CHARLES M ANDUJAR - SSGT
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- July 03, 1934
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- June 13, 1969
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Charles Manuel Andujar was born on July 3, 1934. His home of record was Newark, NJ. He had one brother, Richard.
He entered the US Army where he attained the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSGT).
Andujar was killed in action on June 13, 1969. He was survived by his wife, Dora. Charles is buried at Ft. Benning Post Cemetery in Georgia.
Staff Sergeant Charles Manuel Andujar, of Delta Company, 4th Bn., 12th Infantry of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade was from Newark, NJ. He was killed on June 13, 1969 by small arms fire in an area called Phuoc Tuy. We were working out of base camp Blackhorse, not far from the village of Xuan Loc. A few scattered rubber plantations survived from French occupation but most of the terrain was covered in triple canopy jungle. The First Cavalry had been operating in the area for months and their methods seemed to include periodic armored patrols along tank and APC trails, which carved up the landscape at five to ten mile intervals.
In the spring of 1969, they decided that their mission in the area was accomplished and elements of the 199th Light Infantry were moved northward, out of the Deltas rice growing region near base Camp Elvira, to maintain the territory made secure by the First Cavalry. In reality, the jungle was infested with NVA regiments dug in and camping in the areas between the cavalry trails.
When I neared the bottom of the hill the fight was still on. Below I could see the medic with Sgt. Andujar’s body on the trail. The Sgt. had been the ranking NCO in the squad and the NVA would try to take out the one with the most rank first, if they could see the black stripes or bars. Charlie was very close in bunkers above and surely saw the stripes on his arm. His fate was sealed with the first shots.
Sgt. Andujar’s body was strapped to a stiff litter and hoisted up out of the triple canopy through an opening created by one of the artillery rounds. We had placed him in a body bag but realized that the closest landing zone was about three kilometers through the dense jungle and none of the troops wanted to drag the body to a LZ where the re-supply chopper could come in, land, and pick it up…. The Captain decided to lie to the higher command and the Med-Evac pilot, telling them that the Sgt. was wounded but alive, just to get him out of the jungle by chopper along with me.
The last I remember of the Sergeant was the sight of the chopper crew and base camp medics offloading his body in the litter while I was helped to the operating area of the field hospital tent at base camp. I did not know Sgt. Andujar well since he was not my NCO but I remember him as a muscular, dark complected, quiet man who was well respected by the officers, as well as the men in his platoon.
Recently, using the Internet, I have learned that he was 34 years old and married at the time of his death and his religion was Roman Catholic. My memory from the day that Staff Sgt. Andujar was killed comes with the guilt of one who survived and returned to the states.
-Written by Bob Fromme, Gunner
Sources: Bob Fromme (veteran) and NJVVMF.
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