Searching For Lt. John Fuller

On Aug. 12, 1969, inside Vietnam’s Hobo Woods, my dad, a staff sergeant with the 25th Infantry Division, was wounded in the knee and the chest by grenade shrapnel thrown during a militarily unremarkable skirmish with the North Vietnamese Army. As Dad lay exposed on the small battlefield, a lieutenant named John Fuller, who had taken over the unit only a couple of days earlier, fought off several Vietnamese soldiers and helped pull my dad to cover, likely saving his life. The army soon shipped my dad off to Japan for treatment at a military hospital, and then it sent him home. He never saw or spoke to John Fuller again.

At various times, my family has unsuccessfully tried to track down Lt. Fuller, who may have become Major Fuller, or Col. Fuller, for all we know. We are sure that he’s not on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Hopefully, he’s out there somewhere. And maybe someone reading this in our interconnected culture might know somebody who knows somebody who knows something about him. If you do, please email me at bitown1@gmail.com. My dad’s children and grandchildren would like to thank him.

Memorial Day exists to remember and honor our war dead. For me, it’s also a time to reflect on what might not have been for my family and what isn’t for so many others. Thanks to John Fuller, my Dad is alive, my mother is my mother, my sister is my sister, and our kids are their grandkids. I think this is a day for considering the enormity of that.

10 thoughts on “Searching For Lt. John Fuller

  1. I served with a LTC and then Col John Fuller, both at Ft. Benning (1983 and 1987) where he commanded both a battalion and a brigade, and at Ft. Ord (1989 and 1990) where he was Chief of Staff of the 7th Infantry Division.

    I have lost track of him, but you might try Geoffrey G. Prosch who is also a retired Colonel, and close friend of Col Fuller.

  2. I served with a LTC and then Col John Fuller, both at Ft. Benning (1983 and 1987) where he commanded both a battalion and a brigade, and at Ft. Ord (1989 and 1990) where he was Chief of Staff of the 7th Infantry Division.

    I have lost track of him, but you might try Geoffrey G. Prosch who is also a retired Colonel, and close friend of Col Fuller.

  3. Colonel (US Army retired) John Fuller resides vicinity of Columbus, GA. He served as a banker after retirement from the Army at Fort Benning, GA.

  4. Just wanted to add a happy footnote to this story.

    I was one of Cpt Waldera’s two RTO’s the day of the firefight carrying the secure radio on the Battalion (used to coordinate Med Evac, gunship and air support) frequency, rather than the Company frequency which is used for communication betwwen platoons. While I don’t have a personal recollection of Billy’s father, I do remember the correct name of the Lieutenant was Jeffery Fuller, who retired as a Lt Colonel from the service, and was also awarded a Silver Star for his actions on that day.

    I was successfully able to connect the two parties togther two days before Thanksgiving in 2010, somehow making it happen at the time of year made it more poigant.

    We should also not forget the two casualities of that day John Zimmerman and William Ridge, their loss is a sad event I wiil always remember.

    A story of that August 24, 1969 days events appeared in the 25Th Inf Div newspaper “Fiery Dragons bring smoke on NVA” and can be
    viewed, if interested, at the followin link:

    http://www.25thida.org/TLN/tln4-36.htm

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