Richard Warren Pershing – Second Lieutenant, United States Army

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The grandson of General of the Armies John Joseph Pershing, he was born in New York City on October 25, 1942.

He served in Vietnam in Company A, 502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division and was killed in action on February 17, 1968.

His brother, John Warren Pershing III, Colonel, United States Army, died in June 1999 and is buried with him and their grandfather in Section 34 of Arlington National Cemetery.

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Company A, 502th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division.


After President Kennedy's assassination and the advent of Vietnam, daily burial rates peaked at 28 in 1967. That winter, on February 17, 1968, a 24-year-old lieutenant in the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam was searching for the body of a missing soldier when he died amid a rocket attack and small-arms fire. Today, Lieutenant Richard Pershing lies on a grassy knoll under the same kind of government-issued headstone as the man beside him, his grandfather and World War I General of the Armies John J. Pershing  the only person besides George Washington to hold that rank.


From a contemporary press report:

The 25-year-old grandson of John J. Pershing was killed-in-action in Vietnam on February 17, 1968, his parents reported yesterday. News of his death was carried to his home at 771 Park Avenue in New York on Sunday (February 18, 1968) by a special representative of the Secretary of Army. He went to Vietnam last December 13 with the 101st Airborne Division, and died February 17 from what the official telegram of notification described as “wounds received while on a combat mission when his unit came under hostile small-arms and rocket attack while searching for remains of a missing member of his unit.”

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Photo Courtesy of Yale University

His father, F. Warren Pershing, is the senior partner in Pershing & Co, stockbrokers. His grandfather, who commanded the American ExpeditionaryForce in World War I, died in 1948 at age 88. His grandmother died in 1916.

He was engaged last September to Shirley Hildreth Gay, a member of editorial staff of Vogue Magazine.

He was a graduate of  Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale College,where he was member of Skull and Bones, an undergraduate secret honors society. He completed training at Fort Benning,Georgia just before his engagement.

He was also the grandson of the late Mrs. Frederick Beckman and Mr. Frederick Lloyd Richards, both of New York. Senator Francis E. Warren of Wyoming (Medal of Honor, in the Civil War) and Jules S. Bache were his great grandfathers. October 25, 1942-February 17, 1968.

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Photo Courtesy of  Phillips Exeter Academy


Pershing, Richard W
b. 10/25/1942, d. 02/17/1968,
US Army, 2LT,
Res: New York, NY,
Section 34, Grave S-19, buried 02/27/1968, [VA]

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