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James Edward Duncan
1940-1971

James Edward Duncan was born July 11, 1940, at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, to Dale and Delphia Viers Duncan. He had two sisters and five brothers.

James graduated from Point Pleasant High School and enlisted in the United States Army in December of 1958. On July 3, 1962, James married Janice Lee Kinnaird and they became the parents of four children.

March 3, 1971, found then Sergeant First Class Duncan, who was serving as a light weapons infantry advisor to the 22nd Ranger Battalion, 3rd Ranger Group, southwest of Ben Het in Kontum Province. He was engaged in a reinforced search and destroy operation. While in the area known as the “Parrots Beak,” the battalion came under enemy mortar attack directed at the command element. As he sought to determine the direction from with the attack was launched, SFC Duncan was wounded. In spite of this he continued to aid the senior advisor in locating the enemy position and was able to assist in directing helicopter gunships and air strikes against the enemy until the battalion could counterattack.

The evacuation of the wounded began when contact with the enemy was broken, but James Duncan died before he could be evacuated. When the battle became so intense and chaotic, surviving members of the patrol were ordered to pull back. An attempt was made to carry the bodies of their comrades with them, but the intense fighting made it necessary to bury the deceased in shallow graves before leaving. Among the deceased was James Edward Duncan.

During his service in Vietnam, the gallantry of James Edward Duncan was noted on several occasions. Among the awards he received were the Bronze Star, the Silver Star and the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster.

During the 2013 session of the West Virginia Legislature a resolution was passed to name a bridge on Route 62 in Point Pleasant the ”U.S. Army SFC James Edward Duncan Memorial Bridge.”

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West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.


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