• norma
  • Salem
  • January 11, 1948
  • April 16, 1968
  • Marines
  • RANK:
  • LCPL
  • KIA
  • South Vietnam


Hugh Ernest Schavelin was born on January 11, 1948, to William and Grace Schavelin.  His home of record is Norma, NJ.  He had one brother, William Frank Schavelin, Jr.

Schavelin enlisted in the US Marine Corps and attained the rank of Lance Corporal (LCPL).  He was assigned to Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines.

Schavelin was killed in action on April 16, 1968.  He is buried at Olivet United Methodist Church Cemetery in Centerton, NJ.  

Hugh Ernest Schavelin was born on January 11, 1948.  Ernie was tall and lanky.  When he was young, he rode his trusted Schwinn bike many miles for a variety of Boy Scout medals.  He belonged to the Civil Air Patrol and helped at air shows at McGuire Air Force Base.  He worked on two large farms and saved his money to buy a Honda Motorcycle he used for lots of long trail rides he loved.  Ernie enjoyed playing pool, going swimming and taking long walks with his dog.

We lived close to Centerton Lake and Park.  For a small fee, you could spend the day boating and fishing and playing all kinds of games.  At 6 feet, he was popular with the girls and loved to go dancing at the park and junior & senior dances at school.  He was generous to a fault, loved nature and all animals.  He was very respectful, kind and very protective of me, his mother.

Both Ernie, and his brother, Frank, played music.  Frank played the accordion and guitar and, both he and Ernie played the drums.  They both had music lessons and it was a good thing we lived in the country.  Their combined concerts rocked the house and shook the walls.  I am sure if Ernie had lived, he would still be playing the drums he enjoyed so much.

He graduated from Bridgeton High School in 1966.  He enlisted in the Marines on the buddy system with four of his friends in July of 1966 from his hometown of Norma, NJ.  Only two of his friends came home.  Ernie attained the rank of Lance Corporal.

On April 4, 1968, at the age of 20, Schavelin was killed in action in South Vietnam.  According to reports, he was killed in Quang Tri Province by hostile fire.

Ernest Schavelin received the Purple Heart with Gold Star, a National Defense Service Medal, a Vietnam Service Medal and a Republic Of Vietnam Campaign Medal.  He was awarded the Sharpshooter Medal as a rifleman.  He was a Platoon leader for the 3rd Marine Division.

His brother, Frank, was in the Marines at the same time, and both he and Ernie tried to get leave so they could be home for Christmas in 1967, but there were too many complications and it never worked out.  Frank was a Jet Mechanic in the Marine Air Wing and was sent to Okinawa while Ernie was sent to Vietnam as a Platoon leader in the Infantry.  In the last letter he wrote home, Ernie had a request: "When I get home, I want to have steak and eggs for breakfast everyday for a month."

Written by Grace Schavelin, Mother
June 14, 2004

Sources: Grace Schavelin (mother), Roger Liggon (veteran) and NJVVMF.


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