Brother of Mine, I love you
Lou Clauson wrote this narrative in tribute to her brother, Earl Dale Jenkins. You may contact her with any questions or comments at:
Earl Dale Jenkins, Jr. was born August 4, 1948, near Oakwood, Illinois, the youngest child
and only son of Evelyn (Weir) and Earl Jenkins Sr. He was preceded in death by his father and sister,
Vera Marie (Harvey), followed by his mother's death in 1995. Two sisters, Carol (Vandiver) of Rantoul,
Illinois and myself, Lou (Norma Clauson) of Wildwood, Missouri survive.
With three sisters around, Dale (as we called him) did not lack for any love or attention!
We "spoiled" him and enjoyed every minute of it. He had a puppy called "Skippy" who followed him everywhere.
Dale attended quite a number of schools before moving to Georgetown, Illinois where he graduated from Jr. High School (1962).
While attending Georgetown High he was on the track team and a member of F.F.A. At one point, I recall he was not a happy camper
when mother would not let him keep his baby pig in the house. He persuaded a friend to let him keep it in his barn and would often
ask to "Sleep out with my pig in the barn."
Dale left high school early to join the Navy where he was a graduate of the U. S. Frogman School of Camp Pendelton.
He received an honorable discharge on April 28, 1965, and joined the Marines on August 5, 1965 - one day after his 17th birthday.
He was in the First Battalion Platoon 161 and began training 8/16/1965, at San Diego with graduation on 10/6/65. He was at Camp Le Jeune, N. C.
following graduation before leaving on October 6, 1967 for Vietnam.
Prior to his departure for Vietnam he wrote to me saying "I will be going overseas soon and if I don't make it - well, that's life- for the
guys over there are just like me - they don't want to die - but will for God and the freedom of the people we love."
Dale's time of service in Vietnam was brief - but intense. He was a member of a four-man team assigned to parachute into the Khe Sahn area
on November 16, 1967, with the mission of recovering essential equipment which had been air-dropped in support of infantry units in the area. At
about 11:15 a.m. the men made their jump from the aircraft, and Dale was the second man of the team to do so. An investigation into the accident
disclosed that the main parachutes of Dale and another Marine (from Champaign, Illinois) became entangled during their descent, as did their reserve
chutes and they were unable to disentangle them.
Dale's service awards included the Vietnam Service Pendant, the National Defense Service Medal, and a medal from the Vietnam Government for his service
rendered to their country.
Cpl. Dale Jenkins was known as a "Strong Marine" and he wore his uniform proudly. In the last letter which I received from him (written on November 10
and ironically, received on the actual date of his death) he wrote "Today is my birthday...well...not really my birthday...but the birthday of our Marine Corps."
W. F. Koehlin, Lieutenant Colonel, U. S. Marine Corps. Commanding Officer in his letter to my mother wrote, "Earl's cheerful disposition, uprightness, and
devotion to duty won him the respect of all who knew him. He was a credit to his God, his parents, and his country."
Although our hearts were broken to lose our son and brother at such a young age of 19 years, we know he loved the Marines and was so very proud to serve his
country and in his own words was "Willing to die for the freedom of the people we love."
Thank you, Lou, for sharing Dale with us.
Caption under picture reads:
"Last week was a memorial occasion for Mrs. Evelyn Jenkins of 506 Sandusky, Georgetown. She was presented
with service awards of her son, Cpl.Earl Dale Jenkins, Jr., 19, who was killed Nov. 16, 1967, in maneuvers in the vicinity of
Quang Tri, in the Vietnam war. The presentaton was made by Major I.D. Ingram of the Marine Training Center in Danville.
The awards included the Vietnam Service Pendant, The National Defense Service Medal, and a medal which came directly from
the Vietnam Government for his service rendered to their country. Mrs. Jenkins was also presented with the Gold Star pin."
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