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A Brother of General William C Westmoreland's wife, Lt Col. Frederick F. VanDeusen, was killed in Vietnam only hours after Westmoreland was sworn in as Army Chief of Staff in Washington. VanDeusen, 37, from Fayetteville, was aboard an Army Huey Helicopter which plunged into the Val Co River after taking Viet Cong fire Wednesday in the Mekong Delta.
Mrs Westmoreland, whose husband Commanded US forces in Vietnam for the last four years, was in Fayetteville, Friday with her brother's widow and three children. VanDeusen, scion of a military family and 1952 graduate of the US Military academy at West Point, had been in Vietnam since April.
Three weeks ago he took command of the 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, US Army 9th Infantry. Wednesday some of his men fought Viet Cong estimated at platoon strength 18 miles southwest of Saigon near the border of Go Cong and Long An provinces. Twenty four enemy were reported killed with no US losses. VanDeusen and 9 others were in the helicopter taking a last look at the battle site when the helicopter was fired upon. A Newsman at the battle scene said other officers reported VanDeusen shouted into his radio just before the crash, "We're being shot at from the river bank. He's using an AK-47". An AK47 is a Russian made assault rifle. Three of the 10 aboard the helicopter survived the crash. Two in addition to VanDeusen were confirmed dead. Four are missing and presumed dead. VanDeusen's body was recovered.
VanDeusen was the son of retired Army Colonel and Mrs Edwin R VanDeusen Sr of Fayetteville. His brother, Lt Col Edwin R VanDeusen Jr, is stationed with the Army in Washington. His wife is the former Carolyn Simpson of Fayetteville. Their children are Sally, 14; Frederick, 12, and Robert, 11.
He was awarded The Distinguished Service Cross, The Silver Star Medal, The Legion of Merit, The Bronze Star Medal, The Army Commendation Medal with One Oak Leaf Cluster, The Combat Infantryman's Badge(CIB), The Purple Heart Medal for his combat related wounds, The Vietnam Service Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Service Medal, The National Defense Service Medal.
Distinguished Service Cross
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Frederick Fren Van Deusen (ASN: 0-68756), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion, 47th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 9th Infantry Division. Lieutenant Colonel Van Deusen distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 3 July 1968 as commanding officer of an infantry battalion on combat operations near Ben Luc. Early in the morning, he inserted two rifle companies into landing zones on the west bank of the Song Vam Co Dong River. With the support of an armed helicopter company and an air cavalry troop, he maneuvered them in an attempt to encircle a Viet Cong battalion command post. Throughout the morning, he directed his command helicopter to maintain a tree-top level position to best control the ground elements. On several occasions he joined his companies to personally coordinate their efforts. In each case, he disregarded his personal safety to cross open areas under intense hostile fire and join the forward elements. During the afternoon, one company lost contact with one of its platoons. Colonel Van Deusen immediately directed his helicopter to land, crossed an open field under a hail of enemy automatic weapons fire, and joined the company commander in an exposed position. To assist the officer in finding the isolated platoon, Colonel Van Deusen returned to his aircraft and directed the pilot to circle the battlefield at treetop-level despite the constant enemy fusillade directed at the ship. He spotted enemy activity on the company's flank and directed his pilot to fly closer for a better view. At that moment enemy automatic weapons fire raked the aircraft, causing it to crash into the river. Lieutenant Colonel Van Deussen's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Silver Star Citation
Silver Star Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Frederick French Van Deusen (ASN: 0-68756), United States Army, for gallantry in action involving close combat against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Lieutenant Colonel Van Deusen distinguished himself during the period 24 June 1968 to 25 June 1968, while commanding the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, during a reconnaissance in force operation northeast of Tan An city, Long An Province, Republic of Vietnam. Through much of the two day operation Lieutenant Colonel Van Deusen remained airborne in a light observation helicopter, closely controlling and coordinating the movement of ground elements and the air and artillery support. While airborne, Lieutenant Colonel Van Deusen remained continuously exposed to the heavy enemy ground fire directed against his helicopter by a desperate, encircled enemy. When he felt that the intensity of the enemy resistance and its effect on his leading elements called for his presence on the ground, he immediately directed his aircraft to land and with complete disregard for his own safety, he braved the enemy automatic weapons fire in an exposed location with the leading elements of his rifle companies. He remained at his location, closely assessing the situation, personally coordinating with his company commanders and maintaining continuous control of the battle until he felt he again needed to view the battle from above. When darkness fell, Lieutenant Colonel Van Deusen's established an advanced command post with the elements in contact so that he might better direct the battle. Throughout the night he remained under heavy enemy fire, personally directing the efforts of his battalion until the encircled enemy force was destroyed and the enemy base camp eliminated. Lieutenant Colonel Van Deusen's extraordinary heroism in close combat against a Viet Cong force was in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 9th Infantry Division, and the United States Army. General Orders: Headquarters, 9th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 5470 (July 7, 1968) Action Date: June 24 - 25, 1968 Service: Army Rank: Lieutenant Colonel Company: Headquarters and Headquarters Company Battalion: 2d Battalion Regiment: 47th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Division: 9th Infantry Division