Berzinec, William Edward, LTC

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Colonel
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
1542-Infantry Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1968-1968, 9th Infantry Division
Service Years
1953 - 1968


Lieutenant Colonel

Two Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
(Rahway, NJ)

Casualty Date
Jul 30, 1968
Hostile, Died
Other Explosive Device
Long An (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
50W 034

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord Schutzenschnur Bronze

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2015, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Master Parachutist
Republic of Vietnam - Ranger

 Unit Assignments
Army Ranger School101st Airborne Division Ranger Training BrigadeMilitary Assistance Command Vietnam MACV
Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Resident CourseBerlin Command4th Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment9th Infantry Division
  1953-1953, Basic Airborne Course (BAC)
  1953-1954, Army Ranger School
  1953-1958, 101st Airborne Division
  1959-1961, Ranger Training Brigade
  1961-1962, Field Advisory Element MACV
  1962-1963, Ranger Training Brigade
  1964-1965, Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Resident Course
  1965-1967, HQ Berlin Command
  1968-1968, 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment
  1968-1968, 9th Infantry Division
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1961-1962 Multiple JUSMAAGV Operations 1959-1963
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase V Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase IV Campaign (1968)
 Colleges Attended 
Valley Forge Military CollegeKent State University
  1945-1949, Valley Forge Military College
  1949-1953, Kent State University
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

William E. Berzinec was born on December 11, 1930.  His home of record is Rahway, New Jersey.  He was the son of Reverend George G. and Mrs. Irene Berzinec.  He attended school in Rahway until his father, a Byzantine Catholic priest serving in Newark, was transferred to Pennsylvania where Bill completed grammar school.

Bill graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy, in Wayne, Pennsylvania, in 1949 where he was a member of the wrestling and track teams and attained the honor of the Pershing Rifle.

Bill graduated cum laude from Kent University, in Kent, Ohio, in 1953 with a degree in psychology.  He studied languages there, under his father, who was a professor of Russian at the time.  Bill spoke fluent German, Russian and Hungarian.  He was President of the Student Union, a Colonel in the Army ROTC, a member of Theta Chi fraternity, the Newman Club, a winner of the Blue Key Award for Campus Activities and was listed twice in “Who’s Who in American Universities.”  He was an expert in karate.

Bill entered the US Army as a 2nd Lieutenant at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in 1953 and served five years in the 101st Airborne.  He was a Master Parachute Jumper and a two-time Instructor of the Ranger School.  He also served in Austria and Germany and two tours in Vietnam.  His first tour of duty in Vietnam was in 1961-1962, where he acted as an instructor, teaching American Ranger tactics to the Vietnamese.  Later he appeared on the nationally broadcast Television program, “Eyewitness to History”, which described America’s advisory position in Vietnam. 

Berzinec was a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  Berzinec had a back operation for a defective disc only a few months prior to returning to Vietnam for his second tour of duty on June 30, 1968, where he assumed command of the 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division at the request of General Creighton Abrams, Commander of the United States Forces in Vietnam.  During this time, he actively participated in more than 25 aerial missions over hostile territory.  Berzinec attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) in the US Army.  On July 30, 1968, while on a reconnaissance in force mission in Long An Province, Vietnam, during which he exhibited extraordinary heroism, he was killed in action. 

Berzinec was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with Second Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Occupation Medal, National Defense Medal with First Oak Leaf Cluster, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge and Ranger Tab.  Posthumously, he was awarded the Silver Star and First Oak Leaf Cluster for gallantry in action, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with First and Second Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart. 

Berzinec was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on August 6, 1968.  Eighteen Army Rangers, officers and non-commissioned officers who had previously served with him, were flown from Fort Benning, GA, to serve as pallbearers and honor guard at the church and at the burial. At his burial, his father conducted a solemn high mass of requiem for his son.  The eulogy was delivered by the Very Reverend Joseph Jackanich of Hazelton, PA, who had baptized Berzinec 37 years earlier. 

Bill was survived by his wife, Nancy Clark Berzinec, his son, Gregory, age seven, his daughter, Lisa Beth, age two, all of Carlisle, PA, his parents Rev. George G. and Mrs. Irene Berzinec, now deceased and his sister Sonia Berzinec of Hollywood, FL. 

A park was dedicated in Rahway, NJ, to the memory of William Edward Berzinec.  A monument was placed in his honor. 

Sources: Gene and Elaine Berzinec (cousins), Father John Berzinec Birch and NJVVMF.

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