What can YOU say in six sentences?
Dennis got to ‘Nam on August 17th of 1970, was in-country less than three months, an 11-’BoomBoom--nickname for an “11B,“ ‘Eleven Bravo,’ the army Military Occupation Specialty classification for an infantry rifleman--when, serving in the 196th Light Infantry Brigade at Quang Nam, Viet Nam, he was shot and killed by enemy small arms fire.
Dennis was born in Montana in 1950, was only 9 when his family moved to the Mt. Vernon/Burlington, Washington area, Edison High's honor student who worked on the yearbook and was drafted into the U.S. Army after attending Skagit Valley College from ‘68-70.
Quang Nam province was the U.S. Marines responsibility for several years before the Army was assigned to the area in February of ’70, six months before Dennis arrived, a region so deadly and dangerous that many Medals of Honor were conferred on Marines in actions where Dennis and his unit were to be assigned.
I don’t know if Dennis knew that the Marines had suffered 7,000 KIAs (Killed-In-Action) during their years in a place called Quang Nam, a place famous for its cinnamon and ginseng, an area with locales known as “Arizona Territory” because it was thick with “Indians,” a place called ‘Charlie Ridge‘, a Marine firebase called “Tomahawk,” and an embattled Marine stronghold at An Hoa.
When he awoke on November 11th of 1970, I don’t know if Dennis knew it was Veterans Day back home in Washington, if he awoke under fire, knew a firefight was imminent, or thought he might ‘get it’ that day.
For you, Dennis Richard Linnell, a Private First Class of Delta Company, Second Battalion, 1st Infantry, I will pray, for you and for all who have fallen and may not be remembered by names etched in a wall such as yours, and especially for you, Dennis, I will fly my flag in your personal memory and honor, and for others because their lives mattered too, you the fallen who may not have anyone else by whom to be remembered.
[Two other soldiers died from hostile fire that day: Ronald J. DiBartolomeo, of Volant, PA, at Bien Hoa; Francis Xavier Bunk, of West Islip, NY, at Binh Dinh]