Series: Vietnam Veterans Killed in Action

Capt. Allen Ross Culpepper

Copied in full from Find a Grave

Captain Allen Ross Culpepper was a 1962 graduate of Minden High School, Minden, LA.  He was the son of Steve C. Culpepper and Marjorie Elizabeth Stephens Culpepper. He was born 21 Jul 1944 in Tuskegee, Macon County, Alabama, USA.  He died 18 May 1969 at the age of 24.  He was buried in Allegany Cemetery in Allegany, Cattaraugus County, New York, USA in Sec S7; Lot 11; Gr 6.

Allen graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Class of 1966. He was commissioned in the Field Artillery, served with the 1/28 Artillery in Germany from 1966-1968 before reassignment to Vietnam in Sep 1968. There he served with the 7/9 Artillery Group. His service was truly heroic. He received the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism, the second highest US award for valor in combat.

Awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Air Medal, and Commendation Medal. On 18 May 1969, at Long Khanh, South Viet Nam, Allen was killed in ground combat by enemy artillery. From Minden, LA, he was a member of the Methodist Church and was survived by his wife. Allen is the only Culpepper on the Viet Nam Memorial Wall (Panel 24W, Row 039). (Source: Viet Nam Memorial records and an e-mail from David Rich, Class of 1978, and Secretary of the West Point Society in Tallahassee).

Fire Support Base HUSKY was located just outside Xuan Loc in Long Khanh Province. On the night of 17/18 May 1969 FSB HUSKY was hit by a combined mortar, rocket, and sapper attack. Parts of the FSB were overrun, and a number of the heavy guns were destroyed or put out of action – for example, four of C Battery 2/9 Arty’s six 105mm howitzers were unusable, hindering the defense. Although the FSB held out against the attack, thirteen soldiers and one sailor were killed and a number of others wounded.

“I saw the report from the New York times newspaper in May of 69 and it stated a force of 2000 VC (should read NVA, North Vietnam Regulars) had attacked Xuan Loc to celebrate Ho chi Minh’s birthday and promised him to fly their flag in the center of the compound, That night I actually saw their soldiers within 25 yards of our flag pole. We were fighting some hand to hand”.

“I was in 2nd/35th Arty. which was called 54th Arty, group.  That’s why Allen was there because he was commander of the 7/9th arty, also assigned to 54th group. But it also was Husky 2/35 HQs, or base camp. Jan Scruggs the originator of the Virtual Wall in DC was wounded at Xuan Loc on 19 May 1969.”

Earlier in the evening, Captain Culpepper came through the camp and asked for volunteers for a patrol. “I was by his side when he died”.

(These are the words of JL King, Pennsylvania, Silver Star at Xuan Loc)

*Jack King is alive and well and is asked to speak from time to time regarding his war experiences.

Contributed by Robert Fowler…
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross ( Posthumously ) to Allen Ross Culpepper, Captain ( Field Artillery ), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Battery C, 7th Battalion, 9th Artillery, 54th Field Artillery Group. Captain Culpepper distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 18 May 1969 while serving as commander of a 105-millimeter howitzer battery. Soon after midnight a Viet Cong force launched a mortar and rocket attack, followed by a ground assault on the perimeter. Without hesitation, Captain Culpepper moved through the battery area to organize his troops. He quickly deployed a reaction force and directed the retaliatory fusillade of his men. When one of the Howitzer emplacements was struck by rocket-propelled grenade fire wounding the section members, Captain Culpepper immediately proceeded to the damaged gun section to assist in removing the casualties. As he left his vehicle and heroically ran through the hostile barrage toward a wounded soldier, he was fatally wounded by enemy fire. Captain Culpepper’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

He was a Captain, C BTRy, 7th BN, 9th ARTY RGT, 54TH ARTY GRP, 2W FIELD FORCE, Army of the United States.  He can be found on Panel 24 W Line 039 on the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

Allen was inducted into the Louisiana Military Hall of Fame in Abbeville, LA, the week of November 1, 2011. All inductees had received the Distinguished Service Cross which is 2nd only to the Medal of Honor.

In the firefight in which Allen and 12 others were killed, he was the only one to receive the Distinguished Service Cross.

John Rabb, a hometown friend, accompanied his body home.

Cindy Madden

Regent – Dorcheat-Bistineau Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution