GERARD M WYNN - MAJ
- north arlington
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- August 29, 1933
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- November 14, 1967
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Gerard M. Wynn was born in Jersey City, NJ on August 29, 1933, and raised in nearby North Arlington. Smart, quick-witted, and well mannered, he was always a presence and always well remembered throughout his school days. A standout student and football player at Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington, "Jerry" went on to West Point and continued his excellence in academics and athletics. His talents blossomed at West Point into other activities, such as the Weight Lifting club, the Spanish club, and the Debate Council, among others. He graduated in 1956.
Wynn served in the US Army and attained the rank of Major (MAJ). Upon graduation he attended the Basic Course and earned the Parachute Badge and the Range Tab at Fort Benning, GA. He then went to Germany for duty as a mechanized platoon leader in the 2nd and 4th Armored Divisions. Next, Wynn served with the Green Berets in the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, NC. He spent seven months in Vietnam training the Vietnamese Rangers in 1961. In 1962, he finished with the Special Forces and returned to Fort Benning, GA to attend the Career Course. Later that year he went to Korea where he served as the commander for the mechanized rifle company in the 17th Infantry, 7th Infantry Division and was awarded the Commendation Medal for outstanding performance.
In September 1967, Wynn returned to Vietnam as a Major. He was assigned as a Brigade S-1 for a short time and then reported to the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry of the 4th Infantry Division and took over as Battalion Operations Officer (S-3). The unit was engaged in a series of search and destroy missions near Highway 1 around Chu Lai. The battalion moved near Hoi An, Quang Nam Province, 1st Tactical Zone.
On November 14, 1967, the battalion command group (CO, S-3, and LNO's) made an early morning lift off. Wynn had elected to direct battle operations from a very low flying helicopter above hostile forces. This was done to ensure the safest possible situation for his men. After his helicopter was shot down, he gallantly returned to the air in another. This time, the aircraft was hit harder and Wynn was mortally wounded in the crash and is listed as killed in action.
Wynn was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman's Badge for his heroics. His Silver Star citation reads:
The President of the United States takes Pride in presenting the Silver Star Medal (Posthumously) to Gerard Michael Wynn (0-73940), Major (Infantry), U.S. Army for gallantry in action while engaged in military operations against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. On 13 and 14 November 1967 Major Wynn distinguished himself while serving as Operations Staff Officer of the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, operating near Xuan Que. Companies A and B were heavily engaged with a large force of determined North Vietnamese Regulars. Major Wynn and the Battalion Command flew to the area in the Command and Control helicopter. To better direct the companies' efforts, they elected to fly extremely low to overcome the poor visibility in spite of increasing the danger of being hit by enemy fire. While deploying the companies to maintain contact with the North Vietnamese, they flew directly over the enemy forces and were hit. The helicopter was downed but Major Wynn was airborne within an hour and again aiding the ground forces. The next morning, Major Wynn and the Battalion Commander continued their mission and again elected to direct operations from an extremely low altitude. Once more their helicopter received heavy automatic weapons fire. The helicopter went out of control and crashed. Major Wynn was mortally wounded in the crash. His personal courage and devotion to his men and to his duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
He was interred in Westbrook, ME. Wynn was survived by a wife, Rena, daughter, Elizabeth, and son, James.
Please click herefor a pdf file of a detailed biography written by Ed Jervis.
Information provided by Ed Jervis (volunteer) and NJVVMF.
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