EUGENE J HILL - PFC
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- May 18, 1948
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- August 23, 1968
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Eugene J. Hill, Jr., who was known as "Genie" by his family and friends, was born on May 18, 1948. He was an outgoing boy and enjoyed spending his summers with his aunt and uncle, Dolly and Ron McCloskey and seven cousins. He made friends wherever he went and had good friends in both Philadelphia, PA and at home in Blackwood, NJ. He attended St. Francis De Sales Grammar School in Runnemede, NJ. While there, he lived with Aunt Dolly and Uncle Ron.
Gene spent some of his happiest days at Triton High School. His love of sports won him double letters in football and track. He held two track records, one, the half-mile, went undefeated for years. Gene graduated in June 1967.
After graduating, Gene lived with his mother and worked as a linesman trainee for the Philadelphia Electric Company. After working there for seven months, he left Blackwood, NJ, and enlisted in the US Army, much to his family's dismay.
Gene was sent to Fort Dix in February 1968, for Basic Training. He managed to earn weekend passes and was able to get home every weekend.
When Gene completed his Basic Training, he was sent to Fort Gordon, GA. After training there, he had a 30-day leave and was home for the month of July. He was asked to go to Non-Commissioned Officers training, but for some reason turned it down. It could have been that some of his friends did not make it, and he did not want to leave them. He attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC).
On August 4, 1968, Gene was sent to Vietnam to serve as a Rifleman. He was assigned to Company C of the 1st Battalion, 52nd Infantry, 198th Light Infantry Brigade. Gene was stationed at a base camp near Chu Lai. It was here that he was wounded when his base camp came under hostile mortar attack. Gene died at 3:00 A.M on August 23, 1968, at the age of 20. He had been in Vietnam only 24 days.
In Gene's last letter to his Aunt Dolly, he told her that he was "in a safe area and not to worry." However, in a letter sent to a priest friend, he told him that his camp was surrounded and that he had no regrets going to Vietnam. Gene was proud to serve his country and thought it was his duty to do so. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Gene wanted to become a teacher. He would have been a great one, as he loved people and had a wonderful sense of humor. People loved to be around Gene, especially his cousins. He delighted in teasing and entertaining them. Gene was full of life and fun, and to this day is missed not only by his cousins, aunt, uncle, and mother, but by all who knew him.
Sources: The Hill Family and NJVVMF.
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