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|Rank||Name||Casualty Date||Unit||Vietnam Memorial|
|SGT||Burchfield, Jimmy Fred||March 20, 1969||Co B 2/1st||P29W91|
|SGT||Clarke, Kenneth George Jr.||March 9, 1969||Co D 1/2nd||P30W86|
|SSGT||Dickerson, William Clint||May 13, 1969||Co B 1/503d||P25W97|
|SGT||Hilliard, James Francis||May 26, 1969||Co D 2/5th||P24W110|
|SGT||Mallinckrodt, Arthur T.H. Jr.||May 5, 1969||Co A 1/508th||P25W7|
|SGT||May, Richard Earl||May 17, 1969||Co A 1/506th||P24W32|
|SGT||Vanden Berg, Ronald Jay||March 3, 1969||Co C 1/52nd||P30W34|
|SGT||Zeringue, Ralph Henry||May 31, 1969||Co A 1/12th||P23W32|
Jimmy Burchfield was born near Whitewright, Texas on May 8, 1945. He was the 5th of six children and the youngest son of his family. He was raised and worked on the family farm in the 50s and 60s. Jimmy went to school in Whitewright and graduated at the top of his class in 1963. His classmates chose him as most representative of his class. After graduation he enrolled in college at East Texas State University at Commerce, Texas. He was the first child in his family to go to college. He was on the Dean’s list his entire college career. He was a hardworking, enthusiastic type who thought an education was very important. One of his former employers said once that a former classmate had driven by while Jimmy was working and honked from his new car…He said with a wink, “if I wasn’t so interested in getting an education, I could be driving a new car too.” When he wasn’t working hard to pay his college bills, he was studying to make his grades. Jimmy graduated in 1967 from East Texas State with his degree in Industrial Education.
Only a few short weeks after graduation, he received notice from the United States Army that he had been drafted. He had applied for Officer Candidate School, but news of his acceptance came 5 days to late, he was already drafted and would be serving in the U.S. Army. He began his journey to Vietnam on March 2, 1969. In the letters he sent home, he showed concern for all of his family and friends. He didn’t want anyone to worry about him. After reaching his final destination he wrote his last letter on March 18, 1969 stating that he had finally gotten to his company. He said it was like one big family where everyone looked out for each other, because it was the only way they could survive. Knowing that he was going on his first mission the next day he said, “I’ll probably find out tomorrow what it’s all about. Believe it or not, I’m less nervous than I was just before I left home. Scared – Yes – the guy that say’s he’s not is not only a liar, but a fool as well. I look at it this way, if other people have done it and made it so can I. Worrying about what can or might happen doesn’t really help anyway.” This was the last letter he ever wrote. On March 23, a Western Union telegram was sent to his parents from the Secretary of the Army that said with regret Jimmy had been missing in action in Vietnam since March 20. The news received was that he was killed on March 20, 1969 near the village of Duc Tan. It stated that at 12:30 PM Jimmy received fatal fragment wounds when his unit’s position came under intense mortar attack. His young life ended at the age of 23. Jimmy was awarded several medals that included the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Good Conduct medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon and the list goes on. Jimmy was a great man and if he were here today I’m sure he would be a great citizen, a great husband and a great father. The following is an article written about Jimmy following his death in Vietnam. “A fitting scholarship in honor of a worthy individual is being set up in Whitewright. This scholarship is to be called the Jimmy Burchfield Memorial Award, and will be presented to an outstanding graduation senior from Whitewright High School whose work and attitude best exemplifies Sgt. Burchfield. But those who know Jimmy realize that students like him are rare. He was this hard-working, enthusiastic type who thought an education was almost sacred and that a degree should be earned, not presented on a silver platter. He studied hard for his grades and labored hard for his tuition. Those organizing the award are trying to make it an annual presentation by getting enough contributions so that the interest on the principal can provide an annual scholarship. We hope the goal is achieved and the memory of this fine, young warrior-who fought for an education only to give his life for his country- is perpetuated by those who follow the pattern he set.” The scholarship fund set up in memory of Jimmy has been given to a graduating Senior since 1970. His name, as it is written on the Vietnam Memorial, will always be written in the hearts of those who knew and loved him.
The family of SGT Jimmy F. Burchfield