ROSS APPLEGATE - SP4
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- August 05, 1949
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- March 26, 1968
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Ross Applegate was born on August 5, 1949, in Queens, NY, to Francis and Theresa Applegate. He grew up in Bergenfield, NJ, with his brother, Joel. He graduated from Bergenfield High School in June 1967. His interests included baseball and football. As a young man, he played baseball in the town PAL, Pony and Little League and was very involved in the Boy Scouts and the Explorers, for which he became the assistant advisor. Ross sang in the concert choir. He was a faithful acolyte at Christ Church, Teaneck, NJ, from confirmation until enlistment.
Although Ross was very happy-go-lucky, he also had a serious side. He could be described as responsible. For example, he was a member of a four-piece rock band. He listened to Bob Dylan and absorbed every word. He was able to understand the poetry behind Dylan's music and was able to introduce the other band members to the seriousness of the lyrics. He was a band member in high school.
Applegate decided to enlist in the US Army when he did not get into the college of his choice. He attained the rank of Specialist 4 (SP4). He would complete his military service and then attend college.
Even after he was sent to Vietnam, he still had a lighthearted attitude towards everything. He sent letters home talking about the games of football he had organized and was pleased that he had thrown a touchdown pass. It was not until his military intelligence detachment became involved in the Tet Offensive that he looked to the real reasons for fighting the war in Vietnam.
On March 26, 1968, at the age of 18, Ross Applegate was killed in action in South Vietnam, Thua Thien Province during a mortar barrage at Camp Davis. His death shocked all his family and friends back in the US. In a letter from a commanding officer, the officer declared that he was surprised at the age - 18 - because he thought Ross was 26.
Applegate received numerous awards and decorations including a Bronze Star, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Rifle M16, and the National Defense Service Medal. The government of the Republic of Vietnam awarded him the Military Merit Medal and the Gallantry Cross with Palm. Ross posthumously received the Purple Heart as well.
Sources: Theresa Applegate (mother) and NJVVMF.
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