CPL Martin Mitchel Chepke
Corporal Chepke enlisted in the Army out of Ohio, and served as a Light Weapons Infantryman in the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry during the Korean War. On September 20th, 1951 he was Killed in Action while fighting in South Korea. He was one of ten men from Ohio alone who died on that day in Korea.
I've mentioned before that it's often times hard to find much info about the men who fought and died in the Korean War, because it's been such a long time since that conflict occurred. Most of the family that personally knew these men are either very old or have also passed away. It's a sad reality in which many of these young men who perished on the battlefield have nobody that knew them in person to remember them. But I refuse to let their memory fade and become just another name in a long list of casualties.
CPL Chepke was a hero, a true warrior, and a brother that died doing what he swore an oath to do. He was a Golden Dragon, through and through. And he earned his place at the Right of the Line.
SSG Joseph M. Weiglein
Staff Sergeant Weiglein was a member of Alpha Company, 2-14th Infantry from mid-2005 until the time of his death in 2007. He was K.I.A along with another Soldier on 29MAY07 in Ilbu Falris, Iraq due to an I.E.D during a dismount patrol. That is the extent to which I know about what happened the day he passed away. The reason for that being is that I knew him personally, and am okay with never knowing the details about happened to him.
After 2nd Brigade returned from the 2004 to 2005 Iraq deployment, we had a lot of people coming and going into the unit. Guys were getting out, PCSing, or just switching companies. My Squad Leader from Iraq switched over from A Co. to HHC in order to be a part of the Recon Platoon. Both Team Leaders from our squad moved on, and I was made Alpha Team Leader. I was still just a Specialist (having just earned that thanks to a waiver a few months prior) and it would be awhile before I'd even be eligible to go to the Promotion Board, but I had proven myself to the Platoon and the unit during Iraq. They trusted me, and knew that it would be best for me to take over the team. It was around this time that SSG Weiglein came to the unit and took over the Squad Leader role, having just ended a stint as a Recruiter (if I am remembering correctly).
Instead of just casting aside myself and the other Team Leader due to our rank (we were both E4s) he looked to us for guidance. He knew that we both had the fresh experience of a year worth of Infantry combat under our belts and trusted us to run our teams as we saw fit. The unit was gearing up for the likelihood of another deployment and jumped right back into training just a couple of months after we got back. We had a new CO who was very "gung-ho" and decided that we were going to go out to a range and conduct a kind of "combat endurance course" that was essentially just an obstacle course with some shooting mixed in for E5s and below. The course was timed, and the winner would receive an award and of course bragging rights. And, by the way, it was during the early part of a Fort Drum winter, so naturally it was cold and all in the snow.
Up to this point, I had already reenlisted and was set to leave in just a few months, but I went out of my way to ensure that I trained up my cherries (new Privates for those who may not know) to the best of my ability. I was probably a little harder on them than I normally would have been, but I knew that they were going to have to eventually go back and fight, and I wanted them to be as prepared as they could be before I left. I busted my ass on that course and at the time that I finished, I was first overall time wise. I went back inside one of the buildings on the range to recover, and not long after I went, the other Team Leader went and beat my overall time. We were 1st and 2nd place.
The reason I mention this is because it leads into what is my fondest memory of SSG Weiglein. After myself and the other Team Leader were back inside and relaxing after our runs, SSG Weiglein came bursting into the building with a huge smile on his face. He was incredibly and genuinely proud of the fact that his two Team Leaders had set the two best times. He went around bragging about it for the rest of the day until a guy from 1st Platoon bested our score. We still finished 2nd and 3rd overall, a good showing. You could see it in his eyes that even something as simple as that was enough to make him proud. He cared about his Soldiers beyond just what was asked of him as an NCO.
I pinned E5 in January, a couple of months after that, and PCSed to Fort Benning. It wasn't long after arriving there that 2nd Brigade (and thus the 2-14th) got deployment orders to return back to Iraq. And it was in May of the following year that I learned SSG Weiglein had been killed. I had made it a morning ritual to check the casualty reports while my old unit was there.
I can't say that I knew him as well as those that had deployed with him, but in those short few months that I had the honor of being his Team Leader, I gained a huge amount of respect for him. He had a great sense of humor, was sensible, and a great leader. It's been 12 years since I last spoke to him, but I still think about him often, as I do with the other brothers who were lost in Iraq.
He forever earned his place at The Right of the Line, and I hope that some day I'll have the honor of standing next to him once more.
SGT Allen E. Grimm
Like with many of the Korean War-era Dragons, it's difficult to find much information about Sergeant Grimm other than the very basic service stats and information about the day he was killed in action. That's just a product of time and the period in which the war took place. He was a member of Kilo (or possibly Charlie) Company, 3rd Battalion, 14th Infantry and was K.I.A on October 10th, 1951 while fighting in North Korea. Four other members of Kilo Company died that day, which means that it must have been a tough battle for those men to go through; a day that I'm sure the men who experienced it never forgot. The entire Regiment sustained heavy losses during the month of October.
Anyone who knew Sergeant Grimm, whether fellow Soldiers or Family, are now well into their senior years or have passed on. I, like other former Dragons, refuse to let his memory fade away or for him to become just another name and date in a list of a history book. He was a son, possibly a brother and a father, a leader of Soldiers, and a Golden Dragon.
He forever earned his place at the Right of the Line that cold day.
SFC Robert R. Bode
"Most of the men really don't understand what they are doing here, I try to explain it as best I can. But the truth is that most of them have never even seen a Charlie (VC)." These were the words of SFC Bode, Platoon Sergeant of 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company to a correspondent in May of 1966 near Trang Bang, South Vietnam. His men were fighting an enemy that operated in the shadows and left them frustrated by the cat and mouse tactics. By all accounts, SFC Bode was thoughtful, passionate leader who chose to go with the men he trained to fight alongside them. His family remembers him as a kind man who loved God, the Army, his wife and his children.
On 06JUL66, SFC Bode was struck in the chest by enemy small arms fire during a Search and Destroy mission and passed away. Though I obviously never could have met the man, I did serve in 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company, 2-14th Infantry many years after. At the time, I knew that I was serving in a unit with a long, bloody history but it doesn't truly sink in that men like this served, fought, and died while representing the same thing I fought for until long after.
SFC Bode forever earned his place at the Right of the Line, I'm sure ready to stand and fight with his Soldiers once again if called to do so.
PFC Melvin R. Ward
Repost: PFC Ward was a member of the 2-14th during the Korean War. He was originally from California, born in 1931, and had been in the Army for 21 months. He was serving as a member of a Light Weapons Assault Team and possible served at the Team Leader.
On the 26th of June, 1953 he was killed in action while fighting enemy forces in South Korea. He was listed as KIA/MIA and his remains were not recovered. On that date during the war, 21 other American Soldiers and Marines were killed.
I was unable to find any pictures of PFC Ward, but that does not mean we have forgotten his service and his sacrifice to our country, the Army, and our brothers in arms.
May he forever rest at The Right of the Line.
PFC Miguel A. Rivera
Repost: PFC Rivera was a 22 year old from New York who was drafted into the Army as a member of Alpha Company, 2-14th in Vietnam. He was K.I.A in early June, 1966 by an enemy mine while escorting a bulldozer that was filling in trenches. 3 other Dragons lost their life in the same incident.
I was unable to find a photo of Miguel online, which is sadly a common thing. He passed away 49 years ago, which means as time goes on, less and less people who actually knew him will be with us. But the men who fought alongside him still remember. His family still remembers. And this generation and beyond should remember him. Not just as a number on a monument, but as a son, a brother, and a friend.
He will forever find his place at The Right of the Line.
SP4 Frederick James Carraturo
REPOST: SP4 Carraturo was a member of Alpha Company 2-14th Infantry, 25th ID. He entered Army service by way of New Rochelle, NY and met his fate on May 22nd, 1967 in the Binh Duong province of South Vietnam.
On that day, at 1110 hours, Alpha Co. reported that they had 4 W.I.A and 1 K.I.A. SP4 Carraturo, unfortunately, was the Soldier killed in action. He succumbed to multiple fragmentation wounds.
He was just shy of his 21st Birthday. He was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star on the 11th of September, 1967. His Brothers in Arms will never forget him and his ultimate sacrifice on the fields of battle. And neither should anyone else.
He earned his place at The Right of the Line.
SGT Donn F. Porter
REPOST: Sergeant Porter was awarded a Medal of Honor for his actions during the Korean War as a member of the 14th Infantry, 25th ID. I will let his MOH citation speak to his heroism:
Sgt. Porter, a member of Company G, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. Advancing under cover of intense mortar and artillery fire, 2 hostile platoons attacked a combat outpost commanded by Sgt. Porter, destroyed communications, and killed 2 of his 3-man crew. Gallantly maintaining his position, he poured deadly accurate fire into the ranks of the enemy, killing 15 and dispersing the remainder. After falling back under a hail of fire, the determined foe reorganized and stormed forward in an attempt to overrun the outpost. Without hesitation, Sgt. Porter jumped from his position with bayonet fixed and, meeting the onslaught and in close combat, killed 6 hostile soldiers and routed the attack. While returning to the outpost, he was killed by an artillery burst, but his courageous actions forced the enemy to break off the engagement and thwarted a surprise attack on the main line of resistance. Sgt. Porter's incredible display of valor, gallant self-sacrifice, and consummate devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon himself and uphold the noble traditions of the military service.
Well done, Dragon. His place with be forever at The Right of the Line.
CPL Michael C. Kamph
REPOST: Corporal Kamph was a 21 year old Dragon by way of Oregon who was killed in action on 27AUG67 in the "Iron Triangle" of Vietnam. He was a member of Bravo Company when the unit was ambushed on a Search and Destroy mission.
Like all of our fallen brothers, CPL Kamph was surrounded by heroes and fought with honor in order to accomplish the mission. He is just one of many who's life was cut short in the most brutal of ways. No matter whether the men at his side when he fell or future generations of Dragons, his sacrifice will not be forgotten.
His place is at The Right of the Line.
PFC James Henry Martin, Jr.
REPOST: PFC James Martin, 23, was assigned to A Company, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry). Members of the company, part of the Quick Reaction Force in Somalia, had been sent to rescue Rangers exchanging fire with Somalis in the streets of Mogadishu Oct. 4th, 1993. James Martin was killed when the company's convoy was ambushed. He was the only one of two members of the 10th Mountain that were killed during the battle.
PFC Martin earned his place at The Right of the Line.
I've been doing these small memorials for some time now both on Facebook and on my previous site. The purpose is to not only remember our fallen brothers from the 14th Infantry Regiment, but to show the families that we will always care and never forget.