THOMAS J DANDO - SGT
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- February 03, 1945
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- March 19, 1967
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Thomas J. Dando was born on February 3, 1945, in Passaic, NJ. His home of record is Clifton, NJ. He attended Holy Trinity School in Passaic, where he was an altar boy and CYO member. In 1955, the family moved to Lodi, NJ.
After graduating in 1962, from Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, NJ, Tom attended Rutgers University, Newark and Bloomfield College where he planned to become a pharmacist. He enjoyed bowling, photography, boating, fishing, hunting and tennis. He also worked at Givadaun Corporation in Clifton, NJ, with his father Jacob, and friend Matt Rugel, now retired and living in Butler, NJ. One of Matt's most memorable moments with Tom was working together on a Friday in November 1963, when they heard President Kennedy had been assassinated.
Tom was drafted into the US Army in the summer of 1965, and sent to Fort Devens, MA. He attained the rank of Sergeant (SGT). He was named "Soldier of the Month" during his training. In May 1966, he married Judith Milanovich in St. Paul's Church in Clifton.
Tom received his orders for Vietnam and arrived there on July 15, 1966. His first assignment was with the 196th Light Infantry Division. After serving 8 months he was transferred to the 4th Division.
On March 19, 1967, while serving with Company B, 3rd Battalion, 4th Infantry Division on the outskirts of Dau Tieng Village, Dando was killed by an enemy land mine as he disembarked from his helicopter. He left behind his parents, his wife, his sister, Mary E. Rabolli, her husband, Charles, and his nephew, Charles Rabolli, Jr. He was 22 years old. His father, Jacob Earl, died in 1986, but his mother, Veronica Yalch Dando, who is in her nineties, is alive and well in 2005.
Thomas had a great personality, enjoyed his Pontiac convertible, and was well-liked by many. He is still remembered today by his friends from Holy Trinity Grammar School.
Dando received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
He also received a citation for Outstanding Meritorious Service. His citation reads:
For the period 15 July 1966 to 19 March 1967 and in connection with ground operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Through his untiring efforts and professional ability, he consistently obtained outstanding results. He was quick to grasp the implications of new problems with which he was faced as a result of the ever changing situations inherent in a counterinsurgency operation. The energetic application of his extensive knowledge has materially contributed to the overall effort of the United States in Vietnam. He was a motivating example to all with whom he came in contact. His devotion to duty, loyalty, and meticulous attention to detail are in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Army, and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, the 4th Infantry Division, and the military service.
Sources: Mary Rabolli (sister), Clifton War Veterans Monument Committee and NJVVMF.
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