STEPHEN J HADLEY - SGT
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- September 06, 1950
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- May 15, 1971
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Stephen J. Hadley was born on September 6, 1950, to Allan and Sue Hadley. His home of record is Chatham, NJ. He graduated from Chatham High School where his interests included track, hockey and football.
Stephen was attending North Texas University and quit college when he knew his draft lottery number would guarantee his call. He joined the US Army and was assigned to the infantry where he attained the rank of Sergeant (SGT). He routinely volunteered to be the point man on patrol, even past the six-month limit imposed by regulations.
On his last mission in Vietnam, Hadley didn't want to be pointman, but his lieutenant insisted. He was running across a field to respond to a message when he tripped a booby trap and a bomb exploded. He died on May 15, 1971, at the age of 20.
Hadley received the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Military Merit Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, and the Purple Heart.
Hadley's Air Medal citation reads:
For distinguishing himself by meritorious achievement while participating in sustained aerial flight in support of combat ground forces of the Republic of Vietnam during the period 7 October 1970 to 17 January 1971.
During this time he actively participated in more than twenty-five aerial missions over hostile territory in support of counterinsurgency operations. During all of these missions he displayed the highest order of air discipline and acted in accordance with the best traditions of the service. By his determination to accomplish his mission in spite of the hazards inherent in repeated aerial flights over hostile territory and by his outstanding degree of professionalism and devotion to duty, he has brought credit upon himself, his organization, and the military service.
His Army Commendation Medal citation reads:
For heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Specialist Four Hadley distinguished himself by valorous actions on 28 March 1971 while serving as a Rifleman with Company 4, 4th Battalion, 21st Infantry. On that date, he was skillfully walking point for his platoon, which was on a combat patrol south of Duc Pho, when he detected an enemy squad moving down the trail toward them. Specialist Hadley immediately opened fire on the enemy unit, silencing their point man in the initial exchange of fire. As the firefight continued, he repeatedly exposed himself to the hostile barrage while rallying his fellow soldiers. He then almost single handedly charged the enemy position, routing them from the area and capturing valuable equipment and documents. Specialist Four Hadley's personal heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 23d Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
On May 29, 1992, a memorial was dedicated at the Library of Chathams to honor the four soldiers from Chatham who died in Vietnam.
Sources: Sue Hadley (mother) and NJVVMF.
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