JOHN W DORIO

JOHN W DORIO - PFC

  • HOMETOWN:
  • avenel
  • COUNTY:
  • Middlesex
  • DATE OF BIRTH:
  • December 18, 1944
  • DATE OF CASUALTY:
  • October 25, 1968
  • BRANCH OF SERVICE:
  • Army
  • RANK:
  • PFC
  • STATUS:
  • KIA
  • COUNTRY:
  • South Vietnam

Biography


John William Allen Dorio was born on December 18, 1944.  His home of record is Avenel, NJ. He had a half-brother, Michael, and a half-sister, Barbara.  John attended Woodbridge High School where he was an Honor Roll student.  He worked as a truck driver before joining the service with his other friends.  

John entered the US Army on April 24, 1968.  He served in the 1st Cavalry Division (AMBL), and attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC).  He was an infantry soldier assigned to Bravo Troop, 1/9th Cavalry Division.

Dorio was killed in action on October 25, 1968.  He is buried in Beverly National Cemetery in New Jersey.  His wife, one son, Jeffrey, and one daughter, Traci, survived him.

A remembrance from Van A. Short who served in the same Platoon:
John was in Scout Platoon longer than I was.  I did not join the platoon as a full time scout until the end of July 1968.  I returned from a 30-day leave to discover that our company had been assigned to the 101st Airborne Division to go back in the Ashua Valley, a very bad place.  John and I ended up flying together with Lt. Williams, because we were the only two scouts who could fly with him and not get airsick.  Lt. Williams flew as low as possible and as fast as possible, and the temperature was about 100+ degrees.  In a LOH-6 (helicopter), the pilot flew right front, with the scout observer behind him and the crew chief was left front.  Most business was conducted out of the right side of the aircraft, as the observer had the M-60 machine gun.  I mostly flew right rear, as there were not very many that I trusted in this position.  John must have trusted me, as I can't remember any argument as to who flew where.        

One day we were screening in front of a company of the 101st and a burst of AK-47 fire came up, hit the pilot's seat directly in front of me, and broke the belt of ammo to my gun.  We quickly landed at what we thought was an abandoned airstrip to check out the damage.  John and I both got out, when suddenly there appeared a TV cameraman and he started filming us.  So while I stood there and tried to quit shaking, John hammed it up to the max for the TV camera.  After a bit, I started laughing it was so funny."           

John was very Italian, very New York, very extroverted.  If he had not been such a good guy, he would have been a pain.  As it was, he was a blessing.  John and Terry Hill were the two spark plugs of our platoon.  They made us laugh no matter how bad conditions were.  Because of them, our spirits were always higher than they would have been otherwise.  John being from the north, and Terry being from the south, they were a nice balance.           

We made a little stove from C-rations cans and used small pieces of explosives to heat our food and make coffee and tea.  The C-4 was hard to come by and using it this way was against the rules.  One day, John was on ammo detail, hauling rockets from the ammo dump for our gun birds.  Having quickly made friends with the guys at the ammo dump, John came away with 12 cases of C-4: a lifetime supply.  Every platoon in the company got some.             

It was typhoon season soon after this and we were wet and cold all the time.  John was back at the rear at An Khe, and somehow became the first enlisted man in the company to acquire a Nomex flight suit.  These were to prevent injury from a fire in case of a crash, and the pilots had first call on them.  On a chance that he might get lucky, John stopped at the Class 6 store.  This is the place where the higher NCOs and officers could buy booze.  Hoping to get at least one bottle of something good, John quickly realized that he had been mistaken for an officer.  No longer satisfied with one bottle, John spun a tale of woe about our hard life in the field with nothing but C-rations to eat, etc.... John then converted all the money he had on him into two of everything and came back to the field with two large boxes of good stuff, which he distributed throughout the company.  Talk about a morale booster!  I would come back from a mission cold and wet, change to dry clothes, brew some tea with a slug of good stuff in it, and then sleep until the next mission--all courtesy of John.           

So much depends upon luck in the business that we were in.  The day John died, he should have been on his way back to the States on a compassionate leave; but some pencil pusher messed up the paperwork.  We weren't supposed to fly that day (just be on standby), and I offered to let John fly right rear as I did have confidence in him.  Maybe he would have done a better job than I did that day.  The mission was about over and we were low on fuel.  We made one more attempt to establish contact, and we did."           

A remembrance from Capt. Enyart, who was the Platoon Leader:
I was the Platoon Leader of the Aero Scout Platoon in B Troop, 1st Squadron/9th Air Cavalry.  John was one of the people in my platoon.  His job was that of aerial observer.        

I think it was in the early afternoon on 25 October 1968, when our troop was alerted that an infantry dog team (canine patrol) had been ambushed--and the Brigade Operations folks wanted a reconnaissance team (a scout ship and a gun ship) on station as quickly as possible.  I was the standby pilot at the time and my crew was made up of SP5 Van Short as my door gunner and SP4 John Dorio as my aerial observer.           

As usual, we scrambled for our helicopter and were in the air within five minutes along with our gunship.  I cannot remember how long it took us to get on station but it was probably in the area of 10 to 15 minutes at pretty much max speed.  When we got there, we were directed to the coordinates (map location), where the ambush had taken place.  When we got to the ambush site, probably at around 100 feet above the ground, mainly because we knew it was a "hot" area, and while I was concentrating on the flying and looking part--John and Van recon fired on the area.           

They fired in the area in hopes of getting any bad guys to either move or return fire.  If that would have happened, our gunship could then have engaged the bad guys.  SP5 Short had an M-60 machine gun and John was using an M-16 rifle (on full-automatic).  Nothing happened on the first flyover.  We flew over the area a second time, probably around 40 feet above the ground at a slower speed and nothing happened again.  The third time we were going over the area, again from a different direction, we were even slower and lower.  As we crossed an area probably 150 yards from the actual ambush site, it was either John or Van who said he saw some broken branches where maybe "Charlie" had run after the ambush.  I turned the aircraft around and was going to get a closer look.  It was at that time that seemingly all hell broke loose.  A bunch of "Charlies" came out of hiding and opened up on us.  I don't know how many, but the guys in the gunship later said they thought there were from 7 to 10 "Charlies".  While they were shooting at us, one of their rounds hit my left foot--which immediately knocked my foot from the left control pedal.  We spun in right there; hit the ground and the aircraft rolled over on its left side.  John was in the left front seat and I was in the right front seat.           

When the aircraft stopped moving, I unfastened my seat belt and fell on top of John, who I thought at the time, was unconscious.  I crawled through what used to be the top canopy bubble and somehow remembered to pull my pistol from my shoulder holster and started pumping rounds into the nearby bushes.  I didn't see anybody but it just seemed like the thing to do.  About that time our gunship came in "hot" and was firing up the whole area to protect us.           

After what I think was a short time, I went back over to check on John.  It was then that I found that John had died of a single gunshot wound.           

I then went to check on SP5 Short, who had just pulled himself up and over the side of the aircraft.  Van had also been hit.  He had taken three rounds to his legs.  He later lost his left leg.  Shortly thereafter, a med-e-vac aircraft arrived and evacuated all three of us to a field hospital.           

Sources: Traci Carr (daughter), John F. Kennedy Memorial High School and NJVVMF.

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