To a friend
~Joe Wynn ~
Joseph Ray Jr
Home of Record: Chula, GA
Date of Birth: Saturday, June 22, 1946
Marital Status: Single
Branch: Marine Corps, Regular
Rank: LCpl E-3
Serial Number: 2061589
Start of Tour: February, 1965
Date of Casualty: Friday, May 14, 1965
Age at time of loss: 18
Casualty type: (A1) Hostile, died
Reason: Gun, small arms fire (Ground casualty)
Country: South VietNam
Province: Quang Nam
The Wall: Panel 01E - Row 114
to other members of Delta Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, who served
contemporaneously with Joe Wynn, Delta Company was running parallel patrols
on May 14 1965 in a area north-northwest of Da Nang, Republic of South Vietnam.
Joe was walking point for a ten-man patrol as they approached the village of Nam Yen. From accounts of other patrol members, as they passed through the village, the VC opened up with an automatic weapon, probably a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). Joe was struck in the chest, dying immediately. The corpsman, Doc Thomas and later other medical officials gave the opinion that he died before he fell to the ground, probably feeling nothing. Doc Thomas quickly went toWynn's aid braving murderous small arms and automatic weapons fire, earning the Bronze Star. Doc had bullet holes in his 782 gear.
One or two rounds went through one of his magazines, piercing some of the M-14 rounds. Doc hung on to the ruined ammo as a souvenir. The patrol immediately returned fire and the enemy fled shortly thereafter. At this time, it has not been determined if and how may enemy casualties occurred.. The Marine dead and wounded were then evacuated by UH-34 helicopters out of Da Nang.
Joe had been with Delta, 3rd Recon since at least 1964. He had many friends in the battalion including his own Delta Company and many in Alpha and Charlie Companies. This was a little unusual because the battalion was quite often split up with each company serving in a different location at different times. It is of some note that a few among 3rd Reconners would be known and befriended across company lines. But that was an important thing about Joe, everybody liked him. He was a good person and a fine Recon Marine.
Delta Company had gone in-country in February, 1965, with the 3rd Marines and
was the first 3rd Recon company to see action. Alpha, Charlie, and H&S companies
went in country on May 7, 1965, participating in the landing at Chu Lai. It
was about one week later when on the evening of May 14th, the companies at Chu
Lai gathered for evening muster and the passing out of the ration of two warm
beers or soft drinks and the announcement of Joe Wynn's death was made. Although
some reconners had been KIA in the preceding years, Joe was one of the first
of the current battalion to fall under fire. In Charlie Company, everyone was
saddened and some angry, especially those who had been in 3rd Recon for a few
months and had the opportunity to know Joe Wynn. The beer and cokes tasted particularly
bitter that night- for those who didn't simply dump them into the hot sand at
their feet. He was our first.
Joe has never been forgotten. Those of us who knew him remember a friendly guy who had no enemies and as many friends as people he'd met. We'll be Semper Fidelis to his memory.
Joe's many friends,
2nd Squad, 1st Platoon, Charlie Co.
3rd Recon Battalion 1965
of Joe's other friends have more to contribute, or have corrections to this
account, please, by all means, contact Jim Jones at