Charlevoix County June Veteran of the Month: Donald G. Reich

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Vet Donald G. Reich6-2016.jpgThe “Veteran of the Month” for June 2016 is Donald George Reich. Born August 24th, 1946 in East Jordan, Michigan, Reich attended East Jordan Public Schools graduating in the class of 1964.

While in school he was an outstanding football player, receiving many awards, and was Treasurer of the East Jordan Chapter of the Future Farmers of America.

After graduation he worked at several jobs in the area, then entered a Journeyman Lineman Apprenticeship program, working for Clifton Engineering Company, Three Rivers, Michigan.

On January 6th, 1966 Reich was inducted into the Armed Services along with 13 other men from Charlevoix County, which was the largest contingent to be drafted since WWII.

 

He entered the United States Marine Corps receiving Basic and Radio Operator Training at Camp Pendleton, California graduating in May of 1966. He was also awarded a certificate as the Outstanding Marksman of his Platoon.

Reich arrived in Vietnam on December 4th, 1966 and was assigned to D Company, 1st Platoon, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, with Headquarters in Quanang Tri, Vietnam.

On January 4th, 1967, being part of a 7 Man patrol that was being inserted by helicopter in an area near the Village of Cam Lo, they took heavy enemy fire when exiting the helicopter, and Private First Class Reich was struck and killed instantly.

His Commanding Officer stated “Although I only knew him about a month, I got to know him as a quiet, steady young man, who was very serious about his job.

He seemed quite mature for his age.

He was well liked by his fellow platoon members, and fit right in with them from the day he joined us.”

Reich was the second serviceman from East Jordan to be killed in action in Vietnam.

When the devastating news reached home, support from family and friends was extended to the Reich family.

PFC Reich was posthumously awarded the following decorations and awards:

The Military Merit Medal, The Marine Corps Gallantry Cross with Palm, The Vietnam Service Medal, The National Defense Medal, The Good Conduct Medal, The Expert Riflemen’s Badge and The Purple Heart Medal.

On January 4th, 1967, Private First Class Donald George Reich answered the final call and is being honored by his siblings: Brother Dale, Sisters Barbara Koerner, Sharon Roberts and his Nephew and namesake Donald George Reich.

To honor a veteran, call the program chairman at (231) 588-6067 or on Tuesdays call (231) 582-7811 between 3:30-8:30 p.m.

The ceremony may be witnessed on the first Thursday of each month at The American Legion Post located on the corner of South Lake and Main streets in Boyne City, Mich. at 6:15 p.m.