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  <META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="2/77Army Artillery Stories,6/77Army Artillery Stories,  
Personnel Rosters, 2/77Artillery Pictures, 
6/77Artillery Pictures, Photos, Graphics, Rosters of 2/77Field Artillery
 Killed In Action, KIA, 6/77Field Artillery Killed In Action. WWI, WWII,
 Vietnam War, Artillery, Army, 2d Battalion, 77th Artillery, Veterans, 
Field Artillery, Cu Chi, Dau Tieng, Soui Dau, Soui Da, Soui Cut, Soui 
   <META NAME="description" CONTENT="Stories, Rosters, Pictures, of the 2d & 6th Battalions of the U.S. Army Field Atillery, and its veterans"> <META NAME="author" CONTENT="Michael Pectol">
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   <title>Honoring our KIAs!</title>

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<center><b>Panel 53W, Row 11

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<center><h3>Eugene Lynn "Butch" Markwell </h3></center>
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<img src="puc.jpg"><img src=nov6rpok.jpg><center><img src="1yr-gc.jpg"></center><br>
<br>Born on: : 5/19/1946
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Specialist Fourth Class Eugene Lynn Markwell
‘Butch will be missed by many forever. We all loved him very much.’
Specialist Fourth Class Eugene Lynn Markwell was killed
on July 4, 1968 while protecting his comrades from a grenade
attack. For his bravery he was awarded the Silver Star.
<center><img src="butchsSilStarPresent.jpg"></center>
Due to bureautic error. on 25 February, 1969.
“Butch” Markwell, as he was known to family and friends,
was born in Wisconsin. The family moved to his dad’s home state
of Kentucky when he was a child, then on for a better life in
California in 1959 when Butch was 13. They settled in Torrance,
were Butch attended Magruder Elementary School (now a middle
school) and North High School.
His sister, Teresa Roque, said that when Butch was in high
school there were “surfers” and “low riders” in the South Bay area.
Butch was a low rider. Teresa explained that “surfers” surfed and
hung out at the beach, while “low riders” drove lowered cars. They
wore black Frisco jeans and all the guys wore a “jelly roll” hairdo
and French tip shoes.
Teresa said Butch quit high school, but his parents objected
and he finished night school at Torrance High School (alma mater
of Louis Zamperini, the Olympian and World War II hero featured
in the book Unbroken21). Butch then finished mortuary school in
1966 and became a mortician at Valley Community Mortuary in
West Covina.
At the time Butch was drafted, Teresa recalls, “When time
came for him to go they talked him into enlisting for three years
and said he would go to a school of his choice and probably not be
sent to Vietnam. None of this was true. They sent him to their
school of choice and sent him directly over to Vietnam.”
He went to basic training at Ft. Ord, California in January
1967 and then was sent to Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey for radar
equipment training. Butch spent two weeks with his family at
Christmas 1967 before leaving for Vietnam. It was their last time
together before he died.
On July 4, 1968 Butch was serving as a radar technician at
a 25th Infantry Division base camp at Dau Tieng when the camp
was attacked with rocket and mortar fire. 
Teresa said Butch’s
commanding officer, who was on R&R at the time, visited his
parents and told them details of Butch’s heroism:<br>
“His Captain said my brother should not have even been
that close to the fighting. His job was in radar technician repair,
but the night my brother was killed his friend that was supposed to
have guard watch was ill, so Butch volunteered to take his place,
only to give his life that night to protect his fellow comrades.
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“A grenade came in and Butch was hurt, but when he saw
another one ready to come in he put himself at risk to kill the
person who was going to throw it, only to be killed himself in doing
so. Had he not done this the second grenade would have gone into
the bunker where his comrades were and more could have been
injured or killed.”</i><br>
<i><b>“A numerically superior enemy force launched a massive
mortar, rocket, and ground attack against Dau Tieng Base Camp.
During the initial contact, Specialist Markwell left the relative
safety of his position and moved to the beleaguered perimeter.
While placing devastating fire on the Viet Cong, Specialist
Markwell was painfully wounded by a grenade. Spotting the
communist soldier preparing to throw another grenade inside his
bunker, Specialist Markewell, with complete disregard for his own
safety, exposing himself to the devastating enemy fire, climbed on
top of the parapet and killed the insurgent before he fell mortally
<center><img src="dtbase.jpg"></center>
Teresa remembers “as if it was yesterday” the day her
family learned of Butch’s death. Her aunt and uncle were visiting
from Kentucky. After spending the day at her home in Lomita,
celebrating the Fourth of July, they went back to her parents’ house
for a visit.
We were all around talking and the doorbell rang. My mom
opened the door and there stood a soldier. My mom screamed for
my dad and they were at the door trying to grasp the horrible
news. My neighbor said my mom’s scream will be embedded in his
mind forever as it was such a loud, penetrating scream. The
soldier said my brother had been killed the day before, which in
Vietnam was the Fourth of July. <br>
My mom, unthinking and polite,
asked the soldier to come in for coffee. My dad responded, ‘No, I
think he’s done enough here.’”
Teresa said the Army notification officer had apparently
contacted neighbors earlier in the day to learn when the Markwells
would return home, and neighbors were nearby to help the family.
She added:<br>
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“I think my dad took it harder. He and my brother were
just getting to know each other as men. My husband and I stayed
the night at my parents’ home. I remember getting up about 6 a.m.
and finding my mom standing in the living room crying in front of
my brother’s picture. There were no words of comfort I could offer
her so I just held her. These are my memories of that first day that
you never forget.”<br>
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Butch’s father served as a Marine during World War II and
saw combat at Guadalcanal. Teresa said she is sure her father was
having flashbacks after Butch died.
“My dad couldn’t sleep at night. His job was driving a city
bus and he probably did nothing but think to himself all day. No
one to talk to but strangers. 
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Mom worked in retail sales. She had
many friends at work and I think was able to release more of the
heartache. For myself, all I can say is that I felt guilty everyday
being able to enjoy sunshine and going outside. It was impossible
to talk about it without crying.”
Teresa notes that “every Sunday, rain or shine” for four
decades the family would go to Rose Hills Cemetery in Whittier
where Butch is buried.<br>
“Even after I had my first son, whom I named ‘Eugene
Lynn’ after my brother, we would go out to the cemetery, take a
football, and my dad and my son would toss it around. Mom would
clean and edge the headstone and make sure it looked good. This
is where my parents are buried also, one on each side of Butch.
This was their way of staying close to him.”
Teresa and her aunt, Janice Thomas, shared with me some
of mementoes of Butch’s service. They include two letters to his
parents that were delivered one day after he died. “It was
heartbreaking,” Teresa said.<br>
She also included letters Butch received from other
soldiers, and she pointed out a telling contrast. In the letters to each
other the soldiers were candid about their fear and the horrors of
war, but none of that was included in letters to their parents. She
said, “You can compare how these poor kids wrote their fears to
each other and what was actually taking place, but they protected
family from this information so they wouldn’t worry.”<br>
Also included among the mementoes are letters of
condolence Butch’s family received from various military
commanders and elected officials after his death, a process
repeated 58,000 times during Vietnam. Those who wrote included:
. Stanley Reasor, Secretary of the Army
. General William C. Westmoreland, Chief of Staff,
U.S. Army
. General Creighton W. Abrams, Commander, U.S.
Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
. Major General F. K. Mearns, Commander, 25th
Infantry Division
. Major Richard K. Martin, the brigade chaplain
. California Governor Ronald Reagan
. U.S. Senator from California George Murphy<br>

In 2013 Theresa and her sons placed a banner in Butch’s
honor as part of the City of Torrance Hometown Heroes program.
“I like to keep his memory alive and I thought it would make my
mom and dad proud to have recognition of him in his hometown of
Torrance,” she said. Butch’s banner was placed in downtown
Torrance.. <br>
at the same time as one for Louis Zamperini.
Zamperini’s banner was paid for by 19-year-old Tyler
Goble. He sold mistletoe to raise the $220 fee after hearing
Zamperini’s story and learning that there was no banner in his

Mayor Frank Scotto believes Torrance is one of the most
patriotic cities in America. In addition to the Hometown Heroes
banner program there is an Armed Forces Day parade and a
veterans’ memorial wall. Seaside Heroes Park is dedicated in
honor of three servicemen killed in action, and the city’s airport is
named for Zamperini.<br>

Teresa said her mother’s Gold Star flag hung in their front
window until she passed away in 2006.
<center><img src="but5chMomGoldStarFlag.jpg"></center>
 Like other families who
lost a loved one in Vietnam on the Fourth of July, the Markwells
now view that holiday in a different light, as Teresa explains:
“In the past we always celebrated the Fourth of July with a
picnic, not thinking that much about it other than it was another
holiday. But now we think deeper as to why this holiday does exist
and it usually ends up with a trip to the cemetery. Butch will be
missed by many forever. We all loved him very much.”<br>

A Tribute from Total Strangers
While searching for information about SP4 Markwell I ran
into one of the numerous “kindness of strangers” experiences I had
in researching for this book. A man named Hal Rounds who lives
in Torrance posted a message to SP4 Markwell’s page at an online
wall on the Fourth of July 2008. It said:
“We put a vase of roses from our garden in your memory at
the Torrance war memorial today. Your life and death touched
many lives. God keep you Butch, and bless all the members of your

Assuming that Hal was a friend of the Markwell family I
contacted him by email. I asked if he knew Butch and if he is a
veteran. As it turned out Hal didn’t know Butch or his family. He
“I guess I chose him sort of at random when I was trying to
find names of the soldiers from Torrance that were killed in
Vietnam. Markwell's remembrances on the Virtual Wall were very
moving. They all were so young when they died. I'm just trying to
keep them from being forgotten, at least in my own mind.
“I'm not a vet myself. My younger brother was in the Field
Artillery from 1978 - 1985, and one of my nephews is in the Rifles
Regiment of the British Army. He has served two tours in
When I told Hal about the book I was writing he
immediately volunteered to take photographs of Butch’s banner.
Before the day was over he sent me photos of the banner and other
veterans’ memorials in Torrance.
<center><img src="markwellbannrTorranceCA.jpg"></center>
In a follow-up email Hal said thinking of Butch Markwell’s
death brings to mind a quote from T.E. Lawrence: “An individual
death, like a pebble dropped in water, might make but a brief hole;
yet rings of sorrow widened out therefrom.”
<b>A Neighbor Remembers</b>
Chris Mortensen, popular National Football League analyst
for ESPN, lived across the street from SP4 Markwell’s family. He
is younger than Butch and served in the Army immediately after
Vietnam. Mortensen has often mentioned Butch in his Tweets and
blog posts. In a message on an online wall in 1999 Mortensen
poignantly recalled the day Butch’s mother learned her son was
dead. Under the title “A Haunting Memory,” Mortensen wrote:
“Eugene was a neighbor of mine and the same age as my
older brother John. We all attended North High School in
Torrance, Calif. I was 16 at the time Eugene, or ‘Butch,’ as we
called him, was inducted into the Army. He was a humble, goodnatured
guy who treated others with respect, including a friend's
kid brother (me).
“Butch's death is a memory to this day that I cannot get out
of my mind. He was killed on the Fourth of July 1968. I'll never
forget the day that a military service vehicle pulled up next door as
I was shooting basketball in the driveway. Two men in uniform got
out of the car and walked to the door of Butch's house. Butch's
mom, known as ‘Bunny,’ opened the door and let the two men in.
Shortly thereafter, I heard the most haunting scream and cry that I
can't shake to this very day.
“Even now, I must honestly reflect that my emotions did not
connect with Butch's misfortune as much as it was for the pain of a
mother whose heart had been torn apart by the loss of her only
“May God bless that memory and every parent who has
lost a son or daughter in serving our country”
<b>A Chaplain Remembers Butch Markwell</b>
One of the letters of condolence to Butch Markwell’s
parents was from the brigade chaplain, Major Richard K. Martin.
Chaplain Martin, a graduate of Duke University Divinity
School, went into the Army in 1962 as a Methodist chaplain. He
retired in 1986 as a Colonel and joined the staff of Hyde Park
United Methodist Church in Tampa. He now lives in Gainesville,
I sent him an email asking if he’d write a remembrance,
and I enclosed the chapter about Butch. Chaplain Martin replied
that reading the story “. . . brought back vivid memories of a long
and scary night in our base camp at Dau Tieng.” Here is his
recollection of that day:
“July 4, 1968 is a date that will be forever etched on my
mental hard drive. Reading the story of SP4 Butch Markwell
opened the file and brought back a flood of memories.
“In the early hours of that Thursday morning I was jolted
awake by a series of explosions inside the perimeter of our base
camp at Dau Tieng. After nine months in Vietnam I was well
acquainted with those sleep-disturbing incidents. However, this
one was different. The number and location of the explosions
signaled a full-scale attack. That meant casualties.
“I laced up my boots, grabbed my flak-jacket and steel
helmet and stumbled through the darkness to the medical aid
station thinking, “Fireworks for the 4th of July!” I spent the rest
of the night with the wounded. A calming word here and there, a
prayer when appropriate, a helping hand for the medics, but
mainly just being present with those brave young soldiers.
As the day wore on our chaplains wandered around among
the soldiers who were on the perimeter. Some were exhausted but
could not sleep. Some were suffering from ‘survival guilt’ (‘Why
did I survive when my buddy was killed?’). Some just wanted to be
alone with their thoughts.
“At some point during that day I remember hearing about
an extraordinary act of heroism out on the perimeter. Later I
learned the story of Butch Markwell.
“When I wrote to Butch’s parents it was not a form letter.
It was a heartfelt expression of shared grief. I’m not sure if the
letter had a tear stain on it, but I know that I wrote with a heavy
“I often wonder what enables soldiers like Butch to
sacrifice their lives to save the life of someone else. Surely those
values are acquired within a family and a community. To Butch’s
family and community: thank you.”
Colonel Martin is one of hundreds of military chaplains
who served in Vietnam. Sixteen chaplains died in the war, and
three chaplains are Medal of Honor recipients: Navy Lieutenant
Vincent Capodanno, Army Captain Angelo James Liteky and Army
Major Charles J. Watters. Major Watters’ award was posthumous.
Below are some more rememberances left for him at the virtual wall:
I never really knew you but it feels like i 
did. So many people that i love talk about you and when they do it makes
 my heart sink. My dad is your nephew and he has your name and whenever 
we call him its like as were calling you. Im your great niece and i 
missed out on a lot of good times that we could have if you were still 
here. I pray for you wishing that you wre still here standing next to me
 comforting through the hard times that im having. I miss u alot and 
hope to see you soon in the other face of the world. Miss you lots! <br>
Posted by: Deanna Villalva
Relationship: niece
<center>Gone but not forgotten</center><br>
Just wanted to let you know that you will 
always be remembered, not only in the hearts and minds of those that 
knew you, but here on our 2/77 site and your sacrifice cherished by us 
along with your memory!
Rest in peace, brother
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