LE ROY HARLAND CHARBONEAU
Battery B 4/42 Artillery
4th Infantry Division
Date of Birth Mar 14, 1947
From: CHEBOYGAN, MI
Religion: ROMAN CATHOLIC
Marital Status: Single
CPL - E4 - Army - Selective Service
4th Infantry Division
MOS: 13A10 Field Artillery Basic
Length of service 1 years
His tour began on Apr 22, 1967
Casualty was on Jul 12, 1967
In PLEIKU, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
GUN, SMALL ARMS FIRE
Body was recovered
Panel 23E - Line 5
Le Roy Charboneau was killed in
action while on Operation Francis Marion, with B 1/12 Infantry,
in an engagement
with hostile forces, at grid reference YA850131, in the Ia Pnon River Valley, approximately
12 kilometers south of Duc Co airfield.
CPL Leroy H. Charboneau's decorations
Enlargement of the above
31 Oct 2005
Leroy Harland Charboneau
(pronounced Charbonah) was a scrapper, per his brother Norm (my
Leroy was never married, never fathered a child and left nothing of a legacy other than his sacrifice.
Leroy earned the Silver Star for gallantry while in combat, and the Purple Heart on 12 July 1967 in the Ia Drang Valley
(Valley of Death), Pleiku Province, Republic of South Vietnam. His citation for the Silver Star was given to our family
at the VFW post in Cheboygan, Michigan in October of 1967. Leroy is buried in Cheboygan and was the first soldier
from Cheboygan County killed in action in Vietnam.
Leroy's actions that day are unknown to most of the family while only those who were there will truly know the weight of his actions.
Leroy volunteered to be First Lieutenant Fred G. Bragg's Radio Telephone Operator because the regular RTO was ill.
Leroy, 1LT Bragg, and another RTO, Sergeant James Michael Haider, went into the Ia Drang Valley with the 1st Battalion,
12th Infantry, to support their mission as forward artillery observers. None of the three returned to base camp alive.
I received Leroy's Individual Deceased Record File from the United States Army. The details contained within drew a picture
of harsh combat action. Leroy received no less than nineteen penetration wounds in his lower extremeties and one penetration wound
to his chest, and the final to his forehead. His death ruled as Homicide.
It has been told to me that Leroy was executed by the force that overan his position that day as the NVA rarely took prisoners,
especially those who were wounded, yet this day they took several POW's who in my mind will NEVER be forgotten.
Leroy was with 1LT Fred Bragg through the entire action and left his side only when the radio he was carrying became useless
due to incoming NVA mortar fire. This is when Leroy apparently ran acroos the field of battle, retrieved another radio, and returned
to 1LT Bragg's side. Leroy later received more incomming fire as the enemy increased their attack and by this time Leroy's
second radio was destroyed. Leroy then gathered the remaining ammunition for his rifle, "...fired his rifle till the magazine was empty
then continued firing with his pistol until it was empty..." (excerpted from the Citation for the his Silver Star).
Leroy lay beside Fred Bragg and died at his side. I have spoken with Fred's brother and enjoyed exchanging stories of
what we have both learned about our family members and their heroic actions.
Leroy is not forgotten. His surviving siblings want to know the truth, and give their heartfelt emotions to those remaining
that bear the horrors of losing a family member. We thank all of you who served with Leroy, and wish you all the peace on earth.
To those who died with Leroy, may you rest in peace eternally.
Steven and Tina (Charboneau) Pirkl
171 Patterson Street, Apartment 301, Anchorage, Alaska 99504
Calvary Cemetery Chapel of the Resurrection
Plot: Section A-18
Grave marker for LeRoy Charboneau
Photo by Laura Plummer Ranville from the Find A Grave website
The plaque with Leroy Charboneau"s name inscribed at the Vietnam War Memorial, Veterans Park, Cheboygan, MI
For more photos of the Cheboygan Memorial visit the website:
Vietnam War Memorial
For tributes to Leroy Charboneau click on the following links:
The Virtual Wall
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