THOMAS W MYERS - PFC
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- March 09, 1943
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- May 27, 1969
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Thomas Wayne Myers was born on March 9, 1943, the seventh son of Meredith and Emma Myers. His home of record is Middlesex, NJ. Tom grew up in a family with 10 siblings, Richard, Walter, Kenneth, Raymond, Gerry, Joyce, Dorothy, Ted, Philip and Peggy. Tom enjoyed playing basketball and softball, and at age 13-14, he and his brother, Phil, became members of the Sea Scouts at a local church in North Plainfield.
After graduating from Dunellen High School in 1961, Tom attempted to enlist in the US Army, twice, but was rejected due to medical problems. He soon became a truck driver and then went on to become an apprentice electrician.
In June 1968, Tom received his draft notice and was inducted into the US Army in September 1968. He attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC), and arrived in Vietnam in March of 1969. He formed a close relationship with two soldiers in his platoon, Don Simonson, of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and William Lee Anderson, of Templeton, Pennsylvania. .
Myers was killed in action during an ambush in the Plain of Reeds, Dinh Tuong, South Vietnam, on May 27, 1969. On this day, the helicopter crew dropped the soldiers onto the field, and the two platoons flanked a canal. Myers' platoon was never given a radio to communicate with the helicopter. The other platoon never received the message that they were walking into an ambush. His friend, William Lee Anderson, was also killed during this ambush.
Myers' picture appeared in a special edition of Life Magazine, June 27, 1969, which was titled "The Faces of The American Dead in Vietnam- One Weeks Toll." It was this magazine that put Don Simonson in touch with the Myers family. As many other soldiers, Don Simonson, Tom, and William Anderson promised to get in touch with each other's family if anything happened to them. Don, still dealing with this war 25 years later, called the Myers family. Gerry, one of Tom's older brothers, made arrangements to travel to Minnesota, to visit with Don. Don explained the reason he, Tom, and Bill became such close friends was due to their strong value of family. He said Tom talked a great deal about his family. Through Don, the Myers family learned how Tom was killed, and it was a very grateful family that thanked Don for reliving that horrific experience again.
Tom was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, the Vietnam Battle Citation and the First Oak Leaf Cluster (V Device).
Sources: The Myers Family and NJVVMF.
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