Remembering Webster’s own who lost their lives in Vietnam

29 Mar

I was reminded by a friend recently that today, March 29, 2023, marks the 50th anniversary of the day the remaining US combat forces left South Vietnam. It’s a fitting opportunity to remember the five Webster boys who lost their lives during that war.

  • Leonard Coles, a Webster Thomas graduate, was killed in a fragging incident on May 16, 1969, when a disgruntled American soldier threw a grenade into the facility where he was working as a typist. He’s buried at Webster Rural Cemetery.
  • Rex Daniels, a 1968 Webster Thomas grad, lived on the far eastern end of Plank Rd. He was killed on April 16, 1971 in Thừa Thiên-Huế, Vietnam. He’s buried in White Haven Memorial Park in Pittsford. On Memorial Day, 2021, an American flag was flown in honor of Rex at the Webster Rural Cemetery ceremony. The flag came to Webster after being flown over Capitol Hill on April 16, 2021, exactly 50 years to the day Daniels lost his life.
  • Don Holleder was the first from Webster who was killed. He served as Operations Officer for the 28th Infantry Regiment, the Black Lions. On October 17, 1967, he was killed by a sniper as he ran to the rescue of several soldiers trapped during the Battle of Ong Thanh, an act for which he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He’s buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Peter Kaulback was a Marine. He lived on Fuller Ave., not far from what is now Spry Middle School, but when he graduated in 1962 was Webster High School. was then Webster High School, now Spry Middle School. He was killed on May 31, 1968, during heavy fighting in the Quang Tri Province. He’s buried at Webster Rural Cemetery.
  • David Semmler lived on Hatch Rd. near Holy Spirit Church. He served as an Army infantryman, and was patrolling the perimeter of a firing range on Feb. 5, 1971 when a booby-trap detonated and he was fatally injured. He was posthumously promoted to corporal. He’s buried at White Haven Memorial Park.

When Webster’s Wreaths Across America effort is able to expand into Webster Rural Cemetery, I look forward to the chance to place wreaths on the graves of the two young heroes who are buried there.

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(posted 3/29/2023)

2 Responses to “Remembering Webster’s own who lost their lives in Vietnam”

  1. Jill Harris March 29, 2023 at 7:39 am #

    Thank you for this very important article. May we always remember them and speak their names so that their sacrifices were not in vain.

  2. James Lockwood March 29, 2023 at 10:35 am #

    Thank you for remembering these brave men..

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