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Cherokee County Vietnam Casualty Details

Bruce, Dennis

AURELIA - Word has been received here of the death in Viet Nam of Pvt. Dennis Bruce, 20, son of Mr. & Mrs. Clifford Bruce of Aurelia.The parents were notified that their son was killed by rifle fire Friday while serving with the 4th Division in Viet Nam's central highlands.

His death is believed to be the second Cherokee County Viet Name war fatality. Bruce had been in the Army since December 1965 and in Viet Nam since Sept 1.

Pvt. Bruce was a 1964 graduate of Aurelia High school.  While there he participated four years on the basketball squad and played two years with the varsity.

Besides his parents, Bruce is survived by three brothers: Dan, serving in the Marines in California; Terry, student at Westmar College, LeMars; Jerry of Aurelia.  Mrs. Lincoln Hahn, is the maternal grandmother.  Source: Cherokee Daily Times 7 Nov 1966

Kirchoff, Wilbur

MARCUS - Sgt. Wilbur (Billy) Kirchoff, 24, Marcus, winner of the Navy's Marine Corps Medal in 1963 for saving a fellow Marine's life, has been killed in Viet Nam.  No details are available yet but it's believed Sgt. Kirchoff was killed Sunday during heavy fighting with the enemy.  His relatives here were advised Tuesday.

He is thought to be the first Cherokee County serviceman to give his life in the Viet Nam.

Kirchoff, married and the father of a 2 year old daughter was a sergeant in a recon platoon, one of the prime units in the Marines. They were originally required to take jump training and scuba diving drills.

It was during of of those jumps over Camp Pendleton, California., in October, 1963 that Kirchoff saved another Leatherneck's life in mid-air. Kirchoff grabbed Cpl. John A. Cox's trailing parachute shrouds as he plunged to earth helplessly when his chute failed to open.  They glided down, supported only by Kirchoff's chute.  Neither man was injured when the pair hit the ground at twice the normal landing speed.  Major Gen. William T. Fairbourn, 1st Marine Division commander, presented Kirchoff with the Navy-Marine Corps award for heroism.  Kirchoff's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Glen Kirchoff, his wife, Judy, and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Merle Mead, attended the ceremony.  After that feat Kirchoff was honored on "Truth or Consequences", a national television show.

Kirchoff, born Aug 1, 1941, entered active duty with the Marines on July 4, 1949.  Kirchoff, a 1959 Marcus High School graduate, was a veteran Marine and had reenlisted.
While at Marcus school, he had played football and taken part in other activities.

He visited at the home of his parents, rural Marcus, last Thanksgiving. Relatives said the Marine sergeant returned to duty in Viet Nam just before Christmas after the stateside furlough.  

He was a Cherokee County native and was born in Tilden Township.  The family home is now located about 11 1/2 miles west of Cherokee on County Road A.  Bill Kirchoff helped his father on the farm before enlisting  His father also had been a Marine.

Billy's wife, the former Judy Mead, and daughter, Deanna live in Imperial Beach, California.  Sgt. Kirchoff's sister, Holly, is a student at Iowa State University.  Source: Cherokee Times News Service, 9 Mar 1966


Mahoney, Robert

Word has been received of the death of Ronald Mahoney, 23, son of Mr. and Mrs. Max Mahoney, Chili, Wis. The Mahoneys are former Meriden residents, moving to Wisconsin in 1956.  Ronald attended school in Cleghorn eight years.

The Mahoneys received word that their son was killed Dec 8, somewhere in Vietnam.

He had worked on construction of roads and landing strips and was killed while on routine duty.

Mahoney had been in service 15 months and served in Vietnam since April 1966.

Survivors include: his parents, one brother, Donald of Marshfield, Wis, a sister, Janice Petersen, Salix and five sisters at home, Carol, Eileen, Susan, Barbara and Nancy.  A paternal grandmother, Mrs. Bessie Mahoney, Cherokee, also survives.  Wayne Mahoney, Cherokee, is an uncle. Source: Cherokee Daily Times 12 Dec 1966

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