• newark
  • Essex
  • July 31, 1948
  • March 06, 1969
  • Army
  • RANK:
  • SP4
  • KIA
  • South Vietnam


Frank Dennis Joynes, Jr. was born on July 31, 1948, to Frank and Florence Joynes of Newark, NJ. Dennis, as family and friends called him, was educated in the Newark Public School System at Newton Elementary School and Central High School.

At Central, Dennis competed on the track team, and his ambition after high school was to become a physical education teacher. His high school transcripts indicated that he enjoyed health and fitness, physical education and athletics. Remembrances from people who knew him indicate that he would have been a wonderful teacher. Central's Cog 'n' Pen yearbook of 1967 states that Dennis was "a wonderful person." "He was always smiling," recalls Guy Borges, who coached baseball and is now teaching business courses. Also Borges said, "The yearbook is correct, he was a really nice guy." On June 20, 1967, Dennis graduated from Central High School and registered for the Armed Forces in Newark, NJ.

Dennis served as a search and destroy military infantry platoon soldier in the US Army. After one year of service, he attained the rank of Specialist 4 (SP4) as a team leader and started his tour on September 12, 1968. Dennis served with 1LT Mel Grevstad. They worked together to lead their comrades through the guerilla warfare in Pleiku, South Vietnam. Mr. Grevstad's testimony details that Dennis was high spirited and brave. He possessed leadership qualities on the battlefield, which showed his courage. Mr. Grevstad recalls that Dennis was "a good man and a good person." He was the squad leader of eight men and an exceptional soldier. "Dennis always pitched in whenever an extra man was needed. In one instance, their company had a series of hostile contact over several days. Grevstad's strategy to initiate return fire was using a point man that served as the front eyes of the platoon. He asked a man to walk the point, and without hesitation, Dennis volunteered to start their strategy. As he approached enemy lines with his scout dog and two other men behind him, a B40 rocket struck him in the head. Dennis and two other men died on contact, and the dog survived with wounds.

After seven months of diligent service in South Vietnam, Frank Dennis Joynes, Jr. perished at the age of 20 in Pleiku, South Vietnam. Dennis earned several accolades for his productiveness and leadership in South Vietnam. These include the distinguished Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman's Badge. In addition, the 35th Infantry Regiment Association (Cacti) remembers Dennis on their website as one of several "Honored Dead" killed in action while in Vietnam. "He was a valiant leader, delightful, and a generous person for sacrificing his life for the sake of our country."

The decorations earned by Joynes include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.

Sources: Yasmeen Barber (friend), various websites and NJVVMF.


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