal and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.

Sponsored by Ancestry



  • Created by: Tom Reece
  • Added: 21 Jan 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17613970
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Corp Jan Avery Elkins (20 Mar 1948–26 Oct 1968), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17613970, citing Jefferson Memorial Park, Pleasant Hills, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Tom Reece (contributor 46857744) .