WILLIAM B KIMBALL - 2LT
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- March 17, 1945
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- May 06, 1968
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
William B. Kimball, Jr. was born on March 17, 1945. His home of record is Parlin, NJ. He graduated from Sayreville High School. While attending Rutgers University at night, he was employed by the Personal Products Company in Milltown.
He entered the US Army and attained the rank of Second Lieutenant (2LT). Kimball attended Officers' Training School and was commissioned on June 7, 1967. He was sent to Vietnam on February 5, 1968.
Kimball had received the Purple Heart for wounds received in battle on March 8, 1968. He returned to action with his company, the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, 196th Infantry Brigade.
Kimball was killed in action on May 6, 1968, in Thua Thien, South Vietnam. In May of 1968, the North Vietnamese launched what has been called their "Tet II" offensive, striking 119 provincial and district capitals, military installations, and major cities including Saigon. Unlike Tet I, which was primarily a Viet Cong uprising, Tet II was almost entirely an NVA affair.
The battle of Dai Do actually began on April 30 with the ambush of a US Navy utility boat at the junction of the Bo Dieu and Cua Viet rivers by elements of the 320th NVA Division. Since Battalion Landing Team 2/4 was in the area, it was ordered to eliminate the threat to the crucial waterway.
Faced by three Regiments of the 320th NVA Division, BLT 2/4 was forced to fall back to defensive positions north of the river, but they stopped the enemy attack. NVA reinforcements were turned back by men of the Army's 3rd Bn, 21st Infantry, Americal Division, which occupied blocking positions at Nhi Ha to the northeast.
The NVA attempt to open an invasion corridor into South Vietnam had failed. The "Magnificent Bastards" of 2/4 Marines and the 3/21st Infantry had saved the day, for if they had failed the NVA would have been free to overrun the major supply bases at Dong Ha and Quang Tri and the entire DMZ defenses would have been undermined. However, the cost had been high. The Marines and sailors suffered 89 dead and another 297 seriously wounded, while Army forces at Nhi Ha sustained 28 deaths and 130 wounded. But the enemy suffered even greater losses--not only did the NVA fail to achieve their objective, they also left 1,568 bodies on the battlefield.
Alpha Company, 3/21st Infantry, lost twelve men including William Kimball.
William is buried in New Calvary Cemetery in Parlin, NJ. Kimball Drive East in Sayreville, NJ is named after him.
Sources: Various websites, newspaper clippings and NJVVMF, Photo from VVMF.
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