Engle, Russel Warren, SP 4

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Specialist 4
Last Service Branch
Signal Corps
Last Primary MOS
05B20-Radio Operator
Last MOS Group
Signal Corps (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1966-1967, 05B20, A Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne)
Service Years
1966 - 1967

Specialist 4

One Overseas Service Bar

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

46 kb

Home State
New Jersey
New Jersey
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SGM Warren Williams (Troubleshooter) to remember Engle, Russel Warren, SP 4.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Madison , NJ
Last Address
Madison , NJ

Casualty Date
Jun 22, 1967
Hostile, Died
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Kontum (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Greenwich Cemetery - Savannah, Georgia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
22E 039

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 


 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Vietnam Veterans MemorialThe National Gold Star Family RegistryNew Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2013, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2020, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2020, New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Basic Parachutist (1 Combat Jump)
Recoilless Rifle
Vietnam - Jump Wings

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
173rd Airborne Brigade2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne)
  1966-1967, 05B20, 173rd Airborne Brigade
  1966-1967, 05B20, A Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry (Airborne)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1967-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (1966-67)/Operation Junction City
  1967-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase III Campaign (1967-68)/Operation Greeley
 Colleges Attended 
Midwestern State University
  1965-1966, Midwestern State University
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Bill Roller
My friend
We were high school classmates, who saw each other on a trail, just before, I rotated. I arrived home two days, before your death, ready, to convey your messge, to your Mom: "I'm fine and will, be home soon." Instead, I stood honor guard, at your funeral. Sleep well, my warrior friend, your sacrifice will, never be forgotten.
Thursday, February 23, 2006

On 20 June, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment discovered the bodies of a CIDG unit that had been missing for four days on Hill 1338 (14.6°N 107.776°E), the dominant hill mass south of Dak To. Supported by Company A, the Americans moved up the hill and set up for the night. At 06:58 the following morning, Company A began moving alone up a ridge finger and triggered an ambush by the PAVN 6th Battalion, 24th Regiment.[3] Company C was ordered to go to support, but heavy vegetation and difficult terrain made movement extremely difficult. Artillery support was rendered ineffective by the limited range of visibility and the "belt-grabbing" - or "hugging" - tactics of the PAVN (PAVN/VC troops were instructed to open their actions or move as close to American forces as possible, thereby negating U.S. artillery, aerial, and helicopter gunship strikes, which demanded a safety margin for utilization – hence, "grabbing the enemy by the belt). Close air support was impossible for the same reasons. Company A managed to survive repeated attacks throughout the day and night, but the cost was heavy. Of the 137 men that comprised the unit, 76 had been killed and another 23 wounded. A search of the battlefield revealed only 15 PAVN dead.[2]:77–8
Murphy, Edward F. (2007). Dak To: America's Sky Soldiers in South Vietnam's Central Highlands. Ballantine.  ISBN 9780891419105.

"Rusty", attended Madison Junior and High Schools and was a member of the undefeated football team in 1964 that won Group II State Honors.  He played defensive halfback and alternated as flankerback and split-end on defense.  He was also on the punt-receiving team and "lettered" two years in the sport.  Rusty was a varsity wrestler, participating in the State finals, and was a member of the track team.
 Free-and-easy Rusty, a member of the Varsity "M" Club, graduated in 1965.  He attended Midwestern University and after a few months at college enlisted in the US Army in April 1966.  After completing basic training at Fort Dix, he received advanced training at Fort Benning, GA, prior to being sent overseas to Vietnam in November 1966.  He attained the rank of Specialist 4 (SP4).Assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Rusty was a radioman whose duty was to relay messages from the battlefield to a command post behind the lines. Rusty had been killed in action near the Cambodian border on June 22nd. Rusty participated in many major battles.  He liked the Army and expressed an interest about extending his time in Vietnam for six months over his one-year assignment.  He was doing what he thought was best for his country. Rusty wanted to help mankind and fighting in Vietnam was his way of doing it." Ted Monica, athletic director at Madison High School and Rusty's former football coach, says, "Rusty wasn't the strongest or the best kid on the football team, but no matter what you asked him to do, he gave his best." His former wrestling coach Jack Davis said, "Rusty had a dynamic personality and it affected the rest of the team.  He was great for perking up the kids."  Lee Romano, a former sportswriter for the Madison Eagle notes,"Rusty was always a gentleman in our presence."

 Two weeks after Rusty was killed, Mrs. Delpha Keys came up with an idea that was adopted by his classmates.  The Russell Engle Memorial Fund was established and an annual award is given to a senior boy "who embodies cooperation, good sportsmanship and team spirit" as shown by Rusty during his sports career at Madison High.  Mrs. Keys sums up best who Rusty Engle was:  "We knew Rusty as a fine, sensitive young man who truly understood why he was in Vietnam as an American soldier doing what he could to fight oppression and the enemy of human values at work there."

 Bob Jennings, grew up with Rusty Engle and reflects back, "The neighborhood had many young men all about the same age.  We would spend the days playing baseball and basketball as well as football and ice skating.  Tommy Carroll, Allan Myers, Donald Drew, Bob Stehlgens, Rusty and myself were all close neighbors before most of us were called into service."  Don Drew was severely wounded in Vietnam, and Bob was lucky to return from "Nam" without injury.  Bob said Rusty wanted to go into "Special Forces" but ended up in an airborne brigade.

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