Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Spec. 4 Patrick Michael Hagerty

Life magazine, on June 27, 1969, ran a feature story titled  “The Faces of the American Dead in Vietnam: One Week’s Toll.” The article ran ten pages and simply featured face after face, 242 in all, of Americans who died “in connection with the conflict in Vietnam” in one week. One of those faces was listed as “Patrick M. Hagerty, 19, Army, SP4, Youngstown, Ohio.” He was a field wireman and the picture in Life shows him on a pole, with safety belt and protective gloves, doing his work.

I came across the Life article searching for a story of one of those from Youngstown who died in Vietnam to remember on Memorial Day, the day this country sets aside to remember those who died in uniform in service to our country. According to the Virtual Wall, he is one of sixty-four from Youngstown who died in Vietnam.

Patrick Michael Hagerty was born on July 27, 1949 to Mr. and Mrs. Harold Hagerty who lived on N. Garland Avenue. He was a member of Immaculate Conception Church and attended East High School. He enlisted in the Army in September of 1966. He began his tour of duty in Vietnam on August 11, 1968 as a field wireman. He was attached to the 4th Infantry Division, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, B Company.

On May 31, 1969 his unit was about 10 kilometers south of Kontum City, located in the central highlands of what was then South Vietnam, not too far from the borders of Laos and Cambodia. During a hostile action, he suffered multiple fragmentation wounds (wounds resulting from the fragments of an explosive device) which he did not survive.

He was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously. The Purple Heart is awarded for “Being wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces” Sadly, Spec. 4 Patrick Michael Hagerty, qualified. His name is engraved on the Vietnam War Memorial Panel W23 Line 27. At the Virtual Wall entry for PVT Patrick Michael Hagerty, you can see a virtual rubbing of his name on the memorial.

[After posting this article Patrick’s nephew pointed me to this comment about Patrick which may be found at The Wall of Faces under his name, possibly written by his Platoon Sergeant]:

I’ve tried to track down all of our Platoon, Patrick, and to post some small note of Remembrance…

You’re one of the last for me, although I visited you once again down in DC last month, for Veterans Day. I remember that you were assigned to my Platoon from another outfit, and that you were VERY ‘short’, possibly within two weeks of going back to The World. I recall that I asked if you wanted to become an RTO for awhile, and perhaps ‘coast’ a little, until we could get you sent back to the Rear…

You wanted no part of that, Patrick, and you took your assignment as part of Bravo’s flank security during our movement… When the contact ensued, you were in the middle of it all…

Everyone who reads this should know what a brave young man you were, Patrick, and a damned fine soldier as well.

See you soon,
Murph

He was 19 when he died. He enlisted and so chose to answer his country’s call. He represents both what is noble and tragic in war. His is only one of sixty-four Youngstown stories of those who died in Vietnam, and one of many more from Youngstown who died in America’s wars. Each one is worth remembering. I chose this Memorial Day weekend to remember Spec. 4 Patrick Michael Hagerty. Who do you remember?

We remember.

To read other posts in the Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown series, just click “On Youngstown.” Enjoy!

13 thoughts on “Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Spec. 4 Patrick Michael Hagerty

  1. ROBERT THOMAS CALLAN
    SP4 – E4 – Army – Selective Service
    101st ABN Division
    His tour began on Apr 14, 1970
    Casualty was on Dec 16, 1970 In , SOUTH VIETNAM
    Hostile, died of wounds, HELICOPTER – CREW
    AIR LOSS, CRASH ON LAND
    Body was recovered

    Panel 06W – Line 124

  2. Can’t imagine being a mom back then and losing a 19 year old son.
    Thanks for recognizing his service.

  3. PFC Allen Thomas

    F CO, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st MARDIV, III MAF
    Start Tour: 01/24/1969
    Casualty Date: 02/22/1969
    Location: Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam
    Remains: Body recovered
    Burial: Tod Homestead Cemetery, Youngstown, Ohio

    Vietnam Memorial: Panel W32, Line 84

    Youngstown South High School, Class of 1967

    Casualty Details ( https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/120722123/allen-thomas )
    On Operation TAYLOR COMMON during contact with the enemy in an area known to the Marines as DODGE CITY south of the Da Hoa (3) hamlet in the Dien Ban District of Quang Nam Province close air support was requested. During the approach on target on the second run there was a malfunction, a delay caused three of the four bombs to land on the Marines of Company F. Six men were killed and five were wounded; one of the casualties was PFC Thomas who was killed by shrapnel.

  4. A very moving and powerful article, Bob. Thank you for reminding us to remember all those who have fought and especially those who didn’t return.

  5. CARPENTER, HOWARD B.

    Name: Howard B. Carpenter
    Rank/Branch: E5/US Army 5th Special Forces
    Unit: HHC, C & C Detachment
    Date of Birth: 23 February 1944 (New Castle PA)
    Home City of Record: Youngstown OH
    Date of Loss: 06 March 1967
    Country of Loss: Laos
    Loss Coordinates: 161817N 1070226E (YD180036)
    Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
    Category: 3
    Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
    Refno: 0608
    Other Personnel In Incident: (None missing)

    REMARKS:

    SYNOPSIS: U.S. Army Special Forces SGT Howard B. Carpenter was a member of a
    company-sized exploitation force infiltrated into enemy territory. On March
    6, 1967, the company was in southern Savannakhet Province, Laos near the
    border of South Vietnam when it made contact with an enemy force of unknown
    size. In the ensuing battle, Carpenter was fatally wounded as he attempted
    to assist other personnel who had been wounded.

    Carpenter’s remains were recovered by another teammember and it was
    determined that he had died from the wounds he had received during the
    firefight. Because of enemy pressure in the area, the company was forced to
    leave Carpenter’s remains behind as they sought a more secure position.

    It was not possible to ever retrieve Carpenter’s remains. He is listed with
    honor among nearly 2500 Americans who remain unaccounted for from the war in
    Vietnam.

    https://www.pownetwork.org/bios/c/c363.htm

  6. https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/49269/arlington-national-cemetery
    Capt Fred Clay Cutrer, Jr, my uncle. The first pilot shot down in Vietnam. It was 1964. I’ll never forget the day my dad received that phone call. His remains did not return to the USA until 1997.

    CAPT Fred C. Cutrer Jr. was the pilot of a B-57 Canberra sent on an operational mission over South Vietnam on August 6, 1964. The navigator onboard the aircraft was 1LT Leonard L. Kaster. Aircraft control last heard from the aircraft by radio when it was northeast of Tan Son Nhut. The aircraft went down near the Sang Dong Nai River in Long Khan Province, South Vietnam. According to Defense Intelligence data, it received heavy fire from Viet Cong forces, crashed and exploded. Neither crewman was believed to have survived. Both were classified Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered. The remains of CAPT Cutrer, Jr. and 1LT Kaster of were jointly recovered in South Vietnam and repatriated on May 22, 1997. [Taken from pownetwork.org]

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