JAMES D RAAB - HM3
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- January 12, 1943
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- June 12, 1968
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
James Donald Raab was born on January 12, 1943, to O. Ronald and Regina Raab, in Jersey City, NJ. He resided there until moving to Beachwood, NJ, in 1958. His home of record is Beachwood, NJ. He was a 1960 graduate of Toms River High School. After graduation, he worked at a Food Fair Supermarket and attended Monmouth College in West Long Branch.
Raas enlisted in the US Navy in August 1966. He attained the rank of Hospital Corpsman Third Class (HM3).
Raab received basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Station in Illinois. He continued training as a hospital corpsman there and at the Marine base, Camp LeJeune, NC. James and Jody Raab were married October 19, 1966, at the Toms River Methodist Church. After a wedding trip to Hawaii, they settled at the Naval Station in Illinois.
Raab arrived in Vietnam in November 1967, and was attached to the H&S Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Marine, 3rd Marine Division.
On Wednesday, June 12, 1968, in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, Raab was killed in action. Often seen making his way to those wounded in battle, it was just such an effort Doc was making to save a life when he was killed by a bullet to the chest and died instantly. Military records indicate that Operation Allenbrook took place in Southern Quang Nam Province, May 4 to August 24, 1968. The Viet Cong lost 1017 men and the US lost 240.
Ironically, he could have stayed behind the lines because it was just a couple of days before he was to have begun traveling out of the war zone to an R & R in Hawaii and a reunion with his wife, the former Joanne "Jody" Becker.
On Tuesday, June 24, 1968, a funeral service for Raab was held at the First Methodist Church, followed by burial with full military honors at Ocean County Memorial Park, Toms River, NJ. He was survived by his widow and two-month old son.
Navy Corpsman Raab was known as "Doc" to the marines he served with on the battlefields of Vietnam. To the young woman who became his bride, he was "Donnie." But he never heard "Dad" from his son and namesake.
"Doc" Raab was a hero to those he served with and is remembered for saving many lives on the battlefield. For his many deeds of valor during just over six months in the war zone he was highly decorated. He was the recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Valor device, Purple Heart with one gold Star, the Vietnamese Military Merit Award, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and a Presidential Unit Citation.
In May 2001, Toms River High School South dedicated a monument to the six men from their school who were killed in the Vietnam War.
Like his father, Jim is in the Navy, a commissioned officer with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Following active duty on a ship, he is now Executive Officer of the Naval Reserve Support Facility in Connecticut. Jim is married and he and his wife have two children. In civilian life, he works for IBM.
What will Doc Raab's son tell his own children about their grandfather?
"It would be that their grandfather was a hero in the truest sense. He cared about people. The Marines looked up to him. He died in an attempt to save someone's life...I cannot wait to tell them, when they are old enough to understand, how proud I am of them...I wish my father could have said that to me."
And about his mom:
"The most important person in the world to me is my mother. She sacrificed a lot for me, some of which I know and I am certain some of which I do not know, and raised me by herself. I am forever indebted."
My father was not really anti-war. He did not want to kill people. He became a Corpsman and ended up with a Marine Battalion in the heart of the war. I met with the Marine who posted one of the notes at the Wall website, Lee Rimkus. I found out that my father was truly a hero. He saved many Marine lives above and beyond what he had to do as a Corpsman. During hostile fire, a Marine was shot and my father went out to save him. He was shot in the heart and instantly died.
If I had to pass anything on to my child (I have a wife and two-year old daughter) it would be that her grandfather was a hero in the truest sense. He cared about people. The Marines looked up to him. He died in an attempt to save someone's life. He died a few days before his two weeks R&R in Hawaii to see my mom. He could have been at the back of the company because it was the day before he left to travel, but he would not do it. I cannot wait to tell (when she is old enough to understand) my daughter how proud I am of her. I wish my father could have said that to me.
Written By James Raab, Jr., Son
Sources: James Raab, Jr , Anne Cullen (volunteer) and NJVVMF.
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