MCDONELL, R. D.
Rank / Branch:
SSG E-6 U.S. ARMY
Date of Birth:
BODY NOT RETURNED
Awards & Decorations:
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R. D. McDONELL, STAFF SERGEANT, U.S. ARMY, SWEETWATER, NOLAN COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Combat Infantryman's Badge, Bronze Star with "V" device, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal; Vietnam Campaign Medal.
R. D. was born in Sweetwater, Texas, the son of Ollie and Severe (Shorty) McDonell. He had five brothers and two sisters. He attended Sweetwater Public Schools and last attended Sweetwater High School in 1960. While in high school, he was active in Distributive Education and worked part time doing electronics work. He married Darlene on August 3, 1960 in Sweetwater.
Sweetwater High School 1960
He entered the Army in 1961 and had served two years and re-enlisted in the Army duty in 1965 from reserve status.
At this point he elected to remain and make it a career. He was an Armored crewman and had served a previous tour in Vietnam. He was in his second tour serving as a platoon sergeant in an armored infantry company. He was with Troop B, 1st Squad, 1st Calvary Regiment, 23rd (Americal) Division.
POW/MIA INFORMATION: Name: R.D. McDonell
Rank/Branch: E6/US Army
Unit: Troop B, 1st Squad, 1st Cavalry, 23rd Infantry Division (Americal)
Date of Birth: 21 January 1943
Home City of Record:Sweetwater TX
Date of Loss: 25 March 1971
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 164252N 1064203E (XD813486)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel In Incident: Manuel R. Puentes;
Richard J. Rossano (missing)
Remarks:KIA BY GRENADE/AMBUSH
SYNOPSIS: On March 25, 1971, PFC Manuel R. Puentes, PFC Richard J. Rossano, and SSgt. R.D. McDonell were rifleman and members of a 12 man combat patrol operating in northwest Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, a few miles south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Their patrol leader was Jimmy C. Johnson.
During the patrol, the team was ambushed by enemy forces. It was reported that PFC Rossano was the first man to be hit, apparently by a blast from a grenade. Puentes was seen wounded, but moving under his own power seeking cover. The patrol was forced to withdraw. Johnson, Puentes, Rossano and McDonell were left behind.
Attempts by reaction forces to reenter the area were unsuccessful. Johnson was later recovered with bad wounds in the lower body. He reported that Sgt. McDonell had picked up a grenade to throw it back at the enemy, but the device had exploded in his hand, killing him immediately.
McDonell was listed as killed, body not recovered. Rossano was also considered to be dead, but his body was not recovered. Puentes was declared Missing in Action, since he was last seen alive.
SSG McDonell was survived by his wife, Darlene; his sons, Wesley and Gary; his daughter, Dana, his brothers and sisters, James, Tom, Allen A., Odis, Gerald Wayne, June and Violet Bell.
His wife Darlene Crays remarried and lives in Colorado City, Texas and is still hoping for his remains to be located. His sons, Wesley is married to Angela and they have two sons Justin and Kevin; Gary is married to Jennifer and they have two sons, Joshua and Jacob and he has a son, Stephan from a previous marriage. His daughter, Dana is married to Michael Daniel and they have a son, Seth, and a daughter, Morgan and they live in Midland. Three of his brothers, James, Tom and Allen A. are now deceased.