Holtzclaw, Gary Earl, 1stLt

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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Primary MOS
0302-Infantry Officer
Last MOSGroup
Primary Unit
1968-1969, 0302, 2nd Bn, 5th Marine Regiment (2/5)/F Co
Service Years
1965 - 1969

First Lieutenant


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 Personal Details 

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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt Steven Stinnett (Dirty Steve) to remember Marine 1stLt Gary Earl Holtzclaw.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address

Casualty Date
Jun 02, 1969
Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Quang Tri (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Cumberland Memorial Gardens - Lily, Kentucky
Wall/Plot Coordinates
26W 099

 Official Badges 

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 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2013, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified]

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 Unit Assignments
5th Marine Regiment/2nd Bn, 5th Marine Regiment (2/5)2nd Bn, 5th Marine Regiment (2/5)/F Co
  1968-1969, 0302, 5th Marine Regiment/2nd Bn, 5th Marine Regiment (2/5)
  1968-1969, 0302, 2nd Bn, 5th Marine Regiment (2/5)/F Co
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Tet 69 Counteroffensive Campaign (1969)/Operation Purple Martin
 Colleges Attended
Western Kentucky UniversityUnited States Naval Academy
  1962-1963, Western Kentucky University
  1963-1967, United States Naval Academy
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Virtual Wall Summary On 02 May 1969 a flight of four helicopters from C Company, 158th Avn Bn, were assigned to inserting a reconnaissance team into an area about 20 nautical miles west of Dong Ha. The flight (2 gunships and 2 troop carriers) departed Camp Evans at about 0800, but upon arrival at the landing zone they were advised that tactical air support was not available and the insertion was aborted. The UH-1 flight began their return to Camp Evans, flying in an easterly direction at about 1300 feet above sea level. At the same time, USMC CH-46 helicopters from HMM-262 were conducting a large troop lift in an unrelated operation. As one of the Army UH-1H's (tail number 67-17596, pilot WO2 J G Mills, 4 crew and half the recon team) transited above the CH-46 landing zone the door gunner observed a CH-46D lifting off and warned his pilot that the CH-46 was about a quarter mile astern and 200 feet below the Huey. WO2 Mills directed the gunner to keep the CH-46 in sight and advise. As the Huey continued, the gunner observed that the CH-46 was overtaking the Huey and apparently would pass beneath it in a starboard quarter to port bow direction. The gunner advised WO2 Mills and passed the contact off to the crew chief, who was on the port side of the Huey. The crew chief could not see the CH-46, which actually climbed through the Huey's altitude on the right side. As it did so, the rotor blades of the two aircraft collided. The CH-46 pitched up and to its right and its aft pylon separated from the aircraft. It continued in a right-hand roll until ground impact. The Huey experienced partial control loss and made a precautionary landing about 500 meters from the CH-46 wreckage. Two of the recon team had been injured, but the remaining men set up a hasty defensive perimeter. Another USMC CH-46 landed nearby; its crew checked the downed CH-46, finding no survivors. The CH-46 took the Huey crew and passengers aboard and took them to the Vandergrift combat base. The bodies of the men in the CH-46D were recovered separately, as was the UH-1. Twelve men died in the CH-46D (BuNo 152559): From HMM-262: 1stLt Robert Ernest Trigalet, pilot 1stLt Thomas Earl Williams, Jr., copilot LCPL Melvin Warren Eakins, crew chief LCPL Timothy Howard Pyle, gunner LCPL Larry David Stollar, gunner From Fox Company, 2/4 Marines: 1stLt Gary Earl Holtzclaw 1stSgt James Howell Sumner Sgt Richard Boyce Bennett LCpl Troy Everett Powell LCPL Charles Howard Shelton PFC David Franklin Osborne PFC Stephen August Vix, Jr.


The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant Gary E. Holtzclaw (MCSN: 0-101637), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as Commanding Officer of Company F, Second Battalion, Fourth Marines, THIRD Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 10 April 1969, during Operation PURPLE MARTIN, Company F, while conducting a search and destroy operation, came under intense fire from a well-entrenched, heavily fortified North Vietnamese Army company and sustained several casualties. Without hesitation, First Lieutenant Holtzclaw advanced to the point of heaviest contact and began to direct the fire of his men against the enemy. During the ensuing fire fight, he repeatedly disregarded his own safety as he moved from one position to another, encouraging and directing his men in coordinating supporting fire on hostile targets. When the enemy attack subsided, First Lieutenant Holtzclaw supervised evacuation of casualties, reorganized his company, and continued to pursue the enemy. His unflagging determination and bold fighting spirit inspired all who observed him and contributed immeasurably to the accomplishment of his unit's mission. By his extraordinary courage, superb leadership and selfless devotion to duty, First Lieutenant Holtzclaw upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: 10-Apr-69

Service: Marine Corps

Rank: First Lieutenant

Company: Company F

Battalion: 2d Battalion

Regiment: 4th Marines

Division: 3d Marine Division (Rein.), FMF

He left a wife, Pat Holtzclaw

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