The following information was provided by Dave Mellon, one of Lt Hackett's OCS classmates. Thank you, Dave.
I have included below some information I developed for a Memorial our OCS and Basic School Class held last year at the Mt. Soledad Cross in LaJolla, CA.
1st Lt David S. Hackett – Dave was commissioned from the NROTC program at Princeton, where he played soccer and lacrosse. At Basic School, he was assigned to 2nd Platoon of Echo Company and he graduated 5th in the Class and was the honor graduate of Echo 2. Dave was the XO (MOS 0302) of Hotel Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines. During the period April 22 through April 26, 1967, BLT 2/3 as part of the SLF was conducting a search and destroy mission (Operation Beacon Star) in Thua Thien Province, approximately 16 miles north of Hue. As the “Hill Fights” developed, 2/3 was tapped to supplement the build-up of forces at Khe Sanh Combat Base. They were heli-lifted to Phu Bai and then moved by C-130 to Khe Sanh. Once on the ground, they followed in trace of other infantry units that had already captured Hill 861 and were positioning to attack 881 South from a northern approach. On April 29th, Mike Company 3/9, while moving to the north of Hill 881 South had encountered entrenched NVA as they moved through a draw (XD 784448). Hotel Company 2/3 moved into the same draw at mid-morning on April 30th. Dave was on a ridge just above the draw when Hotel Company’s leading platoons were taken under fire by NVA in well camouflaged entrenched positions by heavy machine guns and sniper rifles, later verified to be equipped with scopes. Observing the location of the NVA machine gun which was inflicting heavy casualties on Hotel Company, Dave sprang up from a small depression and moved 30 meters through heavy enemy fire to provide direction for a Marine M-60 machine-gun team. Dave’s direction placed heavy fire on on the NVA bunker in which the NVA heavy machine gun was located and neutralized the position. Still under heavy fire, Dave directed the evacuation of several of the casualties. Recognizing that the Company Commander’s radioman had been killed, Dave sent his radioman to take over as the Company Commander’s radioman. Next, he moved forward to assist in the direction of the 2nd Platoon, as their platoon commander had been wounded. It was during this courageous action that Dave was shot in the back of the head, by an enemy sniper. He died in Quang Tri Province between Hill 861 and the northern approaches to Hill 881 South in what 2/3 called “Operation Beacon Star – Phase II”. He was awarded the Silver Star posthumously for his valor. Dave was single.
Vietnam War Marine Corps veteran
1LT David S. Hackett
Hostile, Died, Gun, Small Arms Fire, Ground Casualty
Khe Sanh, Hill 881N, Quang Tri, South Vietnam
3RD Marine Division, 3RD Marines Regiment, 2ND Battalion, H Company
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
Panel 18E - Line 122
Silver Star Citation
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant David S. Hackett (MCSN: 0-92088), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Company H, Second Battalion, Third Marines, THIRD Marine Division (Reinforced), in the Republic of Vietnam, on 30 April 1967. While conducting a search and destroy mission in Thua Thien Province, North of Khe Sanh, the company came under a sudden and vicious attack from fortified enemy emplacements less than one hundred meters away. Armed with .50 caliber machine guns, automatic rifles and small arms with sniper scopes, the enemy inflicted heavy casualties. First Lieutenant Hackett unhesitatingly charged thirty meters through a hail of automatic fire to direct an M-60 machine gun team against an enemy bunker. Once this mission was completed, he again exposed himself to the intense fire to organize a stricken platoon and help evacuate the seriously wounded. Upon completion of this task, he once again rushed to the base of fire to encourage and direct his men's fire. While pressing the assault and encouraging his Marines, First Lieutenant Hackett was mortally wounded. By his outstanding courage, indomitable fighting spirit and selfless efforts in behalf of others, First Lieutenant Hackett served to inspire all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Action Date: 30-Apr-67
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: First Lieutenant
Company: Company H
Battalion: 2d Battalion
Regiment: 3d Marines
Division: 3d Marine Division (Rein.), FMF
U.S. Marine Corps
Year of birth and Date of death are incorrect on the gravestone.