LAWRENCE J LE DONNE - PFC
- ridgefield park
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- October 21, 1947
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- March 18, 1968
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Lawrence Joseph Le Donne was born on October 21, 1947, to Joseph and Aurelia Le Donne. He had one brother, William, and a sister, Barbara. His home of record is Ridgefield Park, NJ. He attended Ridgefield Park High School and graduated in 1966. He loved cars, baseball and chess.
Le Donne was drafted into the US Army and attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC). He received his basic training at Fort Dix and then underwent advanced training in armored personal duty at Fort Knox, KY.
Le Donne was sent to Vietnam and served with the 1st Air Cavalry Division. He drove an armored personnel carrier through the jungle in search of enemy snipers. Seven men rode in his vehicle and on one mission he returned with six dead and one wounded. His vehicle was nicknamed Lucky 7 as was his lucky dog that he found in the jungle.
He was killed in action on March 18, 1968. On this day, the company was on a search and clear operation, near the village of Phu Loc. Le Donne was killed when the APC hit a landmine and they took enemy gunfire.
A requiem mass was held at St. Francis Roman Catholic Church followed by a burial at St. Joseph's Cemetery in Hackensack, NJ.
Le Donne received numerous awards and medals including the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Vietnamese Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Sharpshooter Badge.
His Bronze Star citation reads:
For distinguishing himself by outstanding meritorious service in connection with ground operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam during the period 23 January 1968 to 18 March 1968. Through his untiring efforts and professional ability, he consistently obtained outstanding results. He was quick to grasp the implications of new problems with which he was faced as a result of the ever-changing situations inherent in the counterinsurgency operation and to find ways and means to solve those problems. The energetic application of this extensive knowledge has materially contributed to the efforts of the United States mission to the Republic of Vietnam to assist that country in ridding itself of the communist threat to its freedom. His initiative, zeal, sound judgment and devotion to duty have been in the highest tradition of the United States Army and reflect great credit on him and on the military service.
In November 1981, the towns of Ridgefield Park and Little Ferry dedicated the Route 46 bridge between their two towns in honor of the men who were killed during the Vietnam War. Le Donne's name is included on this bridge plaque.
Ridgefield Park High School created an annual football award in Lawrence Le Donne's name. A flagpole was dedicated on the front lawn of St. Francis Roman Catholic Church in Ridgefield Park.
Sources: Barbara Brunton (sister), newspaper clippings and NJVVMF.
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