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David Lee Sackett
 First Lieutenant, United States Army
 West Virginia State Flag
Full Name: DAVID LEE SACKETT
Date of Birth: 10/8/1946
Date of Casualty: 10/24/1969
Home of Record: WELCH, WEST VIRGINIA
Branch of Service: ARMY
Rank: 1LT
Casualty Country: SOUTH VIETNAM
Casualty Province: BINH DUONG


DAVID LEE SACKETT 
 Panel : 17W Line : 114
Army, First Lieutenant
 
Killed in action October 24, 1969 by ground casualty multiple fragmentation wounds hostile, died in Binh Duong,  South Vietnam. The body was recovered. Home of record was WELCH, West Virginia. Born October 8, 1946. Age at death, 23. A Caucasian Male, Married. Religous affiliation, Methodist.
CAACF Record Number : 236667028
Bronze Star Medal:

For heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force:  First Lieutenant Sackett distinguished himself by heroic actions on 21 September 1969, while serving as a platoon leader with Company A, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry in the Republic of Vietnam.

While on a sweep of a village, Company A received word that a gunship had spotted an enemy soldier near the village. Immediately, Lieutenant Sackett led his platoon to the suspected area. Arriving on the scene, Lieutenant Sackett spotted the muzzle of a rifle protruding from a hidden spider hole. Unhesitatingly, Lieutenant Sackett, with complete disregard for his own safety, rushed the emplacement and threw a hand grenade into the entrance, killing the three enemy occupants. His valorous actions contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission.  Lieutenant Sackett’s bravery, aggressiveness, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, the 25th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.


Bronze Star Medal for Heroism:

For heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force:  First Lieutenant Sackett distinguished himself by heroic actions on 24 October 1969, while serving as a platoon leader with Company A, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry in the Republic of Vietnam.

While on a reconnaissance operation, Company A came under heavy small arms, automatic weapons, and rocket propelled grenade fire from an enemy force in well concealed bunker positions. Immediately Lieutenant Sackett led his men in an assault of an enemy bunker, silencing the enemy. As he was advancing on another bunker, Lieutenant Sackett was fatally wounded by enemy fire. His valorous actions contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission and the defeat of the hostile force. Lieutenant Sackett’s bravery, aggressiveness, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, the 25th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.


Army Commendation Medal for Heroism:

For heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force: First Lieutenant Sackett distinguished himself by heroic actions on 13 October 1969, while serving as a platoon leader with Company A, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry in the Republic of Vietnam.

While moving to a night ambush site, Company A came under heavy small arms fire from an enemy force. Immediately Lieutenant Sackett organized his men in a defensive position. With complete disregard for his own safety, Lieutenant Sackett exposed himself to the hail of fire as he moved from position to position checking his men and directing their fire on the hostiles. His valorous actions contributed immeasurably to the success of the mission. Lieutenant Sackett’s bravery, aggressiveness, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, the 25th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.


Silver Star:

For gallantry in action:  First Lieutenant Sackett distinguished himself by heroic actions on 26 September 1969, while serving as a platoon leader with Company A, 2d Battalion, 12th Infantry in the Republic of Vietnam.

While on a reconnaissance mission, Company A encountered a large enemy force. During the initial contact, the lead element became pinned down by the intense hostile fire. With complete disregard for his own safety, Lieutenant Sackett led four of his men forward through the enemy kill zone and swiftly destroyed the main enemy emplacements. Noticing that one of his men had been wounded, Lieutenant Sackett moved to his side and administered life saving first aid. His valorous actions contributed immeasurably to the defeat of the hostile force. Lieutenant Sackett’s bravery, aggressiveness, and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, the 25th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.


Museum immortalizes McDowell soldier’s story
By Bill Archer
Courtesy of the Bluefield (West Virginia) Daily Telegraph
28 June 2008

PRINCETON, West Virginia — For almost 40 years, Dora Lee Sackett kept her son’s West Point dress uniform in immaculate condition. She protected the familiar Shako-style full-dress uniform hat with scarlet feather beneath a large bell jar, and kept the rest of the uniform he received during his time at the U.S. Military Academy in pristine condition as well.

Lieutenant David Lee Sackett grew up in Welch and received an appointment to attend West Point in 1964. He graduated from the academy on June 5, 1968, and after additional training, was sent to Vietnam the following summer. He had been in Vietnam for about three months when soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division engaged the enemy in the Ho Bo Woods area in Binh Duong Province about 28 miles north of (then) Saigon (now, Ho Chi Minh City), according to an Associated Press story dated October 26, 1969.

DL Sackett USMA Photo

The AP reported that after a helicopter spotted Viet Cong activity at an abandoned plantation, approximately 100 soldiers of the 25th Infantry were shuttled to the battle in helicopters. “They didn’t know they were invading what was later determined to be the supply and assembly point for the 268th North Vietnamese Regiment,” according to the AP report.

“The enemy troops held their fire during the initial sweep and then opened up as the GIs were regrouping,” the AP reported. “Firing from craters, ‘spider holes’ and behind tree stumps, they killed eight Americans and wounded eight others with furious small-arms fire.”

Tony Whitlow, president of the Those Who Served War Museum located on the second floor of the Mercer County Memorial Building, said he received a call from Dora Lee Sackett last summer asking him if she could donate her son’s West Point uniform to the museum.

“I told her we would treat it with honor and respect, but I didn’t think anything more about it until a couple of months ago when Mrs. Sackett’s caregiver, Priscilla Cecil, called me and asked to bring the uniform to me,” Whitlow said. “She said it was Mrs. Sackett’s final request.”

Although she was born in Twin Branch, McDowell County, Dora Lee Sackett was living in a double-wide manufactured home at Jera K Estates in Princeton at the time of her death at age 90 on February 12, 2008. She had attended New River State College and graduated from West Virginia Tech, worked for a time as a stenographer for Appalachian Power and had retired from Keystone Bank. She was an active member of Circle No. 1, Greenview United Methodist Church, and was active in the United Methodist Women.

“Aunt Dora kept David’s uniform in a big glass jar,” her nephew, Larry Koger said. “It was the first thing you noticed when you walked inside her double-wide. She was proud of David. I think that may have been what kept her going all those years. Really, she was proud of both of her sons, and her whole family. They were all very intelligent people — my Uncle Fred (Frederick M. Sackett Sr.) and her other son, Frederick (the late Frederick M. Sackett Jr.).”

Although he was in his teens when his cousin was killed in action, Larry Koger remembered traveling to Arlington National Cemetery for his funeral and graveside services. “They carried his remains on a little wagon,” he said of the caisson-like funeral wagon. “I remember my mom bought me a little cannon when I was there. I stuck a little American flag on a toothpick beside it so it would be like the wagon that carried David that day.”

Mrs. Sackett also donated a display case filled with medals to the museum. “He received several medals — a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with ‘V,’ for valor along with several others,” Bill Blankenship, secretary/treasurer of the war museum said. “He’s one of our guys. I’m sure I would have liked him if I had gotten to know him.” Blankenship served “a year and one day” in Vietnam from November of 1968 to December of 1969.

“Back then, it was like pulling your time for guys like me,” Blankenship said. “You got there and spent your time counting the days down until you could come home. A lot of the guys I met who graduated from West Point were pretty gung ho about being there. I would really have liked to know this guy — Lieutenant Sackett. I think we would have been friends.

“Those kind of guys like Lieutenant Sackett, I consider them to be heroes,” Blankenship said. “They sacrificed so much for me. I feel honored to be able to display this uniform and to share his story with people who visit the museum.”

“We’re going to keep this guy’s story alive,” Whitlow said. “These guys are going to live on as long as there are some of us here to tell the story. When Governor Joe Manchin visited the museum about a year ago, he remarked that our approach of telling the stories of these soldiers through their artifacts is a unique way of keeping their stories alive.”

Manchin was so impressed by the efforts of the museum volunteers that he donated a personalized, autographed photograph of General Chuck Yeager in the Bell X-1 jet taken on October 14, 1947, the day he was the first pilot to travel Mach 1, faster than the speed of sound. The message on the photo is “Gov. Joe, Fly Safe,” and is signed by Yeager.

Local veterans volunteer three hours per week to staff the museum and share the stories with visitors. The museum is open from 10 a.m., to 4 p.m., each weekday. U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-West Virginia, was so impressed with the efforts of the veterans that he provided $1 million to fund repairs and restoration to the Memorial Building that was dedicated on April 3, 1931. The War Museum took root in May of 1999 when Whitlow opened a small display at the Mercer County Courthouse in the Assessor’s office.

The museum features major displays like the Yeager photo and Lieutenant Sackett’s uniform, but also tells more humbling stories of the men and women who served in the military. One recent, but very small display tells the story of a crumpled box that dates to the World War II era.

“One of my first cousins, Lawrence Thomas, was in the Army during World War II, and was home on leave before he had to go to Europe,” Whitlow said. “He had been there before, and he really didn’t want to go back. Maybe he had a premonition or something, but he went anyway because he had to go. I was only 10 years old at the time, but I remember saying goodbye to him.”

Getting mail to soldiers overseas was a challenge in 1944, with a several month-long delivery schedule. Whitlow’s mother prepared a fruit cake and sent it to Thomas in June so he would get it by Christmas, but he was killed by a German sniper in Italy in October 1944.

“He had a wife and a little baby here at home,” Whitlow recalled. “I remember the day I went to the post office in Kellysville and the postman handed me that crumpled up box with the fruit cake in it. We have a letter from him. The thing that got my attention was that he had such excellent penmanship. Every letter was just so.”

Whitlow said the county should be receiving the restoration funds for the memorial building in December.


SACKETT, DAVID L
1LT U.S.A.
DATE OF BIRTH: 10/08/1946
DATE OF DEATH: 10/24/1969
BURIED AT: SECTION 46  SITE 334-4
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

    Webmaster: Michael Robert Patterson


Posted: 29 June  2008
US Military Academy (West Point) SEAL
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    Silver Star Medal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

    Bronze Star With Valor Device 4 awards
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Purple Heart Medal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Air Medal