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Western Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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Springfield's Fallen from the Vietnam War

James "Jimmy" Allen Messer

Personal Data:

Birth Date:  12/19/48

Birth Place:  Springfield, Massachusetts

Race:  Caucasian

Religion:  Protestant

U.S. Citizen:  Yes

Father's Name:  Allen J. Messer

Mother's Name:  Mary J. (Bradley) Messer

Sibling Names:     

Marital Status:  Single

Wife's Name:   

Offspring Names:   


School Attended:  Washington School, Springfield, Massachusetts

School Start Date:  9/9/59

School Attended:  Forest Park Junior High School, Springfield, Massachusetts

School Start Date:  9/5/62

School Attended:  Trade High School, Springfield, Massachusetts

School Start Date:  9/9/64

School Attended:  Forest Park Junior High School, Springfield, Massachusetts

School Start Date: 9/15/64  

School Attended:  High School of Commerce, Springfield, Massachusetts

School Start Date:  9/1/66

High School Diploma:  No

Selective Service Data:

SSS Local Board Number:  83

SSS Local Board Location:  Springfield, Massachusetts

SSS Registration Date:  12/19/66  

SSS Registrant Description:  5' 10"/145 pounds/blond hair/blue eyes

Military Service Record:

Entry Date:  12/30/66

Entry Mode:  Enlistment

Entry Location:  Springfield, Massachusetts

Home Of Record:  Springfield, Massachusetts

Military Branch:  Army

Military Component:  Regular

Rank:  Private First Class

Rank Abbrev:  PFC

Pay Grade:  E3

MOS:  11B1P

MOS Title:  Infantryman

MOS Background:   

Established May 65.  MOS still in use Aug 00. 4th char of 1 = E1-E4 skill level.  5th char of P = Airborne qualified.

Awards Received:   

National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Badges Earned:   

Parachutist Badge; Sharpshooter Badge with Automatic Rifle Bar; Expert Badge with Machine Gun Bar

Length Of Service:  less than 1 year

Southeast Asia Tour Data:

Date Tour Commenced:  6/28/67

Major Command:  101st Airborne Division

Infantry:  327th Infantry, 1st Brigade

Battalion:  1st Battalion

Company:  Headquarters and Headquarters Company

Army Campaign Number:  5th

Army Campaign Name:  Counteroffensive, Phase III

Casualty Data:

Casualty Date:  8/22/67

Casualty Time:  1530

Casualty Age:  18

Casualty Data 1:  Hostile

Casualty Data 2:  Ground Casualty

Casualty Data 3:  Gun, Small Arms Fire

Casualty Province:  Quang Tin Province

Casualty Country:  South Vietnam

Casualty Grid Coordinates:  BT 188 105

Located In Or Near:  Chu Lai

Body:  Recovered


Burial Location: 

Burial Plot Location: 

Burial Date: 

Consigned Funeral Home:  Hafey Funeral Home, Springfield, Massachusetts

Escort Name:  SFC Robert Hoffman, USA

Springfield's Fallen Casualty Number:  12th

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Panel Number:  25E  Line Number:  30

Both photographs supplied by Connie Fink, eldest niece of James Messer, on June 7, 2007.

Memories Shared:

I first met Jimmy shortly after our arrival in Vietnam and we quickly became friends.  We were both assigned to B. Co. 1/327 101st Airborne.  Jimmy was a wonderful human being and a brave young soldier who easily made friends.  We spent our first few months on patrol through the jungles and rice paddies of South Vietnam.  We spent what free time we had getting to know each other forming bonds that would last forever.  After our first relatively uneventful outing we returned to our base camp at Phan Rang for a three-day stand down.  We spent our time watching movies making friends and enjoying a break from our daily routine.  Jimmy had been talking to some guys from the Tiger Force who were looking for recruits.  The Tiger Force was an elite platoon size group of volunteers who were often sent on special operations.  Jimmy liked the idea of being a part of this special group of soldiers and not only joined but recruited a few friends including my self.  We were with the Tigers maybe a month when we left our hilltop for a daily routine patrol.  As we came off of the hill and onto a trail we were moving into a village.  To our right were rice paddies with an Island in the center, maybe 50 or 60 yards from the trail.  Suddenly all hell broke lose.  We came under heavy automatic weapons fire.  It was our very first time under fire.  I was the rear security the last man in the squad Jimmy was near the front and he was the only one hit.  I lost a great friend that day.  I recently received an email from another friend of Jimmy's [Steve Merrill] who was also in the ambush.  When we lost him it was like losing a part of ourselves.  His memory will always be a part of our lives. He made the ultimate sacrifice.  He was a brave soldier.  I don't know if Jimmy has any surviving family but I would like them to know that he will never be forgotten.

Tommy Kellogg
October 10, 2004

Tom Kellogg and I served with Jimmy, and both of us were with him when he died.  Jimmy and I were always close throughout AIT and Jump school.  We first met due to our last names.  They're alphabetically next to each other.  We sat together on our first five jumps.  In Nam Jim, Tom, and I were in B Co. 1st 327 Inf Batt. 101st Airborne.  Jimmy got Tom and I to join Tiger Force.  He was the Best.  It hit me hard that day.  I'll never forget.

Steve Merrill
October 14, 2004


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