JOSEPH C DE JESSA - PFC
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- October 20, 1947
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- March 26, 1967
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Joseph Carmine De Jessa was born on October 20, 1947. His home of record is Lyndhurst, NJ.
De Jessa enlisted in the US Marine Corps during his senior year in high school. He entered the service after his graduation from Lyndhurst High School on June 28, 1966. He attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC).
De Jessa served with I Company, 3rd Regiment, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. He was an Infantryman and a Combat Rifleman. He took part in Operation Prairie, Operation Prairie II and Operation Prairie III. During Operation Prairie III, PFC DeJessa was mortally wounded in Quang Tri, on March 26, 1967.
De Jessa is buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Lyndhurst.
Joseph Carmine De Jessa was born on October 20, 1947, and lived in Lyndhurst, NJ, his entire life. He was the second child, and first son, of Joseph Carmine De Jessa Sr. and Helen DeJessa. He was the brother of Maryellen, Stephen and Barbara.
Joe was your average teenager. He loved cars, fishing and baseball. He was mechanically inclined and he loved to take cars apart and put them back together with his father. According to his mom, he was a well-behaved boy. He also loved his country. After graduating from Lyndhurst High School in 1966, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. He was very excited about joining the Marines and a going away party was held in his honor. It was quite a shock to most of the extended family that Joe wanted to enlist, but they gathered and wished him well. At his party, it is remembered that Joe was happy and said, "I want to do what I can for my country."
Joseph De Jessa was with I Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Division and took part in Operation Prairie, Operation Prairie II and Operation Prairie III. Joe was on watch in the jungle just before midnight on March 26, 1967, in Quang Tri near the Demilitarized Zone when the first of 218 mortar shells hurdled down on the Third Marines. One of the shells exploded behind him. A Marine Chaplain wrote to Joe's mother that a fragment had hit Joe in the back of his head and Joe died in his arms.
Joe was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon and the Purple Heart. He is buried with his father and mother in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Lyndhurst, NJ.
On June 14, 1981, the dedication of the PFC De Jessa Memorial Bridge took place in Lyndhurst. This was done in memory of Joe, the first Lyndhurst casualty of the Vietnam Conflict. The bridge spans the Passaic River between Nutley and Lyndhurst.
Joe's family still remains very proud of him and the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country.
Written by Stephen De Jessa, Brother
Sources: Stephen De Jessa (brother) and NJVVMF.
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