• bay head
  • Ocean
  • July 19, 1947
  • August 12, 1969
  • Army
  • RANK:
  • SP5
  • KIA
  • South Vietnam


Jeremiah Michael Hayes, Jr. was born on July 19, 1947, to Jeremiah and Mabel Hayes at Doctor Ivory's Hospital in Point Pleasant Beach, a private facility that no longer exists. His home of record is Bay Head, NJ. He went to elementary school in Bay Head, followed by Point Pleasant Beach High School. He was called "Jerry" by his friends and family. Growing up, Jerry loved surfing. In his ocean beachfront town, Jerry and Max did a lot of surfing together. Max was Jerry's cocker spaniel and he also loved to surf. Jerry loved his Corvette. He had completed a year at Ocean County College when he was drafted.

Hayes began his service with the US Army in May 1968. He completed his basic training at Fort Dix, NJ. On September 20, 1968, he left for Vietnam.

He was killed on August 12, 1969, during an enemy ground attack supported by heavy rocket and mortar fire at LZ Becky, Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam. He was 22 years old and had attained the rank of Specialist 5 (SP5), serving with the Hard Chargers, A Battery, 1st Battalion, 30th Field Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).

For this biography, Mrs. Hayes looked through his assorted military pins and awards seemingly for the first time, some 30 years after her son's death. They include the Bronze Star Medal with "V" for valor, engraved with his name, and the Purple Heart, both awarded posthumously, for his final encounter with the enemy. He was also the recipient of the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with a bronze service bar, the Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, the Expert Badge with Automatic Rifle Bar and a Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar.

Jerry's hometown of Bay Head mourned. On the day of his funeral, all the stores in their community closed. A requiem Mass was said at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church. The chaplain for Hayes' unit and President Nixon sent letters of condolences. A tree was planted in Veterans Memorial Park at Little Silver Lake, off Arnold Avenue in Point Pleasant Beach. There is a memorial plaque for the young men who went to high school there. In his hometown, Bay Head dedicated tennis courts to Jeremiah Hayes and placed a memorial plaque in Borough Hall.

In his Point Pleasant Beach High School yearbook, Jerry is described as a "man of few words" and "one of the big Bay Head surfing friends...with his mind set on owning a gray 4-speed Corvair and riding the big surf in Hawaii."

Sources: Anne Cullen (volunteer) and NJVVMF.


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