Tencza, Anthony John, COL

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
1542-Infantry Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1962-1962, HHC, Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), Military Assistance Command Vietnam MACV
Service Years
1941 - 1962



Five Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
New Jersey
New Jersey
Year of Birth
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
Jul 15, 1962
Hostile, Died
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Vietnam, South (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
01E 011

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2013, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 3rd Award
Airborne Glider BadgeMaster Parachutist

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Officer Candidate School (Infantry) Fort Benning, GAUS Army Japan (USARJ), US Army Pacific (USARPAC)82nd Airborne Division1st Cavalry Division
5th Cavalry2nd Infantry Division1st Battalion, 9th Infantry 325th Airborne Infantry
11th Airborne DivisionDepartment of the Army (DA)USAG Command, Fort Myer. VAMilitary Assistance Command Vietnam MACV
  1942-1942, 6, Officer Candidate School (Infantry) Fort Benning, GA
  1946-1947, US Army Japan (USARJ), US Army Pacific (USARPAC)
  1948-1950, HHC, 82nd Airborne Division
  1948-1950, HHC, 1st Battalion, 505th Airborne Infantry Regiment
  1951-1951, HHC, 1st Cavalry Division
  1951-1951, 5th Cavalry
  1951-1952, 2nd Infantry Division
  1951-1952, 4745, HHC, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry
  1952-1956, HHC, 325th Airborne Infantry
  1956-1959, 11th Airborne Division
  1959-1960, Department of the Army (DA)
  1960-1962, USAG Command, Fort Myer. VA
  1962-1962, HHC, Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), Military Assistance Command Vietnam MACV
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 WWII - American Theater
  1945-1945 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater
  1945-1947 US Occupation of Germany (WWII)
  1951-1951 Korean War/First UN Counteroffensive (1951)/Battle of the Imjin River
  1951-1951 Korean War/First UN Counteroffensive (1951)/Battle of Kapyong
  1951-1951 Korean War/UN Summer-Fall Offensive (1951)
  1962-1962 Vietnam War/Advisory Campaign (1962-65)
 Colleges Attended 
Command and General Staff College
  1949-1950, Command and General Staff College
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Anthony J. Tencza was born on May 13, 1919, to Joseph and Caroline TenczaHis home of record is Wallington, NJ.  He had two brothers and two sisters.  Anthony was raised and educated in Passaic, NJ, attending Passaic High School.  Following his graduation from high school, he was employed by a local spring and wire manufacturer and had worked his way up to foreman by the time he was drafted in September 1941.

In early 1942, Colonel Tencza successfully completed Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Infantry.  He spent the remainder of World War II at various installations in the United States.  After the war, for two years, he served with the US occupation forces in Japan.  In 1948, Colonel Tencza was assigned to the 505th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division and was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC.  In 1951, he was sent to Korea, seeing extensive action with the 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division and the 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.

Following the conflict in Korea, Colonel Tencza returned to Fort Bragg and joined the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.  In 1956, Colonel Tencza was assigned to the 11th Airborne Division and served with that unit until 1959, when he commenced work with the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Department of the Army.

In 1960, Tencza came to Fort Myer and assumed the duties of Post Comptroller, a position he held until March 1962.  In that month, Colonel Tencza was assigned to South Vietnam and served as senior advisor to the 22nd Infantry Division, II Corps, Army of the Republic of Vietnam.

On July 15, 1962, while on a reconnaissance mission, Colonel Tencza’s helicopter was brought down by Viet Cong fire, the resultant crash rendering him unconscious.  While in this state of unconsciousness, he was fatally wounded by small arms fire.

Colonel Tencza was posthumously promoted to the rank of full Colonel and awarded the Legion of Merit and two Purple Hearts.  He was a graduate of the Command and General Staff School, and among his other awards are four Bronze Star Medals with “V” device, Army Commendation Medal, Master Parachutist Badge, and Glider Badge.

Colonel Tencza was buried July 30, 1962, in Arlington National Cemetery, following a memorial service at the Fort Myer’s Chapel.  His wife, Pauline, as well as two daughters and one son survived Tencza.

Four years after his death, a new 12-story high-rise apartment building was dedicated in his honor at Fort Myer, VA, and will bear the name “Tencza Towers.”    The new apartment complex houses non-commissioned officers of the post.

Sources: Theodore Tencza (brother), newspaper clippings and NJVVMF.

In respect and awe, Colonel Tencza was affectionately misnomered 'Terrible Tony Tencza' but loved by all for his big-hearted nature and attention to detail. We didn't know him long because he was only with us from about March to July, 1962. It was fortunate Major Robert Sweet, his executive officer, was in another helicopter when Colonel Tencza's chopper, flying at tree top level this early Sunday morning was shot out of the sky by the Viet Cong which raided a Montagnard village the day before.
Colonel Tencza is well remembered and honored.
Posted by: Hilary A. Smentek
Relationship: We served together
Monday, September 9, 2002


Colonel Tencza spent 23 years in the US Army and held 5 medals for bravery in World War II and Korea. He was Senior Advisor to the 22nd Vietnamese Division. On July 15, 1962, while on supply mission, his helicopter was shot down by Viet Cong. He was knocked unconscious by the crash and, according to eyewitnesses, was shot in cold blood by guerrillas. Before his requested assignment to Vietnam had come through, he was stationed at Fort Myer. It was therefore only fitting that his funeral should have been from the Chapel there.


May 12, 2006
Tencza Teardown - Remembering the high-rise namesake
by Matt McFarland, Pentagram staff writer  


Even with his life cut short in a Vietnam helicopter crash, Colonel Anthony Tencza lived longer than the building named after him. Early next month Tencza Terrace, the lone member of the Fort Myer skyline, will be reduced to rubble 13 days before its 40th anniversary. On June 17, 1966, the building was dedicated in honor of the man who was awarded the Legion of Merit and was posthumously promoted to colonel. His wife Pauline unveiled an oil portrait in the lobby of the 12-story high-rise. The post commander, Colonel Robert L. Walton attended along with Tencza's children and parents. Tencza's H-21 helicopter was shot down in Vietnam on July 15, 1962 during a supply mission 20 miles from the Laos border. The crash knocked him unconscious. He was then fatally wounded from small arms fire according to reports in the Fort Myer Post, the Pentagram's predecessor, and the Fort Myer Tour Guide.

Exactly one month earlier another former Fort Myer officer was killed in Vietnam. First Lieutenant William F. Train was ambushed outside Saigon. Prior to his service in Vietnam Train served as a public information officer with the Old Guard. Four years later both men were honored with barracks named after them. The Train Barracks, Building 403, was the first tri-service complex in the United States. In the 60's the portion of Fort Myer known as South Post was being ceded to Arlington National Cemetery so the installation needed new buildings. Originally three high-rises were planned but during wartime funding was tight. At this time Rader Clinic was also built.

"Fort Myer has a long tradition of naming buildings after individuals who do great things for our country. Colonel Tencza was a true hero to his nation," said Garrison Commander Colonel Thomas A. Allmon. Tencza was born May 13, 1919 in Passaic, New Jersey. Tencza had two brothers and two sisters. He worked at a spring wire manufacture in New Jersey before graduating from officer candidate school at Fort Benning in 1942. During World War II he was stationed in the United States. Tencza served in the occupation forces of Japan after the war. Later he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He also fought in the Korean War where he was wounded twice.

Following the war Tencza returned to Bragg and served as the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics. A year later he first stepped foot on Fort Myer as the installation's comptroller. Call it fitting - the implosion of a building named after a budget expert will save the installation $100,000. Fort Myer officials considered knocking the building down with a wrecking ball, but realized it was more expensive. In the spring of 1962 Tencza provided the clearest indication of his character: he passed up a desk job in the Pentagon to serve in Vietnam. "Tencza personified the statement from the movie "Gettysburg:" To be a good Soldier, you must love the Army," said Fort Myer Historian Kim Holien.

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