CLAUDE W MCBRIDE - SSGT
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- May 19, 1936
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- August 23, 1963
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Claude W. McBride (Mickey) was born on May 19, 1936, to France and Grace McBride. He attended Salem High School. He entered the US Army prior to high school graduation.
Claude was always interested in the military. Claude's first experience with the military came after he persuaded his father to allow him to join a National Guard unit in Salem County. The 16-year-old McBride won his battalion's Outstanding Soldier award in 1951.
On his 17th birthday, McBride and a friend, Donald Lehew, killed in 1966, journeyed to Philadelphia to enlist in the US Army. He would spend the next seven of eleven years overseas, marrying a British woman and fathering a son, Douglas. He stayed in touch through letters.
McBride served with the Green Berets in Company B, 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSGT) during the twelve years he served in the Army.
McBride arrived in Vietnam in early 1963. The 29-year-old soldier, acting as the detachment's engineer and medical sergeant, would train and patrol with small militia units. He had already completed a combat tour in Korea before volunteering successively for the 82nd Airborne Division and then Special Forces and Ranger School at Fort Bragg, NC.
McBride was killed in action by a Viet Cong sniper on August 23, 1963, in South Vietnam. He was the first Salem County resident killed in Vietnam. He is buried in Salem County Veteran's Cemetery in Salem, NJ. He was survived by one son, Douglas.
McBride was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.
McBride's name is among the 18 fallen Special Forces troopers whose names were picked to mark the streets and buildings of the small training compound in Fort Lewis, Washington.
Information provided by Clinton Zimmerman (friend) and NJVVMF.
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