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James Ralph Heeter

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial

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James Ralph Heeter
1949-1968

"“. . . Pvt. Heeter inspired all who observed him . . ."

Silver Star Citation

James Ralph “Jimmy” Heeter was born June 4, 1949, in Spencer, West Virginia, the son of William and Emeline Detzler Heeter. Jimmy had two brothers and two sisters. He was a member of Methodist Memorial Church and attended Spencer High School.
James Ralph Heeter
James Ralph Heeter, high school sophomore
Spencer High Rupicola, 1967

James R. Heeter entered the United States Marine Corps on February 12, 1968, in Ashland, Kentucky. His tour of duty in Vietnam began on July 26, 1968, as a member of Co. D, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division. On August 18, 1968, his platoon was on patrol near Cam Lo in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, an area where enemy supply caches and large troop concentrations were known to be located. The lead squad came under automatic weapons fire and was isolated from the remainder of the company. Private Heeter maneuvered across the area to the isolated unit’s position and administered first aid to a wounded fellow Marine. Although seriously wounded himself, he continued to aid his comrades. While doing so, he was mortally wounded.

The body of PFC. James R. Heeter was returned to the United States and in September 1968 was interred in Spencer Cemetery. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, which was presented to his parents in their Parkersburg home in November 1968. Major John Holt, who made the presentation, noted that the Silver Star was second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor for extraordinary bravery and devotion to duty. PFC. Heeter’s Silver Star was the third one awarded a West Virginian during the Vietnam Conflict and the first for a Roane County.

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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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