• navesink
  • Monmouth
  • May 08, 1947
  • May 30, 1968
  • Army
  • RANK:
  • SGT
  • KIA
  • South Vietnam


John D. Pape was born on May 8, 1947, to Frank L. and Joan S. Pape. His home of record is Navesink, NJ. He had two brothers, Frank and Paul. John graduated from Middletown Township High School in Leonardo, NJ, in June 1966. He was very mechanical and never happier than when he was repairing or restoring old or new cars in his spare time. He was working for the Microwave Control Company of Red Bank, NJ, and in the midst of deciding whether to go to college or enlist in the US Coast Guard, he received his draft notice.

He was a normal teenager and didn't want to kill anyone, went to church, and told us he would do his duty for his country and go to college when he got back. He also planned to marry his girlfriend, Linda.

He entered the US Army on November 15, 1966, and trained in Ft. Dix, NJ, and the Army Assault Cavalry Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He attained the rank of Sergeant (SGT).

John arrived in Vietnam on January 19, 1968, and was assigned to Troop B, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment "The Black Horse Regiment" a few weeks before the Tet Offensive.

After seven firefights and as the lead Armored Assault Cavalry Vehicle serving as the Squad Leader of the Armored Column, John was killed in action at Cu Chi, Northwest of Saigon on Memorial Day, May 30, 1968. He was awarded the Bronze Star for Heroism with "V" Device.

His Bronze Star citation reads:
The Armored Column was suddenly engaged by a well-concealed enemy force along the roadway. SGT Pape immediately turned his vehicle and began assaulting the insurgent stronghold. Completely disregarding his own safety, SGT Pape completely exposed himself in order to deliver highly accurate suppressive fire on a machine gun emplacement. In the process, he was mortally wounded by enemy fire from another position. SGT Pape's personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the US Army.

He could have been buried in the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC, but his parents wanted him near home and he was interred in All Saints Cemetery in Navesink, NJ, on June 13, 1968, with a full military unit present from Ft. Monmouth, NJ.

On November 6, 1968, his parents were presented medals, which were posthumously awarded to John, by General Latta at a special ceremony in Ft. Monmouth, NJ.

Sources: Frank and Joan Pape (parents) and NJVVMF.


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