Friday, March 23, 2012

TFH 3/23: Second Lieutenant John L. Fuller, Jr., USMCR

The Citadel in Charleston, SC has prepared leaders for our armed forces since 1842. John Luther Fuller, Jr. graduated with the Citadel's class of 1966 and received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. He was sent to Vietnam to fight with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.

On this day in 1967, exactly forty-five years ago, Lieutenant Fuller's platoon was moving into the attack against a fortified village when they were taken under fire by the defenders. He was wounded in the first enemy volley, but ignored that and subsequent wounds as he led his Marines. For his courage, selfless devotion to duty, and leadership of his Marines under attack, he was given our Nation's second highest award for valor: the Navy Cross.

From Military Times' Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Second Lieutenant John Luther Fuller, Jr. (MCSN: 0-94257), United States Marine Corps (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in action against insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces while serving as Platoon Leader, Third Platoon, Company E, Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, on 23 March 1967. During Operation NEW CASTLE, Second Lieutenant Fuller's platoon was maneuvering toward the fortified village of Dai Khuong 1, Quang Nam Province, when they were undertaken by intense small arms, mortar and recoilless rifle fire from a well-entrenched enemy force. Moving with the lead squad, Second Lieutenant Fuller was wounded by the initial burst of fire. Unmindful of his wound, he stationed himself to direct fire on the advancing enemy and while positioning and encouraging his men, he was struck again by enemy fire. Although suffering from a severe loss of blood he courageously began maneuvering toward the radio position of the platoon, with the intention of directing artillery fire on the enemy, knowing it would save the lives of the other Marines. In his advance toward the radio, he received his fatal wound; however, his profound sense of duty and determination enabled him to reach the radio, but he lost consciousness and subsequently died of his wounds while attempting to call in the artillery fire. Inspired by his apparent calm, valiant fighting spirit and dynamic leadership, his Marines went on to defeat the Viet Cong in this fierce battle. Second Lieutenant Fuller's daring initiative and his undying devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Fuller rests in peace at Westview Cemetery, Atlanta, GA. His name appears on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC on Panel 17E, Line 28. 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines is still an active Marine infantry battalion and part of the 1st Marine Division and I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA.


  1. There is such a thing as a strange series of events. JohnnynFuller was my childhood friend in Atlanta. Today, during my latest move, I unboxed some childhood books from the early 1950s. The first one I opened was to me on my tenth birthday, Sept 11, 1954, inscribed from my friend Johnny Fuller. He was a good guy, and I never knew he'd be a hero, but I do know he always wanted to be a United States Marine.

  2. Branch,

    I'm glad you found your way here, and thanks for sharing your own recollections.

    Please keep coming back!



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