Keith Allen Campbell
Specialist 4, United States Army
Here To Find The Group Working Toward The Upgrade of Specialist Campbell's
Distinguished Service Cross To The Medal of Honor On Facebook.
Keith Allen Campbell
was born on March 3, 1946. He became a member of the Army while in Arlington,
Virginia and attained the rank of Specialist 4th. On February 8, 1967 at
the age of 20, Keith Allen Campbell gave his life in the service of our
country in South Vietnam, Bien Hoa Province. You can find him honored on
the Vietnam Memorial Wall on Panel 15E, Row 8.
His death was typical of the man. He was a medic with the 503rd Parachute Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, and he observed a wounded soldier lying in an exposed position without any protection. Disregarding the hail of enemy fire, he ran to the soldier's position and then dragged him back to the shelter of a tree where he administered first aid to him. The tree protected his patient, but it was too small to shield them both and Campbell was fatally wounded.
Today, Specialist Campbell lies at rest in Arlington National Cemetery, not far from where he lived and attended school as a youth. Each Christmas his younger sister, Judy, places a small fir tree on his grave. It is decorated with a very special chain which Judy and her brother had started to make before he left for service in Vietnam and which she had kept ever since.
The manner in which he lived, and died, promoted the George Washington Chapter, Association of the United States Army, to name a memorial plaque in his honor. It is presented annually to the outstanding Green Beret enlisted reservist in the Washington, D.C. area. The George Washington Chapter, to which Sergeant Campbell belonged, it composed of more than 4,000 members, including many of the Army's highest ranking officers.
A boyhood friend, Philip Newman Malone, is buried next to him at Arlington National Cemetery.
By Direction of the President of the United States
The Distinguished Service Cross
Is Awarded To
Keith A. Campbell
Rank and Unit: Specialist Four, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade.
Date and Place: 8 February 1967, Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: Specialist Four Campbell distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 8 February 1967 while serving with elements of the 503d Infantry assaulting a Viet Cong bunker complex.
During the initial engagement, the lead company had suffered numerous casualties, including the medical personnel. Specialist Campbell volunteered to assist in treating the wounded, and dauntlessly moved up to the front line. Exposing himself to the intense hostile fire, he began to administer aid to the wounded soldiers. Discovering that one casualty lay fifty meters in front of the friendly lines and next to an insurgent bunker, Specialist Campbell called for covering fire as he maneuvered forward.
Disregarding the extreme dangers, he fearlessly ran through a hail of bullets and exploding grenades, but was forced to take cover behind a low mound of dirt. From this position, he killed a Viet Cong sniper who was firing on him from a tree.
Undeterred from his mission, Specialist Campbell then crawled the last twenty meters to the stricken man. Dragging the soldier to the cover of a nearby tree, he started to administer first aid. As he fearlessly protected the man from further hostile fire, Specialist Campbell was mortally wounded.
His unimpeachable valor and selfless sacrifice
against insurmountable odds succeeded in saving a fellow soldier's life.
Specialist Four Campbell's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty,
at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of
the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and
the United States Army.
Keith's sister, Judy, at his gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery.
To Keith Allen Campbell
By His Mother
My son Keith A. Campbell was only 20 years old when he was killed in Vietnam on February 8, l967. He had been in the Army for nearly three years. Part of that time as a member of the Green Berets. Before Vietnam he had earned the Bronze Star for bravery in the Dominican Republic. He also had 12 other awards and decorations, including the Distinguished Service Cross and another Bronze Star for Valor. He was awarded five decorations in the l9 days he lived in Vietnam. Keith is buried in Arlington National Cemetery side by side with several of his buddies from high school.
Submitted by Esther B. Gates on January
banner was small,but the star was large,
was so young to go far away
weeks went by, the months rolled on
the battles raged. The news was not good
the day came that she faced with dread.
B. Campbell Gates
Arlington's Vietnam Dead
if you walk at night
if you sit to chat
history is what stretches wide
on row they sleep
there be peace?" I'm sure they ask
we did not love -- we did not live
as I stare and listen well
-- Your Mother, Esther B. Gates
Submitted by Esther
B. Gates on April 5, 1999
day President Nixon announced the cessation of hostilities in Vietnam I
wrote the following poem:
B. (Campbell) Gates
portrait of Keith on your web page inspired me to write the following poem:
We used to say that "Keith talks with his eyes". He still does:
into my eyes.
into my eyes
into my eyes
into my eyes
Out of the clouds I tumble
The wind kisses my face
The thunder of the silence
B. (Campbell) Gates
my son, Keith Allen Campbell was born March 3, l946 in Long Beach, California,
I wrote the following on the front page of his baby book: I now call
it THE PROPHECY!
You are so small, so soft, so new. Because you fit the contour of my arms time refuses to cease and tomorrow you will be a man. I gaze into your eyes and see the future wondering what your destiny will be. Perhaps you will be a great surgeon who will mend the broken bodies of men. Perhaps you will be a minister who will heal their souls. Perhaps you will be a teacher who will guide the minds of a coming generation--a statesman whose oratory will resound through the halls of time. I see you working in oils recording the beauty about you for all those who come after to see. Perhaps your soul will flee on wings of steel into a burning blue where your father sought to free a world of hate and oppression. Music may pour from you for a tired world crying for the aesthetic. Perhaps you will be none of these, but a simple man WHO WILL LIVE FOR THE JOY OF HELPING OTHERS. I could ask for no more, only the strength and wisdom to guide you, if not to be a great man, one who will be admired, loved and honored by the Peoples you are to serve. Oh Life, be kind to him! He is my son!
Boone Campbell Gates, San Antonio, Texas
The Army documentary, "Army Medic: The Spirit of Courage" video that was "selected 1st place in the documentary category and first place overall in the 2008 Department of Army Visual Information Video Production Awards Program. This documentary shares the history of a battlefield job, a job that has grown to become one of the most honored of military occupations." A portion of this video portrays the courage of Keith Campbell in Vietnam.
Friends and Family:
The Delaware Hometown Heroes Banner Program
continues to bring honor and remembrance to our American Heroes. Our webmaster
will be honoring our soldiers lives in independent videos. Attached is
the first one to be completed and I know how much you have grown to love
and respect Keith as we do. Therefore, I wanted to make sure you were the
first to view this. Thank you and continue to pray for our men and women
Photos By: M. R. Patterson, October 2007
Photo By Judy Campbell, December 2011