DONALD LETA - 2LT
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- November 18, 1944
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- February 13, 1968
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- South Vietnam
Donald Leta was born on November 18, 1944, in Newark, NJ. His home of record is Irvington, NJ. Donald was called "Lete" by his friends and family. Lete spent his early life in North Plainfield, moving to Irvington during his elementary school years where he attended St. Paul the Apostle school. In 1962, he graduated from Irvington High School where he was a 4-year veteran of the football team including a co-captain and an outstanding wrestler and member of the Agorians.
He continued his education at Seton Hall University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Management in June of 1966. Don received an award for academic achievement in his junior year and became president of his fraternity, Gamma Iota Alpha. It was on campus that he also posted a brilliant four-year ROTC career as a member of the Pershing Rifles, Triphibian Guard and the ROTC Officers Club. Upon graduation from Seton Hall, Don was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant (2LT) in the US Army.
After college, Don became engaged and went to work for a short time at his father's stone company, where he had worked all through high school and college. He spent the remainder of his stateside time training at Ft. Benning, GA and Ft. Carson, CO.
Leta was deployed to Vietnam in early January 1968 and assigned to A Company, 4th Battalion (Mechanized), 23rd Infantry Regiment, 25th Division known as the "Tomahawks". Headquartered in Cu Chi this base camp was situated just west of Saigon in Hau Nghia province, III Corp.
During the 1968 Tet Offensive, Leta was on a mission near Ap Cho in Hua Nghia province. This area had been the scene of heavy fighting. Leta and three of his men were killed there by enemy fire on February 13, 1968.
He was survived by his father and two brothers.
Sources: Rich Forte, Bert Saum, Mike Andreoli, Don Cucuzzella (classmates), Seton Hall University and NJVVMF.
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