FRANCIS M FINNERTY - PFC
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- November 30, 1948
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- November 17, 1968
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Francis M. Finnerty, Jr. was born on November 30, 1948 in the Bronx, NY to Marion and Francis Sr. His home of record is Washington, NJ, in Bergen County. He had two brothers named Timothy and Daniel. He also had two sisters named Maureen and Kathleen. Francis graduated from St. Nicholas of Tolentine High School, Bronx, NY. Previously he attended St. Phillip and St. James Roman Catholic School.
Finnerty served in the US Marine Corps and attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC). Francis served with Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. Francis was transferred on May 10, 1968 to (2-1-3) of the 2nd CAG, III MAF. Under the command of Captain Patrick Mitchell. The 2nd CAG stood for 2nd Combined Action Group which was small Marine Corps units set up with Vietnamese Popular Forces that operated against the Vietcong. The Marines were usually assigned from Marines Corps Company's in the beginning and later they underwent special training. Some went to Vietnamese Language School and lived with the Vietnamese in their villages usually running patrols and small combat operations with them. They served under the command of III MAF which was the Third Marine Amphibious Force, the Senior Command of all Marines in Vietnam.
Finnerty was the only member of his platoon to survive the Battle of Hue in 1968, but was killed in action 10 months later on November 17, 1968, on the outskirts of Danang. He was located in Quang Nam Province, in the small Hamlet of Tui Laon when died at 7:30 AM from a gun shot wound to his chest while he was in a defensive position. His body was recovered. His last rights were given by Lt. Jim M. Wright. He had been scheduled for a transfer to an intelligence unit prior to his death. At the time of his death, Francis was the 117th Bergen County soldier to perish in the Vietnam War and the only one from Washington Township, Bergen County, New Jersey.
The Township of Washington, Bergen County, renamed Westgate Road to Finnerty Place during a dedication ceremony in honor of Francis M. Finnerty, Jr. The street was renamed on October 20, 2002. The event was hosted by the VFW Post #6192. In October 2005, at a parish-wide reunion, St. Nicholas of Tolentine honored those who had died in the Vietnam War. There were 68 graduates in the St. Nicholas of Tolentine Boys class of 1966. Four died in Vietnam.
Francis was interred in the Long Island National Cemetery in the P section, plot 359 in Pine Lawn, New York.
He received the following awards for his service: Purple Heart with 2 stars for wounds received in combat on three separate occasions, the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnamese Service Medal with star, Vietnamese Campaign Ribbon, the Republic of Vietnam, Military Merit Medal, the Republic of Vietnam, Gallantry Cross with palm, and the Good Conduct medal.
Sources: Katie Sansome (sister), Richard Wojcicki, newspaper clippings and NJVVMF.
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