KENNETH E DE MORE

KENNETH E DE MORE - PFC

  • HOMETOWN:
  • medford
  • COUNTY:
  • Burlington
  • DATE OF BIRTH:
  • October 02, 1950
  • DATE OF CASUALTY:
  • December 12, 1969
  • BRANCH OF SERVICE:
  • Army
  • RANK:
  • PFC
  • STATUS:
  • KIA
  • COUNTRY:
  • South Vietnam

Biography


Kenneth E. De More, Jr. was born on October 2, 1950. His home of record is Medford, NJ. Kenneth attended Lenape Regional High School.

He served in the US Army and attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC).

De More was killed in action on December 12, 1969, in Hue, South Vietnam. He is buried at Junior Mechanics Cemetery in Tabernacle, NJ.

De More was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Badge with Grenade Bar, the Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle and Machine Gun Bars, the Marksman Badge with Automatic Rifle Bar. He was also posthumously awarded the Good Conduct Medal and the Armed Force Honor Medal (from the Government of the Republic of Vietnam).

Kenny joined our family of three on October 2, 1950, fulfilling my wish for a baby brother. I can still recall his homecoming from the hospital in Mt. Holly, NJ where I had been born, too, three and a half years before. And in that house on 83 Union Street, in Medford, we continued to grow and share our sibling bond until he died at the early age of nineteen. They say it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I learned the hard way just how true that is. The memory of his little hand in mine still lingers to this day, making me thankful and sad at the same time.

Though younger than I was, Kenny taught this timid older sister not to be afraid to do all the normal, physically challenging things children do...like roller skating and riding a bike. I can still feel the sun on our backs when we were finally considered old enough to bike to downtown Medford to shop in the 5 & 10 for Mother's Day. I can almost smell the flowers for sale on the sidewalk out front. I smile at the thought of another bike ride, this time on one built for two in Ship Bottom. We were nearly hit by a car that day, but swore to one another not to tell Mother, or she'd never let us do it again! Remembering our beach house on 23rd Street there conjures up another memory, too, of a day he lifted me out of the ocean to safety when I could not help myself. Our dad has never picked up a rod and reel since losing his best fishing buddy.

We were never at a loss for things to pretend or games to play. My own children, and now grandchildren, have grown up playing the actual games of Bingo, Chinese Checkers and Monopoly which entertained my brother and me. And I still decorate with the sled our dad pulled us on after the snow was packed down and icy on Union Street.

Kenny loved animals as a boy. I can remember a wounded bird being cared for in a shoebox, a grasshopper in his pants pocket on laundry day, hamsters giving birth, and homing pigeons. And of course our dog Trixie, named for the cereal!

Kenny attended Lenape Regional High School in Medford before joining the Army on January 23, 1969. He trained at Fort Dix, NJ and Forts Gordon and Benning, GA, before leaving for Vietnam on September 22, 1969. As evident in his letters home to us, PFC Kenneth E. De More, Jr. served proudly as a rifleman with the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam. He spoke of casualties, and his own close calls with land mines. He believed being there was his calling.

On the evening of December 13, 1969, our mom and dad were visiting my husband, our 5 month old daughter and me in our apartment in Marlton when a neighbor of theirs called to say two soldiers were at 83 Union Street. When my dad called later and asked me to hand the phone to my husband, I knew that what was going unspoken until then was horribly true. Julie, and her two sisters to follow, were never to remember, or even know, their Uncle Kenny. My brother died in Hue, South Vietnam, on December 12, 1969. He had been saving our Christmas cards so he could open them out in the field on December 25.

Kenny was laid to rest at Jr. Mechanics Cemetery in Tabernacle on December 20, 1969. There's something about seeing your dad sob openly that stays with you forever.

The love of, and for, a son and a brother...they stay with you forever, too.

Written by Diana Frey, Sister
May 2004

Information provided by Diana Frey (sister) and NJVVMF.

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