© Jerry F. Couch
Today, Memorial Day 2019, we remember Spec. 5 Kyle Stevens “Steve” Hamilton, a casualty of the Vietnam War. He entered the United States Army on May 4, 1970 and died March 28, 1971. Steve was a member of the 198th Light Infantry Brigade, 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry, Headquarters Company. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
Steve’s name is inscribed on panel 04W, Line 86 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC. His name is also inscribed in the hearts and memories of his friends and family in Southwest Virginia, because WE DON’T FORGET.
Aubrey Ward viewing the Moving Wall exhibit in St. Paul, October 1997.
The following article is from the May 20, 1971 edition of the Clinch Valley Times
A TRIBUTE TO STEVE
It is an age-old question. James asked it many years ago, “From whence come wars and fighting among you?” (James 4:1).
Recently we have been made to consider this question anew, due to the loss of one of our choice young men. In an hour of grief, the question is never easy to answer for in personal sorrow no war ever seems justified.
Only after the heartache has somewhat abated can reflection help us to see that this is the way life has always been and will be, until Jesus. James makes this clear when he answers his own question, “…come they not hence, even of you lusts that war in your members?”
Fallen men cannot live in peace. This can be seen even in a small child wanting a toy that belongs to another. To get it he will fight for it. This principle applies to adults, nations, and the world. It is checked only temporarily, when someone steps in and halts it by superior force.
To step in requires courage for someone is likely to be hurt. In way they are likely to be killed. But the greatest love that can be shown is for a person to give his life for another (John 15:13).
In giving his life, Steve has shown his love for us and the things we stand for as a community. Knowing full well the possible cost, he still gave of himself, as he always did. This was his spirit on the athletic field. It was his spirit in the service of his country.
Knowing full well the possible cost, he still gave of himself, for he had those worth giving for – a mother, a father, a sister, brothers, a sweetheart, friends, a community.
War comes from greed and all that is evil in man. Self-sacrifice, the best that is in man, has made an effort to halt it. May the tender memory of it linger in our hearts!
SOLDIER WAS WAITING TO COME HOME
“He would have been home April 5th…and if the Laos crisis hadn’t come up, he would have been home in March.”
These were some expressions of a relative to Spec. 5, Kyle S. (Steve) Hamilton, 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. Willard D. Hamilton of St. Paul who lived in Esserville prior to moving to St. Paul.
Hamilton was killed in Vietnam some two months after being pulled off the front lines and sent to Firebase 6 Mary Ann. The VC’s had never hit Firebase 6 before, and it was one place in Vietnam where American soldiers felt safe.
Hamilton’s time was up, and he had big plans for the future. He was coming home to get married and intended on enrolling at Clinch Valley College to take up his ambition to be a coach following a successful high school background of athletics. He would have been 20 on May 5.
A total of 33 men were killed in the attack in the attack on Firebase 6. It was the first time ever any action had been experienced there as 50 Viet-Cong overran the base. Young Hamilton and three other soldiers were in a bunker when the explosive hit.
After being notified on April 1st, the family had to wait until this week for the body to be identified as he had no birth marks or dental work to aid the identification.
Pictured above left, Steve’s family at the Moving Wall exhibit in St. Paul, October 1997. Pictured at right, mementos of Steve.
Memories of Steve’s high school years.
UPDATE, NOV. 29, 2019 — This photo of Steve was shared by a fellow soldier who served with him in Vietnam.
Historical Footnote – From WIKIPEDIA…
“The Battle of FSB Mary Ann occurred when Viet Cong (VC) sappers attacked the U. S. firebase located in Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam early on the morning of 28 March 1971.
Fire support base (FSB) Mary Ann was located to interdict movement of enemy troops and material down the K-7 Corridor and Dak Rose Trail (branches of the Ho Chi Minh trail running from Laos to the coast of South Vietnam). Originally intended to be a temporary base, it evolved into a more permanent location garrisoned by at least one U. S. Army company. The base was manned by 231 American Soldiers at the time of the attack.”