JOSEPH M FEENEY - SP5
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- July 22, 1949
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- October 10, 1971
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Joseph Michael Feeney was born on July 22, 1949. He attended Holy Cross High School in Delran, NJ and graduated in 1967. Joseph was on the high school track team and also played varsity basketball. He attended Kings College in Wilkes Barre, PA, from 1967 through 1968. He loved to dance and was a big fan of blues music.
Joseph entered the US Army and served as a paramedic with the 326th Medical Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, known as Eagle Dustoff. He attained the rank of Specialist 5 (SP5). His tour of duty in Vietnam began on August 17, 1970. On October 10, 1971, while on an emergency mission, Fenney's "Huey" got caught in severe weather and crashed in the Dam Cau Hai Bay, thirty-five miles southeast of Hue in Vietnam. He was just 22 years old.
He was awarded the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.
Joseph's younger brother, Eugene, who had finished his one-year tour of duty in Vietnam in a supply unit at Cam Ranh Bay, was stationed in Germany when Joseph died.
His brother Eugene's last wish, prior to his death in 1988, was to be laid to rest beside his brother. After three years of wrangling with the government, Eugene's widow, Regina, with the help of Senators Bill Bradley, Frank Lautenberg and Governor Florio, was able to have her husband reburied in the same grave with his brother, Joseph, at Beverly National Cemetery.
The following was written by Paul Forel, a medic from Joseph's unit:
As a requirement of the flight medics with Eagle Dustoff, all were required to have served with the infantry as 'grunt' medics so that we could learn how to administer first aid while under fire.
Once a medic had served a minimum amount of time with ground forces, he might then be accepted into the dustoff platoon so that he could transition his emergency field medical skills to the confines of an evacuation helicopter.
Joe had deliberately joined the infantry after being turned away by Eagle Dustoff. He then served six plus months as a line medic, after which he joined the dustoff platoon.
He was very well liked and was sorely missed. By the way, as often as possible, field troops and flight crews were taken off duty status during their last thirty days in country but in spite of this, Joe continued to volunteer to fly missions until the end of his tour.
Excerpt from a letter to Joseph's father, Eugene:
There walks now many an ex-infantryman who will never forget that nameless medic who was there to administer emergency medical aid when they most needed it.
Sources: The Feeney Family and NJVVMF.
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