Herbert Ernest Frenzell – Private First Class, United States Army


HERBERT FRENZELL was born on June 20, 1944.  He became a member of the Army while in Sacramento, California and attained the rank of PFC (E3).

On January 21, 1967 at the age of 22, HERBERT FRENZELL gave his life in the service of our country in South Vietnam, Binh Tuy Province.

The two soldiers, whose names appear one above the other on the Vietnam veterans Memorial, were both awarded the Silver Star for their heroism. Herbert Frenzell is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C

On 21 January the patrol to which Frenzell and Jones were assigned was ambushed by well-entrenched Viet Cong forces. Private Frenzell, while not engaged in the battle and in a position of relative safety hidden in a tree line, watched while his platoon members drew fire from their open, unprotected positions. With total disregard for his own safety, Frenzell chose to expose his position by opening fire on the enemy to draw fire away from his fellow soldiers in the pinned-down patrol — action which he knew put him in great personal jeopardy. His unselfish act allowed the other soldiers to get to cover. Herb Frenzell then attempted to rejoin his squad. But the Viet Cong, knowing his position, unleashed a barrage of fire as Frenzell crossed the open field. A member of the platoon, Marty Sanders, witnessed, “Herb was hit in the chest and he immediately dropped into the marsh.”

Billy Jones, realizing that Frenzell had just sacrificed himself for the lives of others, crawled through the mud and heavy enemy cross fire to assist his fallen companion. But Jones could do nothing to save him, Herb Frenzell was dead, a bullet had pierced his heart. The jungle was so thick and the cross fire so intense that no helicopter could land. Jones dragged and carried his friend's body, a friend he knew to be already dead, for two hours through heavily overgrown swamp and jungle while eluding the enemy that he knew to be in close pursuit.

Finally the patrol came to a clearing where helicopters could land and extract the remaining squad and Frenzell's body. As the helicopters approached the landing zone, intense ground fire again erupted from the surrounding jungle and the choppers were forced to pull off. Then another soldier was hit by the approaching Viet Cong. Jones, totally exhausted from his ordeal, lowered Frenzell's body to the ground and went through a field of fire to the aid of the wounded soldier. Before he reached the fallen soldier, Jones was struck in the head by a single bullet. Still conscious, Jones asked Sanders to make sure his mother got his wallet and his watch.

Herb Frenzell's mother, Chilant Frenzell Sprague, said of her son, “Herb would have given his life for his friends anywhere. It could have been while he was swimming or water-skiing. He was not the kind of person who would stand by and watch something tragic happen to others. It just so happened that he was in combat when he was called to help his friends.”

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