Austin, James Earl, MSG

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Last Rank
Master Sergeant
Last Service Branch
Ordnance Corps
Last Primary MOS
55D-Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Specialist
Last MOS Group
Ordnance (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1970-1971, 55D, 533rd Ordnance Detachment (EOD) Control/44th Ordnance Detachment (EOD)
Service Years
1950 - 1971

Master Sergeant


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Home State
Indiana
Indiana
Year of Birth
1932
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SGM Mike Vining to remember Austin, James Earl (Duke), MSG.

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
South Bend, IN
Last Address
South Bend, IN

Casualty Date
Feb 18, 1971
 
Cause
Hostile, Died
Reason
Other Explosive Device
Location
Cambodia
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
City Cemetery - South Bend, Indiana
Wall/Plot Coordinates
05W 114

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Explosives Ordnance Disposal (Master)

 
 Unit Assignments
533rd Ordnance Detachment (EOD) Control
  1968-1970, 55D, 533rd Ordnance Detachment (EOD) Control/44th Ordnance Detachment (EOD)
  1970-1970, 55D, 533rd Ordnance Detachment (EOD) Control/3rd Ordnance Battalion EOD Section
  1970-1970, 55D, 533rd Ordnance Detachment (EOD) Control/170th Ordnance Detachment (EOD)
  1970-1971, 55D, 533rd Ordnance Detachment (EOD) Control/44th Ordnance Detachment (EOD)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase V Campaign (1968)
  1968-1969 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VI Campaign (1968-69)
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Tet 69 Counteroffensive Campaign
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Summer-Fall 1969 Campaign
  1969-1970 Vietnam War/Winter-Spring 1970 Campaign
  1970-1970 Vietnam War/Sanctuary Counteroffensive Campaign (1970)
  1970-1971 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VII Campaign (1970-71)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

MSG James Earl (Duke) Austin was killed on 18 February 1971.  MSG Austin was assigned to an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team that had responded to a request for assistance from the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia to clean up the Des-Me Trans Ammunition Storage Point.  The Des-Me Trans Ammunition Storage Point, had sustained a mass detonation and explosive ordnance disposal specialists were called in to clean up the unexploded ordnance.  MSG Austin was killed instantly when a M524 fuze and booster expelled from a 4.2-inch white phosphorus mortar that he carrying to a holding area.  MSG Austin was examining the fuze at the time when it embedded in his chest.  The booster did not function and the mortar did not ignite, but was smoking.  MSG Austin's body with the unexploded ordnance in his chest was flown by Army fix-wing aircraft to Saigon Military Hospital, where members of his former unit, the 170th Ordnance Detachment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) met the aircraft.  The Explosive Ordnance Disposal team was not aware until the aircraft landed that the victim was one of their own, as MSG Austin had earlier served with the 170th.  At the time of his death MSG Austin was assigned to the 44th Ordnance Detachment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), 3rd Ordnance Battalion, 53rd General Support Group, Army Support Command Saigon, United States Army, Vietnam, Chu Chi, Binh Duong Province, Republic of Vietnam.  Other members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal team were SFC Ralph R. Tate, SSG Fremon Thomas, and SP5 David L. Curtis.  SFC Tyrone E. Ty Ney, who was working with Combined Material Exploitation Center (CMEC) at the time of the accident, arrived at the accident site right after it happen.  MSG Austin was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal, Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the National Defense Medal, Order of Division (Cambodian).  MSG Austin was a Silver Star Medal recipient.
 
Additional Facts: Service Number: 312263788; MOS: 55D50
 
   
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