Captain John C. Pape
John C. Pape  Capt, W. Bablyon, NY:  24W-49

By: Peter R. Engelhardt
© 1997

 

Tribute to Cpt. John C. Pape

As a Lt. with 2nd Brigade, I had the privilege to work for Cpt. Pape for about 4 months during late 1968 - early 1969. He was the officer's officer, the soldier's soldier and a man who I would have followed anywhere and under any circumstances. 29 years later, when I think of Vietnam, I always remember John. The below tribute, published in the Stars & Stripes shortly after John's death on May 18, 1969, is totally accurate but fails to describe the human being behind the "iron mask". I got to know him when we "killed" a bottle of Scotch during the afternoon, before he left for his field command. John was determined to make the Army his carrier. He refused a medical discharge and an easy out to Long Island, where a much better life awaited him. He was dedicated to the mission at hand. He lived the OCS precept of "Mission, Men and Me", in that order. John never put his people in situations of unreasonable risk. John forced his men to dig foxholes every night, the terrain, the hour or the conditions notwithstanding. This discipline minimized casualties but did not save John's life, which was extinguished when a mortar round unluckily landed directly in his foxhole. While time has blurred the details of war in my mind, my memory of John remains fixed. Cpt. Pape was a living example of love of country, unswerving loyalty to his comrades in arms and service beyond the call of duty. He honored his commitments to the highest standards imaginable and will never be forgotten by those who served with him. John, may God grant you eternal peace.

Peter R. Engelhardt

Stars & Stripes

Tam Ky Site Renamed

Camp Pape - The new home of the 1st Brigade at Tam Ky has been renamed Camp Pape in ceremonies attended by honored guests, including Maj. General Lloyd Ramsey, commanding general of the Americal Devision and Americal Assistant commander Brig. Gen. Wallace L. Clement.
      The Tam Ky site was named in honor of Capt. John C. Pape, former commanding officer of B Co., 1st Bn., 501st Abn Inf., who was killed in action during Operation Lamar Plain on May 18.
      Gen. Ramsey termed the dedication "a tribute to a great brigade and a great soldier.
      Capt. Pape had just arrived in country when he was wounded during a recon mission. His wounds inflicted by more that 40 Claymore mine fragments and three AK-47 rounds.
      The Captain refused amputation of his leg, a change in branch of service, evacuation to the States and a profile. Instead he requested that he be returned to the 101st.
      After recovering from his wounds, he got his wish, becoming S-3 Air for the 2nd Brigade. Still, Pape wanted to return to the field and finally persuaded his brigade commander to give him command of a company.
      During the ceremony, the fallen leader was honored as "a hard man to know because he was a hard man. One who set high standards for himself and his men and always achieved them."
      Now, his memory lives in Camp Pape, home of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.

Official Information:

PAPE, JOHN CHARLES
CAPT - Army - Reserve
25 year old Married, Caucasian, Male
Born on 11/18/43
From WEST BABYLON, NEW YORK
Length of service 6 years.
His tour of duty began on 08/07/68
Casualty was on 05/18/69
in QUANG TIN, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
ARTILLERY, ROCKET, or MORTAR
Body was recovered
Religion - LUTHERAN & MISSOURI SYNOD
Panel 24W - Line 49

 
 

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