Draft reject dies in Viet Nam
STOUGHTON, Mass. (AP)-A young Marine, who met death in Viet Nam, was
revealed Thursday as a 4-F draft reject who assumed another man's identity
to enter the service.
Pfc. William F. Joyce, 25, of Stoughton, was killed in action at Quan Lai
(sic) after serving in Viet Nam since January.
But Marine Corps records listed Joyce as Richard J. Preskenis, the name he
used when he entered the service in April 1963.
The bizarre story came to light when a Pfc. Richard J. Preskenis was on a
casualty list issued by the Defense Department.
The real Richard J. Preskenis, 22, a resident of nearby Canton, was
shocked at Joyce's deception and was reluctant to discuss the mixup.
Stoughton and Canton are adjoining suburban residential towns south of
Records at the draft board showed that Preskenis was listed as on active
duty since April 15, 1963 - the date Joyce joined the Marines.
At the same draft board, Joyce - even now - is listed as 4-F, with the
notation "court record." The classification was made in August
1961, according to the board records.
However, the Marine Corps in Washington said its records have been changed
to show that Joyce actually had been in the service - not Preskenis. The
change was made Wednesday night after Mrs. Paul Collins of Brockton,
sister of Joyce, informed the Marines the dead man actually was her
Relatives of both youths refused to talk about the case, but Preskenis'
22-year-old wife said Wednesday they first learned of the masquerade on
their wedding day, November 20, 1965.
She said a newspaper that day carried a story saying "Richard J.
Preskenis was accused of attempted rape." She and her husband went to
police headquarters and informed police of the name switch.
Mrs. Preskenis said the charge against Joyce was reduced to assault and he
was put on probation. She said Joyce apparently had been home on leave
from the Marine Corps when the accusation was made.
"Richard's brother, John, went to school with Billy," she said,
"and they were pretty close for seven years."
Mrs. Preskenis added that her husband knew Joyce but was not a close
Preskenis, a sopomore at Bentley School, a Boston business college, has
been reclassified 3-A, married with dependents.
Article appeared in the Daily Intelligencer Journal, the newspaper of
Lancaster County, PA, on April 8, 1966.
Semper Fidelis, Marine!