Tribute To

Cpl. William A. "Billy" Buck Jr.


3rd Recon Bn. USMC
Delta Company
Team "Flight Time"
KIA June 4 1969
Hill 471 RVN
Panel 23W - Line 61

"Lost but Not Forgotten"

Billy was born on June 5th 1947 in Fayetteville N.C. to the parents of William and Jeanne Buck. He was the 2nd of three siblings. He was surrounded with love by his wonderful parents and by his 2 sisters, Narcia and Andrea. The family was very close knit and always shared their time together. Mr. Buck Sr. was a career military man himself and saw action in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He was also a Scoutmaster on the national level and this is where he guided Billy to become an Eagle Scout. With his Father's inspiration, guidance and military background it was only natural for Billy to follow in his Father's footsteps. However, there is a little twist here. Mr. Buck was a retired MSgt. in the Army and not to be outdone by old "Pop's", Billy just HAD to join the Marines. From the day he joined the Marines, Billy was relentless with being the best. After the completion of his training, like most all other Marines at that time, he was sent to Vietnam. Upon arriving in Danang in March 68' Billie was sent to the Vietnamese Language School. After his schooling he was shipped up North where he was assigned to Delta Co. 3rd Recon Bn. While with Delta Co he ran patrols as pointman, radioman and eventually took his turn as a Patrol Leader. Just before his 13 month tour was up, he decided to extend for another tour. This was fairly commom amoungst Reconner's. There were a number of reason's why someone would extend, but the most understandable is the fact that once you become a Patrol Leader it is really hard to leave your guys behind to carry on without you. Billy's strong character and the love he felt for his teammates compelled him to this decision.
Before his extension began he was sent home for 30 days leave to be with his family again. The news of his extra six months in Vietnam was heartbreaking to his family. Mrs. Buck often told me afterwards that she knew this was going to be a fateful decision. I guess it's what we refer to as a Mother's Instinct". I was fortunate enough to share the final weekend at home with Billy and his family. This was late May 1969. Billy left and returned to Vietnam just 3 days later arriving back in Quang Tri June 1st. He couldn't wait to get back in the bush and consequently a patrol came up and he volunteered to lead it. The team name was "Flight Time". Their APL, Stan Kozlowski had just left to go to Recondo School leaving the team without a patrol leader. This was Billy's chance to get back into the action. This may be somewhat hard for some to understand, but for a seasoned combat Marine, this is what we lived for. It was our job, it was what we were trained to do and we grew to crave that adreniline flow. Against the advice of many men, on June 2nd the team was inserted near Hill 471, just 1,000 meters due south of Khe Sahn.(Following Comments from the book "Never without Heroes"). In the pre-dawn hours of June 4th, the team was surprised by an enemy force of unknown size. They were hit heavily with small arms and grenades. An aerial observer ("AO) observed the fighting ten meters on all sides of the team. The team requested a reactionary force and an immediate extraction. At 0320, communication was lost with the team. A little after 0400 hrs. a reactionary force found the six Recon KIA's---near Hill 471, with five members of the team in a small trench and the 6th man was approximately 10 meters down the hill. The team had received RPG's, satchel charges, chi-com grenades, bangalore torpedoes and small arms fire. Reactionary Team Leader stated the marks on the ground and the way the equipment was scattered , the team must have been involved in hand-to-hand combat. After the bodies were bought back to Quang Tri, Lt. David Sipperly spoke with the reaction team leader, who amplified his feelings about the savagery of the fight. He said that Cpl. Billy Buck had been found ten meters away form the others with his K-Bar in his hand and apparently gone down wounded and fighting hand-to-hand against numbers that overwhelmed him. This report only exemplifies the courage and tenacity of Billy Buck and his fellow Reconners. They were sent on an ill fated mission but their sacrifice, courage and commitment makes them all heroes never to be forgotten. God Bless them all!
Respectfully submitted by a dear friend and brother of Billy.
Steve Shircliff

 

 

 



Billy Buck 1968 RVN


Billy's Sisters, Andrea & Narcia


Click the above image for Billy's Memorial at the "Virtual Wall"