Three Eisenhower graduates killed in Vietnam within a year

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton The names of three young men from the Eisenhower Class of 1965 that died in Vietnam - Raymond Abbott, Quenton Slocum and Frank Gregory.

If you were one of the 2.7 million men who served in Vietnam, there was a just over two percent chance you would be one of the 58,220 that died over there.

There were about 120 students in the Eisenhower Class of 1965.

If we assume that the gender mix was roughly 50/50, then your odds of male in that class that died in Vietnam were over twice as high.

Three members of that class – Raymond Abbott, Quenton Slocum and Frank Gregory were among that 58,220.

Abbott was born June 9, 1947.

“Marine Private 1/c Raymond L. Abbott, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence R. Abbott, 8 Race St., Sugar Grove, is presently serving with the 5th Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division in An Hoe, Vietnam,” according to a brief update published in the June 3, 1967 Warren Times Mirror and Observer.

“His battalion has conducted seven major operations since leaving its base near the demilitarized zone, which separates North and South Vietnam. His battalion is also engaged in large scale search and destroy missions against the enemy, the battalion conducts day and night patrols and ambushes to keep the enemy off balance.”

He died about two months after his 20th birthday on Aug. 2, 1967 at Duang Nam. His remains were returned to Warren County and he’s buried at the Wesleyan Cemetery.

“Warren County lost its fourth young man in the Vietnam War Wednesday when a 1965 graduate of Eisenhower High School was killed while engaged in rifle fire with the enemy,” the paper reported two days later on Aug. 4 under the headline “Sugar Grove Man Killed in Vietnam.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Abbott were notified of their loss by the Marine Corps yesterday,” the report added. “The Abbott family has not yet received the telegram confirming their son’s death. Further details concerning the tragedy were not available late last night.”

A funeral notice published 10 days later says that Abbott was a machine gunner.

“The church was filled to capacity for the funeral services,” the paper reported.

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Quenton Slocum’s family had only moved to Warren from Bradford in 1964, just in time for the young man to spend his senior year at Eisenhower.

Because of the McKean County connection, the Bradford Era was the first to report his death, which occurred on May 17, 1968.

Photo from the collection of the National Park Service A letter left for Quenton Slocum at the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C. The letter was left in Oct. 1986.

“Hospital Corpsman 3/C Quenton Edward Slocum, Jr., 21, of 130 Egypt. Rd., Warren, a former Bradford resident, was killed in action on May 17 his parents have been informed,” an article explained.

“The Corpsman… died of wounds in the chest and legs while in action with the U.S. Marine detachment to which he was assigned on a search and destroy mission near Quang Nam, U.S. Navy officers said,” the report continued. “He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Everett Silvis. Besides his parents he is survived by a brother, John Clark Slocum, of Erie.”

Slocum, per the article, had worked at a Jamestown, NY manufacturing company until entering the Navy in 1966. He had been in Vietnam since Feb. 1968.

On the anniversary of his death, the family published an “In Memoriam” in the Times Mirror and Observer.

“In loving memory of H.M. 3 Quenton Edward Slocum, Jr., who was killed one year ago, May 17, 1968,at Quang Nam Vietnam,” the message read, accompanied by a poem.

One sad and lonely year has passed

Since that great sorrow fell,

The shock that we received that day

We still remember well.

The rolling stream of life goes on,

But still the vacant chair

Recalls the time, the voice, the

Smile of him who once sat there.

The sound of taps floats gently,

It echoes from your grave

And though you died in battle far away,

Your spirit seems quite near today and everyday.

The memorial message the following year:

Memories are treasures

Nothing can steal

Death is a heartache

Nothing can heal

Some may forget you

Now you are gone

But we will remember

No matter how long

Each day brings a memory

Each memory a tear

The scar grows still deeper each passing year.

Sadly missed by

MOM & DAD Silvis

John Slocum and family

Slocum was killed about three months before his 22nd birthday.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund page for him links to an item in the National Park Service collection in Oct. 1986. The message is simple.

“To Quenton Slocum / I miss you / always loved / Your sister.”

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The page for each of the 58,000 names on the Vietnam Wall through the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund provide the opportunity to leave comments.

Many include some variation of “Thank you for your service and sacrifice.”

The page for Frank Gregory is different. It includes a message from a comrade.

“Frank and I were good pals, both from Pa,” this man wrote. “He always wanted to be out in the bush with the grunts, but he ended up staying in the rear most of his tour. I felt glad for him in a way because he would pick up the guys who had too much booze at night, clean them up and drag them back to their hooches and dump them in bed. He didn’t drink, smoke or cuss – a testament to his upbringing

“Worst day of my life, I was standing in the rear of our hooch, looking out when i heard the screendoor slam, then the gunny said loudly ‘I need 2 volunteers to go to Khe Sahn.’ I thought ‘My god, I just got back and when I turned around there stood Frank in front of him with another Marine. I hate the sound of a screendoor to this day. Lost my best friend that day. Best marine I ever knew.”

Gregory, a lance corporal in the Marines, was 21.

From the TImes Mirror and Observer on June 12, 1968: Sugar Grove Marine Killed While On Patrol In Vietnam.

“The Vietnam conflict claimed the life of another Warren County man June 6, when Lance Cpl. Frank E. Gregory… was killed by hostile enemy fire while on patrol in the Quang Tri province of Vietnam,” the newspaper reported.

“Cpl. Gregory, who was serving with the Company C., 3rd Div., entered the service May 3, 1967. A graduate of Eisenhower High School, class of 1965, he had been serving in Vietnam since December.”

The funeral was held in June 1969 and he was buried at Mission Cemetery.

“While doing some research on the ‘Loon’ I can’t imagine how awful it must have been to go from a quiet little farm in Sugar Grove, Pa. to a made made Hell in Quang Tri,” a family member posted on that website. “We were told you were trying to save a fellow Marine and lost your own life on 6/6/68.”


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