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Fallen Solider



                   By: Vincent Nigo, 11




Bruce Thomas King was a senior at BA in 1965. He joined the Army in 1968 and by October he shipped out to Vietnam. He was killed in action in Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam on April 9, 1969. King was one of 16 BA graduates that gave the ultimate sacrifice in that controversial war.


King was killed in action while trying to save one of his comrades. The cause of death was a result of multiple fragmentation wounds from being “ambushed with small arms” according to fellow soldier Sergeant Major Endfinger of Richmond, Kentucky who was with 1st Lt. King the day he died.


“He was shot several times in an ambush with small arms. They might consider fragmentations to be bullets but I consider fragmentation to be grenades and mortars. There were two killed, both within feet from me. I was behind a big tree and not seen, or it would of been me. This is still hard for me to understand,” Endfinger told me in an email interview


After his death, Endfinger helped carry King's body to the patrol base to be helicoptered to the rear.


In the mid 1950’s as the conflict between North and South Vietnam escalated the North tried to reunify Vietnam under communist control. This led to the US getting involved in support of the South. The policy of the US government at the time was to stop the spread of communism. During those days’ patriotism was high as we just finished the war in Korea. As a result many young men decided to join the military.


With the draft in effect many young men were called into service all over the US. About 250 came from Dallas and 16 being from BA.


On the days leading up to his death King wrote his final letter to his parents. A copy of this letter was hung on the wall of the BA JROTC room by Sgt. Major Clark, who left the BA JROTC program in 2012. The text of the letter is the following:


“If I should die during my tour in Vietnam I want my parents to read and understand the following. I came here by choice. I joined the Army by choice. I chose to become an Infantry Officer. It was my destiny to become a professional soldier. It (fighting for my country-right or wrong) is a job that must be done. It is a job that I feel I am best at.


The American people too often forget what the flag stands for- I am a patriot, I believe in our system of government- I feel that my country is worth fighting for and if need be dying for. The country we have today was not built by the weak and the disbelievers- It was built with the blood of men who felt they had something worth dying for. I think it is the duty, the right and privilege of every American to fight for his country.  It has to be this way, and I thank God there are still men left who believe. The people in the streets who protest our country and its policies have the right to protest only because men believe enough in the system to give their lives for it. There are still men with dreams and ideas that they feel, are worth fighting for. This is what I also believe in.


If I die it was for a reason- my life brought something, it was not wasted. I believe this, otherwise I would not be here. I am a believer, a dreamer, a patriot and most of all a professional soldier in the United States Army from the bottom of my boots to the top of my steel pot. I feel proud and honored to serve my country and with men who believe.”


As with every other casualty in the Vietnam War that lost their life King is remembered on the Vietnam Memorial wall in Washington D.C.


His position on the Vietnam Memorial wall is Panel W27, Line 45. First Lieutenant Bruce Thomas King’s dedication and bravery will never be forgotten. We thank him for his service and the ultimate sacrifice he made.



Bruce King
Senior Portrait, 1965

King's letter to his parents on display in the BA JROTC room

Vietnam Vererans Memorial wall

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