In Memory

James Calvin McKenzie

James Calvin McKenzie

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10/18/14 04:34 PM #1    

Clark Wilson

Our classmate James (Jamie) McKenzie was Killed In Action (KIA) on 4 September 1967 shortly after arriving in-country Vietnam in 1967. This would have been McKenzie’s first tour in Vietnam.

Jamie McKenzie was assigned to Mike Company, 3/5 Marines when he was KIA during a very fierce battle of Operation Swift on 4 September 1967. During that operation Company M was providing flank security for their Battalion Command Group when a large North Vietnamese Army (NVA) force heavily engaged it. This was an especially hard day for Mike Company, on the day Jamie was killed; Mike Company alone suffered sixteen KIAs along with two who were awarded the Medal of Honor and two who were awarded the Navy Cross.

On the day Jamie McKenzie was killed his unit, Mike Company Along With Kilo Company, was advancing across open rice paddies towards entrenched NVA positions. 1st Platoon of Mike Company ran into an L-shaped ambush. 2nd Platoon was sent in to rescue and was immediately attacked by a full company of NVA. While 1st Platoon was able to retreat back to the main Company position, the 2nd couldn't disengage. In this fight SGT Lawrence Peters won his Medal of Honor, awarded posthumously, in leading his men in repulsing repeated attempts to overrun his position. Navy Chaplain 1LT Vincent Capadonno was with 2nd Platoon and also was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor for his efforts in pulling wounded men to safety in face of overwhelming enemy fire. Relief came in the evening when an A-6 silenced an Anti Aircraft (AA) gun emplacement, allowing more air support. The NVA withdrew during the night. 1LT Murray, the company commanding officer was awarded a Navy Cross for his actions during this day.

Source: USMC Combat Histories




10/20/14 01:05 AM #2    

Barth Massey

I saw James McKenzie and James Patrick 'Pat' Crawford on the same day in April of 1967. They were going through infantry training at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA.

I wrote the below statement after visiting the travelling Vietnam Memorial Wall in Laguna Niguel, 2011.

I was able to get down to VMW and take a few photographs of friends (names) who were Killed In Action In Vietnam.  I was just going to stop by and take a quick look, but I instead looked up a few friends that did not make it back.  First is USMC Cpl. James Patrick Crawford (FUHS 1966), he went by Pat.  You know how you have a group of very close friends in HS, Pat was one of those.  USMC L/Cpl. Bruce L. Kennedy, we met in 'Boot Camp' and he was from Santa Monica.  Bruce was a surfer dude like me and we traded many stories.  He was a close friend. USMC PFC James C. McKenzie was another close friend from HS.  He lived in Yorba Linda, but went to FUHS.  USAF Capt. Michael J. McGerty, he is the older brother of a good friend (Bill) of mine from St. Mary's Catholic School, Fullerton, CA.  Mike was an Explorer Boy Scout in our Boy Scout Troop.  He trained us in many of our scout skills.  

There were many more friends I had lost in Nam, that I regret not taking pictures of their names.  I'll do  it later.  May these Fallen Heroes Rest in Peace.  I miss them all.

The last time I saw Pat and James was April 1967, I was in Staging Battalion getting ready to be shipped out to Nam.  Pat just graduated from 'Boot Camp' and was checking into the Infantry Training Regiment. James was already in the Infantry Training Regiment and was ahead of Pat by several weeks. While looking for Pat's Unit, I unexpectedly ran into James.  I had a good conversation with James and some of his friends before they had to get back to their area.  I did not realize this would be the last time I would see James.

I later found Pat and we too had a good visit. He was still in Boot Camp mode and never did loosen up. We did stay in contact with one another by mail. In fact I received a letter from Pat, three days prior to his death.

 I was hoping to see all them after our enlistments were up and have a few beers together, tell lies to one another and chase women, but ...  

Rest in Peace, Pat, Bruce, James, Mike and all the rest of you guys. You guys won't be forgotten.  Semper Fidelis...Barth

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