PAGAN, GARY DON
Rank / Branch:
SGT E-5 U.S. Army
101ST AIRBORNE DIVIS
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, SMALL ARMS
Awards & Decorations:
See Alphabetical list
list by County
GARY DON PAGAN, SERGEANT, U.S. ARMY, OZONA, CROCKETT COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Combat Infantryman's Badge, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation's Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star, Vietnam Military Merit Medal
Don was born in Big Spring, Texas the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Pagan then of Garden City, Texas. Gary had four younger brothers. Gary grew up in Garden City and was active in student life and in sports. At Garden City High School, Gary was All District in Football, 1962; Honorable Mention All District Football, 1961, 63, 64. He was 2nd Team All-District in Basketball, 1963. He qualified for the Regional Track Meet in 1964. He was Best All Around, 1963; Class Favorite, 1961; Student Council 1964; Vice President Freshman Class 1962. A classmate at Garden City High School was Walter Bedford Lowe who also perished in Vietnam.
Garden City High School, 1965
In the fall of his senior year in high school, his family moved to Ozona, Texas. Gary remained at Garden City to play football. His team went undefeated in the regular season. After football, he transferred to Ozona High School. He was not eligible to participate in basketball because of the residency rule, but he was able to participate in track. Gary was elected a captain, even though he had not been at Ozona High School very long. He was very influencial in the success of the Ozona High School Track team in winning the Regional Championship. Gary had run hurdles, relay, broad jump and shot put. Gary qualified for the Texas State Meet in the broad jump and in the shot put. Gary placed second in the State Meet in the shot put event, and was 1/2 inch out of first place. Gary graduated from Ozona High School in the spring of 1965.
He then attended Angelo State University on a football scholarship for the year 1966. He returned to Ozona and went to work until he was drafted.
Angelo State University 1966
He was drafted into the Army in February 1967 and did his basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas and infantry AIT at Fort Benning, Georgia. He also completed the Drill Sergeant Training Course at Fort McClelland, Alabama and was promoted to Corporal E-4. He was an acting Drill Sergeant for basic trainees at Fort Benning. In December of 1967, he was levied for Vietnam and started his tour January 15, 1968. He arrived in country just before the TET offensive of 1968. He was initially assigned as a gunner for Battery A, 4th Battalion, 60th Artillery. In April 1968, he was assigned as a Fire Team Leader with Comany C, 3rd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment (Currahees), 101st Airborne Division. On July 20, 1968, he was promoted to Sergeant E-5 and was assigned as a Squad Leader with the same company. Regiment (Currahees). He was shot to death during a hostile engagment on November 20, 1968, five weeks before he was to complete his tour and separate from the Army. For this actions, he was awarded the Silver Star, posthumously.
Gary was buried will full military honors at the Cedar Hills Cemetery in Ozona, Texas. He was the only Crockett County resident to perish in the Vietnam War. He was survived by his parents, his younger brothers, James, Rodney, David and Steve.
Cedar Hill Cemetery, Ozona, Texas
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
Headquarters, 101st Airborne Division APO San Francisco 96383
AWARD OF THE SILVER STAR(POSHUMOUS)
GENERAL ORDERS 30 December 1968
1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced.
PAGAN, GARY D US54387878 (454-86-0323) SERGEANT Company C 3rd Battalion (Airborne) 506th Infantry, APO San Francisco 96383
Awarded: Silver Star (Posthumous)
Effective Month: December 1968
Date action: 10 November 1968
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For gallantry in action in the Republic of Vietnam on 20 November 1968. Sergeant Pagan distinguished himself while participating in military operations against an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam. Sergeant Pagan was serving as a squad leader on a reconnaissance in force mission near the city of of Phan Thiet in Binh Thuan Province. As his platoon prepared to move early that morning, they were heavily engaged by an intense volume of automatic weapons fire from ten Viet Cong in the high ground to their rear. Racing under an intense volume of fire, Sergeant Pagan and one other man sought cover and an advantageous fighting position behind a small pile of rocks. When more enemy fire began to hit their position from behind and his comrade was seriously wounded, Sergeant Pagan courageously got up from behind his cover and placed an intense volume of return fire on the enemy causing them to flee. In the ensuing intense fighting, as he continued to provide cover for his wounded comrade by gallantly exposing himself, Sergeant Pagan was mortally wounded. Through his tremendous personal valor at the sacrifice of his own life, Sergeant Pagan averted certain death for his fellow paratroopers and greatly inspired all of his men in repelling the violent enemy onslaught. The outstanding devotion to duty and tremendous courage displayed by Sergeant Pagan, in the face of extreme personal danger that cost him his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Authority: By direction of the President of the United States under the provisions of the Act of Congress, established 9 July 1918.
FOR THE COMMANDER:
W. P. TALLON, JR.
Chief of Staff
Transcribed from original orders by Billy M. Brown, PBVVM, 5 May 2007.
Information gathered and researched by Jane Fulkerson of Plentytown, Montana, A "Currahee" Researcher and a FOIA Request from National Military Records, in St. Louis, Mo. .