Danny Lee Grimshaw

Vietnam War Casualty from the State of Washington


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Danny Grimshaw was killed in action on August 23, 1968 in Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, during combat associated with a Viet Cong offensive against the large military facility in adjoining Da Nang City. Danny’s home of record was Seattle, although he was actually from Kennewick, Washington. He was 21 years old (born February 15, 1947) when he lost his life in the line of duty. He had been in the service for three years and was only five days from the scheduled end of his tour of duty when he was killed. He was a Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (grade E-5) in the U.S. Navy, serving with the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, 1st Marines Division. Danny died while attempting to save the lives of two U.S. Marines. His name is on Panel 47W, Line 43 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. Danny is descended from the Zephaniah Grimshaw family line. The circumstances of his death are described in graphic detail on a companion webpage (viewer discretion is advised.)

Webpage Credits

Danny Grimshaw’s Vietnam Service and Casualty Record

Danny’s Principal Medals: Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Navy Commendation Medal

What Were the Conditions of Danny’s Service and Circumstances of His Death?

Where is Quang Nam Province in Vietnam?

Combat Action around Da Nang during August 22 and 23, 1968

Doc Larkin and Grimshaw’s Bunker

What is Known of Danny’s Life before His Vietnam Service?

Danny Was Descended From the Zephaniah Grimshaw Line

Photos of Danny, His Family, and His Ancestors – Grandparents, Great-Grandparents

Danny Is Buried in Kennewick, Washington

Danny Lee Grimshaw’s Inscription on Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

An Eyewitness Account of Danny’s Heroic Actions in Vietnam

References

Webpage Credits

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Thanks go to the authors of numerous websites that record the actions, and particularly the casualties, of the Vietnam war. Thanks go also to Nadine (Grimshaw) Driggs for providing information on Danny’s Grimshaw family of origin. Nadine’s family history is described on a companion webpage. Thanks also to Emily (Grimshaw) Hamilton for providing essential information on Danny’s service record as well as family and childhood photos. Emily has created a website with many photos of Danny’s family, which is located at the following address:

http://www.emandjohn.com/hamilton_central.htm

Danny Grimshaw’s Vietnam Service and Casualty Record

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Danny’s picture and a summary of his service record (Figures 1 and 2) are described on the Virtual Wall (Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall) website.

Figure 1. Danny Lee Grimshaw

Figure 2. Summary Service Record of Danny Grimshaw

 

Danny Lee Grimshaw

 

 

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class

 

 

PERSONAL DATA

 

 


Home of Record:
Seattle,  Washington

 

 


Date of Birth:  Saturday,

02/15/1947

 

 

MILITARY DATA

 

 


Service:

 

Navy (Regular)

 


Grade at Loss:

 

E5

 


Rank:

 

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class

 


ID No:

 

3909097

 


MOS:

 

HM Hospital Corpsman

 


Length of Service:

 

Between 3 and 4 years

 


Unit:

 

D CO, 1ST BN, 27TH MARINES, 1ST MARDIV

 

CASUALTY DATA

 

 


Start Tour:

 

Friday,  02/23/1968

 


Casualty Date:

 

Friday,  08/23/1968

 


Age at Loss:

 

21

 


Remains:

 

Body Recovered

 


Location:

 

Quang Nam, South Vietnam

 


Type:

 

Hostile, Died

 


Reason:

 

Gun, Small Arms Fire – Ground Casualty

 

 Source: http://www.virtualwall.org/dg/GrimshawDL01a.htm

 

 

Danny’s Principal Medals: Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Navy Commendation Medal

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Emily (Grimshaw) Hamilton provided an image (Figure 3) of a piece prepared for Danny, apparently by a family member, after his death in Vietnam.

Figure 3. Apparent memorial piece for Danny Grimshaw, including his Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Navy Commendation Medal

Danny’s parents, Alta and Wendell Stafrin Grimshaw, received Danny’s three medals posthumously (Figure 4 to 7)

Figure 4. Danny’s parents receiving his medals – apparently the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Navy Commendation Medal

Figure 5. Bronze Star Award Citation

Figure 6. Navy Commendation Medal Award Citation

Figure 7. Purple Heart Citation

What Were the Conditions of Danny’s Service and Circumstances of His Death?

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Emily (Grimshaw) Hamilton provided the following text that went with Danny’s Navy Commendation and Bronze Star Medals.

 

Navy Commendation Medal Citation

“For meritorious service while serving as a Senior Corpsman of Company D, First Battalion, Twenty-Seventh Marines, First Marine Division in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam from 11 June to 23 August 1968. During this period, Petty Officer GRIMSHAW performed his demanding duties in an exemplary manner. Displaying exceptional initiative and professional skill, he worked tirelessly to ensure that all members of his unit received prompt and thorough medical aid. Participating in Operation Allen Brook, he fearlessly exposed himself to intense enemy fire on several occasions in order to assist wounded Marines lying in open areas. On one occasion he maneuvered through a heavily mined area and administered first aid to a companion who was seriously wounded by an enemy explosive device. Due largely to his timely and heroic actions the wounded Marine was safely evacuated for further treatment. While accompanying a combat patrol in Quang Nam Province on 23 August 1968, Petty Officer GRIMSHAW was mortally wounded by enemy fire. By his initiative, superior professionalism and selfless devotion to duty throughout, Petty Officer GRIMSHAW earned the respect and admiration of all who served with him and upheld the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service.”

The Combat “V” is authorized.

Bronze Star Medal Citation

“For heroic achievement in connection with operations against insurgent communist (Viet Cong) forces in the Republic of Vietnam while serving as Senior Corpsman of Company D, First Battalion, Twenty-Seventh Marines, First Marine Division. On 23 August 1968, Petty Officer GRIMSHAW was accompanying a platoon from Company D during a combat patrol in Quang Nam Province when the unit suddenly came under intense enemy automatic weapons fire which critically wounded one Marine. Observing a companion attempting to remove the wounded man from a position dangerously exposed to the hostile fire, Petty Officer GRIMSHAW fearlessly rushed forward to render assistance. Realizing that the man would probably die without immediate medical attention, he disregarded the intense enemy fire impacting near him as he entered the hazardous area and began treating the casualty. Refusing to allow others to endanger themselves in further attempts to move the injured man, Petty Officer GRIMSHAW remained in the fire-swept area administering the life-sustaining first aid until he was mortally wounded by the hostile fire. Petty Officer GRIMSHAW’s courage, resolute determination and selfless devotion to duty inspired all who observed him and were in keeping wit the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.”

The Combat “V” is authorized.

 

Gary Jarvis’ book1, “Young Blood: a History of the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, (Vietnam) 1968” provides graphic details of the circumstances around Danny’s death. Readers are advised to use discretion in visiting the companion webpage due to the explicit descriptions of Danny’s death that are provided. Combat in any war is horrific.

Where is Quang Nam Province in Vietnam?

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Quang Nam is a province in central Vietnam. It is bounded on the east by the Pacific ocean and on the west by Laos (Figure 8). It is about 860 km south of Ha Noi and 865 km north of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).  Da Nang City adjoins the province on the north. Two maps showing the principal features of Quang Nam are shown in Figure 9.

Figure 8. Map of central provinces of Vietnam showing the location of Quang Nam adjacent to Da Nang City.

Source: http://www.vnn.vn/province/middle.htm

 

Figure 9. Two maps showing principal geographic features of Quang Nam.

Source: http://www.undp.org.vn/dmu/reference/en/map-quangnam.htm

 

 

Source: http://www.vnn.vn/province/quangnam/http://test2.grimshaworigin.org/l

 

 

Combat Action around Da Nang during August 22 and 23, 1968

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The intense fighting that was occurring in Quang Nam when Danny Grimshaw was killed in action on August 23 is well described in Chapter 19 of “U.S. Marines in Vietnam, the Defining Year, 1968”2. The relevant front matter and chapter of the book are provided in a companion webpage. The battle that took place in and around Da Nang (a neighboring province) on August 23 is described in detail on p. 376 to 380 of Chapter 19. Considerable detail is given on the action around Cam Le Bridge over the Song Cau Do river around August 22 and 23, during which Danny killed in action. An excerpt of the relevant sections of Chapter 19 is provided below (the typographical errors appear in the original source). The Author’s note in bold indicates the point in the description at which Danny Grimshaw was killed.

 

The streams which drain the rugged mountains of central Quang Nam Province follow the slope of the land toward the South China Sea, growing in size and strength as they meet other streams. By the time they reach the flat coastal plain, the streams have become rivers which twist through the populated farmlands, branching and rejoining again in a crazy patchwork. In every area through which a river passes, the local Vietnamese give it a name, so that by the time it reaches the South China Sea, it has acquired many cities along the way. The river which flows along the southern boundary of Da Nang, separating the cicy from the fertile paddy region of the coastal plain, is called Song Cau Do, at least along that particular stretch. About two kilometers south of the river, Highway l forks, sending each of its branches across the Song Cau Do toward Da Nang on its own bridge. The easternmost of these, called the Cam Le Bridge, after the hamlet on its northern side, led directly to the Da Nang Airbase, less than two kilometers away. Two kilometers upstream from the Cam Le Bridge, to the west, lay a combination highway bridge-railroad trestle known as the Song Cau Do Bridge.

Marines guarded these bridges, both to prevent VC saboteurs from destroying them and to prevent enemy infiltrators ftom crossing them with weapons and explosives for use in the city. The numerous support units stationed in Da Nang each assumed responsibility for a sector within the city and its suburbs. The 1st Tank Battalion’s area included the Song Cau Do Bridge; the 1st Military Police Battalion’s area included the Cam Le Bridge. For the most part, bridge security consisted of checking the identification papers and packages of civilians crossing the bridge and keeping a lookout beneath the bridge to foil sapper attacks. At random intervals, bridge sentries dropped small explosive charges into the water nearby to discourage enemy swimmers from approaching the pilings.

At the Song Cau Do and Cam Le Bridges, the duty was routine, the only excitement being the occasional detention of a Vietnamese whose identity papers were not in order. South of the river, infantry units of the 1st Marine Division formed an additional screen protecting the city from major attacks, so it seemed unlikely that the enemy, in force, would ever get as far as the bridges.

Company D, 1st Military Police Battalion was responsible for security at the Cam Le Bridge. The company command post was in a bunker at the north end of the bridge, alongside of which stood an observation tower. An old French bunker and another observation tower stood at the approach to the south end. Normally, one of Company D s platoons occupied the bunkers, towers, and several listening posts and ambush sites on both sides of the river, while the other two platoons remained in the company’s rear area at the edge of the Da Nang Airbase, two kilometers to the north.

On the afternoon of 22 August, the company commander departed Da Nang for an “R&R” in Hawaii, leaving his executive officer, First Lieutenant Michael J. Kelly, in command.* Lieutenant Kelly was scheduled to begin his own R&R in Hawaii on 28 August, but for the next six days, he would bear responsibility for the protection of the Cam Le Bridge.16 Unknown to him, during the early morning hours of 22 August, 80 Viet Cong of the Q. 91 Company, 2d District, Quang Da Special Zone, in disguise and using forged identification papers, had individually crossed the Cam Le Bridge, then took a city bus to a safe house on Quang Tung Street to retrieve previously cached weapons and equipment and to await the hour for their attack.17

[* Abbreviation commonly used for “Rest and Recreation.” Each Marine was authorized one “R&R” during his 13-month tour of duty in Vietnam. Many sites were available throughout the Pacific area, including Hong Kong, Australia, Thailand, Japan, and Malaysia.]

At 2130, responding to reports of movement along the Song Cau Do, Lieutenant Kelly ordered the 2d Platoon to move from its barracks to reinforce the 3d Platoon at the bridge. Within an hour, the Marines had reached the bridge and took up positions on the peninsula that curves out from the north bank to touch the span itself. At midnight, the Marines of the 1st Tank Battalion who were guarding the Song Cau Do Bridge, two kilometers to the west, spotted six people in the water and took them under fire, but because of the extreme darkness, could not determine whether the fire was effective.18

The Marines at the Cam Le Bridge did not have to wait long for their share of the action. At 0100, 23 August, Sergeant Larry K. Bucklew, the platoon sergeant of the 2d Platoon, spotted six sampans crossing the river near his position on the peninsula. The 2d Platoon opened fire, driving some of the sampans back across the river, while others pressed on, landing on the north bank.'”

Before the Marines on the Cam Le Bridge could react to the firefight on the river to their west, exploding RPG rounds and mortar shells engulfed the security position on the south bank. The 1st Squad, 3d Platoon, under Lance Corporal Stephen D. Hott, was taken by surprise as Communist troops swarmed over its position. Lance Corporal Arthur Costello, manning a .50-caliber machine gun mounted in an old French bunker, tried to get his gun into action, but an enemy soldier outside the bunker held the barrel fast, and Costello could not bring it to bear.20

Lance Corporal Hott, in the nearby observation tower with Private First Class Pedro L. G. Francisco, ordered Costello to disable the machine gun and withdraw. Hott then grabbed an M60 machine gun and ammunition and ran for the bridge. Costello, finding the enemy already inside his bunker, fought his way out, then paused to throw in a fragmentation grenade in hopes of “spiking” the machine gun.21 Making his way onto the bridge, Costello joined Lance Corporals John W. Thomas and Hylan L. Crowder running with Hott towards the company command post on the north bank. Francisco was still on the south side, his fate unknown. The rest of the squad, dispersed in listening posts and ambush sites near the bridge’s southern approaches, remained in their positions, unseen by the enemy.

[Website Author’s note: This .50-caliber machine gun was subsequently used by the enemy against the Marines and, as noted below, was the source of the bullet that killed Danny Grimshaw.]

Moments after the Communists struck, Lieutenant Kelly organized a counterattack from the north bank of the river. Corporal Wayne D. Brown led his squad across the bridge toward the fight, meeting Hott’s squad halfway. Hott had been wounded in the head, so Brown ordered him back to the command post at the north end for treatment and, in the confusion, Hott took the machine gun with him. Unwilling to risk an attack without the machine gun. Brown organized his men for a defense of the middle of the bridge, using a sandbagged position already in place, then sent Lance Corporal John A. Eller back for the gun.

Eller returned with the gun, but with no ammunition. Brown himself went back to the north side, which was now under heavy mortar and rocket fire, and retrieved the ammunition. Finally ready to counterattack, the Marines charged across the bridge, hugging the sides for protection as Eller, leading the way, sprayed the enemy with machine gun fire. Reaching the observation tower, Eller was felled by a long burst from an enemy automatic weapon. While down, a ricochet struck him in the chest, wounding him a second time. He tossed a grenade into an enemy fighting hole, then died.*

[* For his courageous action, Lance Corporal Eller was posthumously decorated with the Silver Star.]

Within one minute of Eller being hit, Brown himself and two of his men were wounded. With the machine gun lost and enemy fire mounting. Brown ordered a withdrawal to the bridge. As the Marines assumed new fighting positions near the water’s edge, the enemy hit them with either tear gas or CS gas**. Only one Marine in the squad had a protective mask, and the effects of the gas soon made the position untenable. The Marines withdrew further, to the sandbagged position in the middle of the bridge from which they had counterattacked. The gas, although still present, was not as strong there and the men were able to keep fighting. Brown reported the situation to Lieutenant Kelly. The lieutenant’s response was, “Hang tight.”

[**”CS” is the designation of a chemical riot control agent used in Vietnam. Its effects are similar to those caused by tear gas: burning of the eyes, throat, and mucous membranes. Although powerful, the effects are temporary, usually disappearing within minutes of the gas dissipating.]

At that moment, there was little Lieutenant Kelly could do to help Corporal Brown. Enemy troops on the north bank were pressing hard against the company command post, advancing under heavy mortar, RPG, and small arms fire. The north bank observation tower, pounded by Communist shells, collapsed at 0200, burying three Marines sheltering beneath it, and immediately afterwards, the enemy used gas against the Marines on the north bank. As with Corporal Brown’s squad, the Marines had no protective masks. Some withdrew to the middle of the bridge where the gas was not as strong, while others dipped their heads in the water to clear their eyes and throats, and desperately tried to hang onto their positions.23

While Company D, 1st Military Police Battalion fought to hold the Cam Le Bridge, the third offensive erupted all over the Da Nang area. The security force at the nearby Song Cau Do Bridge, although not under ground attack, was shelled by enemy mortars. Downstream from them, toward the Cam Le Bridge, Communists continued to cross the river in sampans and the Marines on the Song Cau Do Bridge kept up steady machine gun fire into the enemy boats. Between 0245 and 0315, 19 units in the Da Nang area recorded over 300 rounds of mortar and 122mm rocket fire detonating on or near their positions. Enemy infantry attacked the 1st Tank Battalion, three company positions held by the 27th Marines, the headquarters of the 11th Marines, and three Combined Action platoons in the 7th Marines TAOR. Many other units received mortar fire. Viet Cong sappers struck the Special Forces compound two kilometers south of Marble Mountain Air Facility. Advancing under a mortar barrage, the sappers penetrated the perimeter and swept through the position with satchel charges, killing 16 Special Forces and Civilian Irregular Defense Group personnel and wounding 125 more. When finally driven off, the enemy left behind 32 dead. Later, a prisoner revealed that this enemy force was a company of the R-20 Battalion, reinforced by a platoon of the Q, 92 Sapper Company. Their mission was to seize the Marble Mountain Air Facility and hold it for one day, destroying as many aircraft and facilities as possible.24

The 2d and 3d Platoons of Company D, 1st Military Police Battalion were still under heavy attack at the Cam Le Bridge when the 1st Platoon left the airbase shortly after 0300 to relieve them. Moving in trucks down Highway l, the rescuers came to a sudden stop after moving only a few hundred meters from the airbase because a battle was raging around the Hoa Vang District headquarters, which lay along the highway, midway between Da Nang and the north end of the bridge. A company of the 402dSappw Battalion had assaulted the district headquarters and blocked movement along Highway l. In their initial attack, the sappers penetrated the headquarters defenses and were repulsed only after hand-to-hand fighting inside the compound with U.S. advisors, South Vietnamese National Police, and even local government officials taking part.’-‘ The attack waned at about ()4()(), allowing the relief force to move into the headquarters where they left eight Marines as reinforcements before continuing toward the bridge. No sooner had the platoon starred toward the bridge than the enemy sappers resumed their attack.26

The 1st Platoon reached the river at 04.30, just in time to meet another enemy onslaught directed against the bridge. From the airbase, a larger, combined relief force under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph J. N. Gambardella, Commanding Officer, 3d Military Police Battalion, moved south coward the bridge.’ This force, designated Task Force Kilo, consisted of two platoons from the 3d Military Police Battalion; Company K, 3d Battalion, 7ch Marines; Company A, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion; and Ontos antitank vehicles, reinforced by a company of ARVN Rangers mounted in armored personnel carriers. Behind them, crash crews from the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing followed with firefighting equipment, attempting to extinguish the fires caused by the attack on the Hoa Vang District headquarters.2′

At 0500, Lance Corporal Henry Lowery, leading a nine-man ambush patrol southwest of the bridge, radioed Lieutenant Kelly that he intended to attack and recapture the south end. Lowery s squad advanced to within 25 meters of the south tower, receiving only sniper fire. Two Bell UH-1 Iroquois “Huey” helicopter gunships appeared overhead and Lowery attempted to signal them to provide supporting fire on the tower. The helicopters mistakenly attacked the Marines instead oi the entrenched Communists. With one man killed and two wounded, Lowery withdrew his squad to the relative safety of a nearby rice paddy to await help.*

[* Colonel Gambardella, the MP battalion commander, recalled (hat this was the second call for assistance on the night of 22-25 August. Just before midnight, he responded to a request for assistance from the commander of the ARVN Special Forces headquarters in the center of Da Nang city which was under attack. He deployed two platoons from his battalion who cordoned off the headquarters. Four of the attackers were killed and two were captured. Col Joseph J. N. Gambardella, Comments on draft, dtd 16Jan95 (Vietnam Comment File).]

When dawn broke over Da Nang just after 0600, aircraft began attacking the Viet Cong in the bunkers at the south end of the Cam Le Bridge. The two “Hueys” were joined by a Douglas AC-^7 Srxx)ky gunship, a Douglas A-l Sky raider, and McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom jets which unsuccessfully pounded the enemy bunkers with napalm, high explosive bombs, and cannon fire.29

Counterattack

The infantry unit nearest the south end of the bridge was the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, with its command post at Duong Son, four kilometers to the southwest. At 0645, the battalion commander, Major Kenneth J. Skipper, ordered Company A, located at the battalion command post, to launch an immediate counterattack to recapture the Cam Le Bridge. Two of the company’s three platoons were already detached, with one deployed to Christmas Island, 1,000 meters northeast of the bridge, and the other supporting a Combined Action platoon in the hamlet of Lo Giang (l), 1,000 meters southeast of the bridge. Further, one squad from the remaining platoon was on a patrol, leaving a total of two rifle squads available to the company. The company commander, Captain William O. Moore, reinforced these two squads with other members of the company who were present in the command post. Marines trained to operate mortars, rocket launchers, and even typewriters suddenly became riflemen again. Said Captain Moore, “we took our clerks, we took our sick, lame, and lazy, we took everybody we had and moved out.”30 Within five minutes of receiving the order, the small force was on the march.

Having departed without full knowledge of the enemy situation, Captain Moore tried to gather information along the way. Passing through an ARVN compound, he spoke with the U.S. Army advisors who pointed out suspected Communist positions lining both sides of Highway l. The company continued north along the highway, stopping outside of Cam Nam, only two kilometers from the Communist positions on the south end of the bridge. While there, Captain Moore received orders from Major Skipper to detach yet another squad from his seriously depleted force to assist the platoon in Lo Giang (l), which had reported being surrounded and under attack. He sent 16 Marines to reinforce the supposedly beleaguered garrison and requested permission to proceed toward the bridge. Major Skipper, however, told him to remain in position and wait for a platoon of tanks which would support the attack.

The Marines sent to Lo Giang (l) soon radioed back that they had arrived to find the hamlet quiet, with the Combined Action Marines reporting they had not had contact with the enemy for three hours. Captain Moore, assuming that someone had “cried ‘wolf,'” asked for the return of the 16 Marines, but Major Skipper denied his request.

At 1145, the tanks arrived: four 90mm gun tanks and a name tank from Company B, 5th Tank Battalion. The Marines of Company A had never operated with tanks before. Indeed, many of those with Captain Moore had never participated as riflemen in any operation before. Nevertheless, the “company,” reduced in strength once again to two ad-hoc squads, pressed forward toward the hamlet of Cam Nam on their way to the Cam Le Bridge. The road was raised above the surrounding paddies with a sharp drop down on both shoulders, so the tanks were forced to advance in column, with one infantry squad on either side. At the same time, Company D, 1st Battalion, 27th Marines prepared to attack Cam Nam from the west.

When Captain Moore and his men were less than 400 meters from Cam Nam, the enemy opened fire with RPGs, mortars, and small arms. The initial burst killed two Marines and wounded four others, but the rest continued the attack, firing and maneuvering toward the enemy, inching forward with only low paddy dikes for cover. Two hundred meters from the hamlet, an RPG hit the lead tank, causing minor damage. Captain Moore spotted the RPG and pointed it out to the tankers, who returned fire with 40 rounds of high explosive, 4 rounds of “Beehive,” and 3 rounds of white phosphorous.31 With this. Communist troops began to run from one dwelling to another within the hamlet, the tanks cutting them down with machine gun fire and blasting with 90mm rounds any structure they entered. A machine gun fired at the Marines from within a straw hut, and the flame tank drenched the hut liberally with burning fuel. Soon, the entire hamlet was ablaze, with virtually every structure leveled. “This,” related Captain Moore, “about ended our problem.”32

The Communists had blocked the highway with vehicles, which also provided cover for the enemy. Five more rounds of 90mm fire blasted away this makeshift obstacle and the tiny force again surged forward toward the Cam Le Bridge. As they passed through the burning hamlet, the company received word that a platoon from Company E, 2d Battalion, 27th Marines would soon join them. Captain Moore ordered his platoon on Christmas Island, which had already made one unsuccessful bid to recapture the bridge, to join the counterattack from the east.

The .50-caliber machine gun abandoned in the bunker the previous night had not been destroyed by Lance Corporal Costello’s hand grenade and the Viet Cong now had it in action against the Marines. Even after a fearful pounding by aircraft, there was no sign that the Communists in the old French bunker were ready to quit. The tanks led the attack toward the south end of- the bridge, pumping round after round of 90mm cannon fire into the bunker and the nearby observation tower. The accurate, concentrated fire proved to be too much for the Communists, who rushed from their positions, attempting to escape. Several of them jumped into a vehicle and tried to drive away, but a tank fired into the vehicle, sending it up in flames. Other enemy soldiers leaped into the river and tried to swim to safety, but the Marines rushed to the riverbank and shot them in the water.

[Website Author’s note: This .50-caliber machine gun was the source of the bullet that killed Danny Grimshaw; see excerpt from Gary Jarvis’ book, “Young Blood: A History of the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, (Vietnam) 1968” on a companion webpage. As noted above, viewer discretion is advised in visiting this webpage.]

At 15-45, nine hours after receiving the order to counterattack. Captain M(X)re reported to his battalion headquarters that the objective was secured, then set about reorganizing the position. Several local Popular Force troops were found under the bridge where they had been hiding since the previous night. Beneath the tower, the Marines found the body of the gallant John Eller, and in the vicinity of the bridge, 22 enemy dead. Company A had suffered three dead and eight wounded. Captain Moore linked up with Lieutenant Kelly’s military policemen on the north bank and his own platoon from Christmas Island, then sent a squad down the riverbank to the west to ferret out any Viet Cong who might be hiding there.

Marine C pi Henry A. Casselli. holding his M16 rifle, is seen returning to the northern end of the Cam Le Bridge over the Can Do River after helping In secure the bridge. Other Marines cross in the background. An ad hoc force from the 1st iind 2d Battalions. 27th Marines and including tankers and MPs had taken part in the fighting.

To the north. Lieutenant Colonel Gambardella’s Task Force Kilo fought through the remnants of the enemy sapper company which had laid siege to the Hoa Vang District headquarters, reaching the north bank of the river at approximately 1900. Lieutenant Colonel Gambardella recalled that in the attack south to the Cam Le Bridge, Task Force Kilo came under heavy fire and took several casualties. In the two fights, the Marines sustained 4 killed and 12 wounded and the RVN forces with them 3 dead and 21 wounded. Among the casualties was Navy Hospitalman Allan R. Gerrish, who placed himself between a wounded Marine and enemy machine gun fire and posthumously was awarded the Navy Cross for this action. Enemy casualties in the battles for the district headquarters and the Cam Le Bridge totaled 184. ARVN Rangers took control of the area, allowing Captain Moore and his company to move to Christmas Island. Although weary from the day’s hard fighting. Company A maintained 100 percent alert in their new positions.”

Through the night of 23-24 August, there were several incidents, relatively minor as compared to the events of the previous night, indicating that the “third offensive,” though seriously compromised locally, was not yet over. At 2200, a short firefight erupted at the Song Cau Do Bridge when two sampans filled with enemy troops attempted to cross the river from south to north under the cover of small arms fire and a brief mortar barrage. Return fire directed at the Communist positions resulted in 11 secondary explosions.14 Between 0200 and 0400, over 100 rounds of mortar fire fell on the command post of the 5th Marines, positions held by Company M, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, and Battery H, 3d Battalion, 11th Marines.”

With the situation in Da Nang restored, it remained for III MAF to pursue and destroy the escaping Communist units while at the same time remaining vigilant for another wave of attacks on the city. The heaviest fighting of the “third offensive” was yet to come.

(the chapter continues…)

 

Doc Larkin and Grimshaw’s Bunker

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Danny Grimshaw apparently shared a bunker in Quang Nam with Doc Larkin, who has posted pictures of the bunker on a website. The outside and inside of the bunker are shown in Figures 10 and 11.

Figure 10. “Doc Larkin and Grimshaw’s Bunker”

Figure 11. “Doc Larkin inside Bunker”

Source: http://aztec.queenb2b.com/~delta/photos_submitted_by_doc_larkin__.htm 

What is Known of Danny’s Life before His Vietnam Service?

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Danny’s parents were Wendall Stafrin  and Alta (Carpenter) Grimshaw. He was one of six children, apparently born in the following order: Barbara, Jerry (a girl), Danny, Terry, Rita, and Ruth (twins). The following note from one of Danny’s relatives (first name Becky) to his Aunt Nadine provides additional details on Danny.

…Danny was the third born.  He attended Kennewick High School in the mid sixties and sang for the choir there. He had an incredible singing voice.  He used to sing all the time. I visited the traveling Viet Nam Memorial Wall when I visited Whidbey Island and made a rubbing of Danny’s name. It was a really moving experience for me.  I had no idea where to find his name among the thousands of names on the wall and they have a book you can look it up in. It is a big book, like a big city phone book. I picked up the book and opened it immediately to Danny’s name. One of those ‘unexplainable’ moments in life. I will see if I can locate the old pictures we have and when I do, I’ll scan them and send them to you.  Let me know if I can be of any other help.  Love, Becky

Danny Was Descended From the Zephaniah Grimshaw Line

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Danny was apparently descended from one of the lines of Zephaniah Grimshaw, who is described on a companion webpage. A partial descendant chart of Zephaniah, showing Danny’s descendancy, is shown in Figure 12.

Figure 12. Partial descendant chart of Zephaniah Grimshaw, showing Danny Grimshaws descendancy.

Zephaniah Grimshaw* (About 1790 – 1872) & Asenath Noakes (About 1792 – 1863)

|—–John Nelson Grimshaw (19 Jan 1821 – ) & Emeline Wilson

|—–Harriet Grimshaw (About 1824 – ) & Robert Gay (About 1825 – )

|—–Charles Wesley Grimshaw (18 Apr 1825 – 25 Jan 1898) & Lucinda M. Covey (1 Jun 1822 – 30 May 1905)

|—–|—–Cerene Grimshaw (16 Sep 1847 – 1932) & Danforth Frier (1849 – 1927)

|—–|—–|—–Elizabeth Rubertha Frier (9 Apr 1871 – )

|—–|—–|—–Mamie Frier (1873 – 1874)

|—–|—–|—–Ella G. Frier (About 1874 – 1875)

|—–|—–|—–Herbert Frier (1877 – 1962) & Lottie M. Marrison (1888 – 1977)

|—–|—–Susanna Grimshaw (23 Dec 1848 – ) & Joseph Denney O’Dell

|—–|—–William Charles Grimshaw (6 Sep 1850 – ) & Mary O’Dell (About 1855 – )

|—–|—–|—–Charley Grimshaw (About 1878 – )

|—–|—–|—–Joseph Grimshaw (About Nov 1880 – )

|—–|—–Lucretia Grimshaw (About 1852 – 28 Jul 1857)

|—–|—–Henry Grimshaw (About 1854 – 12 Nov 1857)

|—–|—–Charles Grimshaw (About 1856 – 3 Jan 1858)

|—–|—–Webster John Grimshaw (14 Oct 1858 – ) & Leah Ann Thompson

|—–|—–|—–Arthur Easton Grimshaw* (17 Mar 1884 – ) & Anna Hope Moody

|—–|—–|—–Arthur Easton Grimshaw* (17 Mar 1884 – ) & Ethel Car

|—–|—–|—–Mabel Olive Grimshaw* (8 Oct 1886 – ) & Omer Phillips Summers

|—–|—–|—–Mabel Olive Grimshaw* (8 Oct 1886 – ) & Al Spraggins

|—–|—–|—–Fern Myrtle Grimshaw (24 Jul 1889 – ) & Arthur Cunningham

|—–|—–|—–Cora Alvina (16 Dec 1891 – ) & Alva McPherson

|—–|—–|—–Jess Wendell Grimshaw (22 Mar 1894 – ) & Sadie May Ivanilla Thomas

|—–|—–|—–|—–Wendall Stafrin Grimshaw & Alta Carpenter

|—–|—–|—–|—–|—–Barbara Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–|—–|—–Jerry Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–|—–|—–Danny Grimshaw (15 Feb 1947 – 23 Aug 1968)

|—–|—–|—–|—–|—–Terry Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–|—–|—–Rita Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–|—–|—–Ruth Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–|—–D Juanita Grimshaw* (7 Aug 1923, Goble, OR – 23 May 2004, Clinton WA?) & Glenn Ruffcorn

|—–|—–|—–|—–D Juanita Grimshaw* (7 Aug 1923, Goble, OR – 23 May 2004, Clinton WA?) & LeRoy Spilman. Married 1970

|—–|—–|—–|—–Winona Grimshaw & unknown Trutter

|—–|—–|—–|—–Robert Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–|—–Don Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–|—–Jessie Grimshaw & unknown Blair

|—–|—–|—–Raymond Glenwood Grimshaw (9 Sep 1986 – ) & Golda Bell Thomas

|—–|—–|—–|—–Leah Nadine Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–|—–Wallace Leroy Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–|—–Troy Raymond Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–|—–Vertis Junior

|—–|—–|—–|—–Enid Artina Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–|—–John Hugh Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–|—–Laurel Glenwood Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–|—–Mona Wava Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–|—–Vern Ellis Grimshaw

|—–|—–|—–Ralph Leroy Grimshaw )14 Sep 1898 – )

|—–|—–CharlesChester Grimshaw (3 Feb 1861 – )

|—–|—–Alberta Velona Grimshaw (15 Sep 1863 – )

|—–|—–Martha Jane Grimshaw (26 Sep 1865 – )

|—–|—–Euphemia Elicia Grimshaw (26 Feb 1868 – ) & Gilbert Middlemiss

|—–|—–|—–four boys

|—–Timothy Edson Oldin Grimshaw (28 Feb 1827 – ) & Agnes (Craik?) (About 1828 – )

|—–Barzillai Grimshaw (2 Apr 1829 – ) & Louisa Nokes (About Oct 1835 – 25 Jul 1877)

|—–Elizabeth Grimshaw (5 Dec 1832 – ) & Nicholas Middlemiss (8 Jul 1825 – )

|—–Esther Mary Grimshaw* (About 1834 – 24 Jul 1908) & Emanuel W. Wilson

|—–Esther Mary Grimshaw* (About 1834 – 24 Jul 1908) & Samuel Rivers

|—–Zephaniah Grimshaw* (5 Aug 1836 – 22 Jan 1901) & Amelia (Emilie) Gay (About 1831 – )

|—–Zephaniah Grimshaw* (5 Aug 1836 – 22 Jan 1901) & Mary (Grimshaw) (26 Jul 1843 – )

|—–Anna Grimshaw (About 1838 – )

|—–Lucinda Grimshaw (About 1839 – )

|—–Elizabeth Grimshaw (About 1844 – )

Photos of Danny, His Family, and His Ancestors – Grandparents and Great-Grandparents

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As shown in Figure 12 above, Danny’s parents were Wendell Stafrin and Alta (Carpenter) Grimshaw. His grandparents were Jesse Wendell and Sadie May Ivanilla (Thomas) Grimshaw. (Thanks go to Nadine Grimshaw Driggs for contributing this information). According to Nadine and www.familysearch.org, Jesse was the son of Webster John and Leah Ann (Thompson) Grimshaw and the grandson of Charles Wesley and Lucinda M. (Covey) Grimshaw. Charles Wesley was the son of Zephaniah and Asenath (Noakes) Grimshaw. Thus Danny was a fifth generation descendant of Zephaniah Grimshaw. Pictures of Danny and his family, grandparents, and great-grandfather are shown in Figure 13.

Figure 13. Photos of Danny and his family, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-greatgrandfather. Thanks go to Nadine Grimshaw Driggs and Emily (Grimshaw) Hamilton for providing these photos.

a. Danny celebrating his seventh birthday.

b. Danny (right) with three of his siblings, Jerry, Terry, and Barbara (Bobby), from left to right.

c. Danny as a baby and as a boy


d. Danny’s parents, Wendell Stafrin and Alta (Carpenter) Grimshaw.

e. Wendell and Alta Grimshaw (seated), holding twin girls Ruth and Rita (probably left and right). Standing (left to right) are Barbara, Terry, and Jerry. Date of photo unknown.

f. Grandparents Jesse Wendell and Sadie May Ivanilla (Thomas) Grimshaw. Date of photo unknown.

g. Great-grandparents Webster John Grimshaw and his wife, Leah Ann Thompson. Date of photos unknown.

h. Great-great grandfather Charles Wesley Grimshaw. Date of photo unknown.

Danny Is Buried in Kennewick, Washington

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Danny is buried at Desert Lawn Memorial Cemetery in Kennewick, Washington. He is next to his father, Stafrin, and mother, Alta.; a picture of his grave marker is shown in Figure 14.

Figure 13. Danny Grimshaw’s grave marker, along with the markers for his parents graves, in Desert Lawn Memorial Cemetery in Kennewick, Washington. Thanks go to Nadine Driggs and her daughter, Cheryl Elkins, for making arrangements for this photo. And to Nadine’s granddaughter, Cari Lafrenz, for locating the cemetery and the gravesite as well as taking the photo and sending it to Cheryl for this webpage.

Danny Lee Grimshaw’s Inscription on Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

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Danny’s name is inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. on Panel W47, Line 43. Figure 14 shows several views of the memorial as well as an image of Danny’s inscription.

Figure 14. Views of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Photos taken by website author in September 2006.

a. Northeastward view of the wall, with west wall on the left and east wall on the right. The location of Danny’s inscription on Panel W 47 on the west wall is approximately behind the light pole between the two trees on the left side of the photo.

b. View of Panel W47, with Memorial Volunteer (who made a rubbing of Danny’s inscription) on the right and the website author on the left. The inscription is just below the volunteer’s right hand, on Line 43.

c. Close view of Danny Lee Grimshaw’s inscription on Line 43 of Panel W47.

d. Rubbing of Danny’s Inscription, made by the Memorial Volunteer in the photo above.

e. National Park Service Brochure for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

An Eyewitness Account of Danny’s Heroic Actions in Vietnam

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John Haugabrook was on-scene in Vietnam the day that Danny was killed. John provided the following description of the action, and Danny’s performance, in an e-mail (edited slightly) received on August 9, 2006.

 

Subject : JUST A FEW LINES TO THANK YOU FOR THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE DANNY MADE TO SAVE MARINES LIVES

After all these years of searching to find someone related to Danny Grimshaw, I finally located you on the internet. Words cannot express my profound gratitude and sense of closure by locating you. I was a Marine PFC assigned to Delta Company, 27th Marines from my arrival in Vietnam, April 28, 1968 until September 1968 when 27th Marines was ordered back to the United States. I received orders to 3d Marines Division in Quang Tri, Vietnam as I had not completed a full 13 months tour of duty in Vietnam.

I vividly remember the day Danny was killed in action. The Company were ordered to take back a bridge that apparently had been taken by the Viet Cong. As we were crossing a rice paddy to enter the village en route to the bridge, we started receiving small arm fire from the village. We launched a counter attack consisting of 60 mm mortars coupled with machine gun fire and a barrage of small arm fire as we advanced toward the village in the direction we thought the enemy were firing at us from. The barrage of small arm fire from the enemy increased and Marines begun falling all over the place. All you could here were “Corpsman up”. I observed Danny responding to these calls to provide first aid to our fallen comrades. He never hesitated or showed any concerns for his personal safety. Danny was hit and killed immediately; he never suffered. Danny had only days left before his tour of duty was to end – he was looking forward to going home.

Throughout my career in the Marines and until this day, I have an enormous respect for Navy Corpsmen; as they symbolize the courage, bravery and selflessness demonstrated by Danny in his effort to save the lives of Marines on that day I shall never forget.

Your family can take pride in knowing that Danny died a hero, saving Marines lives! It has been over 38 years trying to locate you and thank your family for giving Danny to us. May his soul rest in heaven in peace.

Thank you,

John Haugabrook

 

Thanks to you, too, John, for remembering Danny in this way….

References

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1Jarvis, Gary, 1999, Young Blood: A History of the 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, (Vietnam) 1968: Jacksonville, FL, G.E. Jarvis Publishing Co., 259 p.

2Shulimson, Jack, Leonard A. Blasiol, Charles A. Smith, and David A. Dawson, 1997, U.S. Marines in Vietnam, the Defining Year, 1968: U.S. Government Printing Office, unk p.

Home Page

Webpage posted July 2004. Updated October and November 2004 with information from Nadine Driggs on Danny’s family and line of descent. Companion webpage with excerpt from “U.S. Marines in Vietnam” created. Updated December 2004 with addition of family photos and gravestone picture. Updated July 2005 with addition of photos of Danny as a boy and his parents from Emily Hamilton. Updated August 2006 with testimony of John Haugabrook and reference to webpage on “Young Blood…” by Gary Jarvis. Updated September 2006 with addition of photos of Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.