In Memory

Eddie Neal

Eddie Neal

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03/27/15 01:05 PM #1    

Steve Koons


               Eddie in uniform                        


NOTE:  In doing research on Eddie's distinguished service, have found records that indicate he was not awarded the ARCOM with V.  Instead, he was awarded the higher Bronze Star with V and one oak leaf cluster.  In addidion, his medals above are in order of precedence--Top Row: Soldiers Medal, Bronze Star with V device and 1 Oak Leaf Cluster,Purple Heart, Air Medal.  Bottom Row:  Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Ribbon, Viet Nam Service Medal and Viet Nam Campaign Medal. 

Martinsville Reporter, March 29, 1971

Spec.4 Neal Killed During Vietnam Action

Spec 4 William E. Neal, whose distinguished service in Vietnam earned for him a special week's furlough with his family in Martinsville in mid-February, was killed in action in Vietnam last Wednesday, March 24.

Word of his death was received Sunday night by his mother, Mrs. Joseph Arthur. Spec. 4 Neal, age 27, made his home with her and Mr. Arthur and his brothers at 1029 S. Colfax St..

Bringing the word last night were two men from the Indiana University ROTC Unit, while a telegram of notification and sympathy came this morning from a representative of the Secretary of the Army,Major General Kenneth G. Wickham,The Adjutant General stationed at the Pentagon.. Another representative is expected here this afternoon.

At the time of his death, according to the message, Neal was a crew chief on a military aircraft on a military mission when the aircraft was fired upon by a hostile ground force, crashed and burned.

The local man, who was with the Special Forces, enlisted for service in September of 1969 and had basic training at Fort Polk, La. and took Green Beret training at Fort Bragg, N.C. He was first assigned to Germany but asked to have his assignment changed to Vietnam. After first serving there with the Green Berets, he was transferred about eight months ago to the Rangers and wore the Black Beret. More recently he had been changed to the Scouts, the Air Calvary.

Had Expected Furlough

He had expected a 30-day furlough at home in June and had asked for additional time in Vietnam.

For heroic action last December, Spec 4 Neal received the Army Commendation Medal with V device (for valor) and the Soldier's Medal for heroic action after he had saved the life of a badly wounded soldier in a mine field and had evacuated another under hazardous conditions. According to the battalion commander Neal was with a group of volunteers who, in foggy weather, took a helicopter into the mine field to save eight men trapped there.

The last letter the Arthurs received from their son was written March 22.

Born in Martinsville Nov. 8, 1943, Eddie, as he was known, grew up here and was graduated from Martinsville High School in 1962. He played football and baseball during those years, was a member of DeMolay and had been a carrier for the Indianapolis Star. He belonged to the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Danville, Ill. He had been a life insurance agent and a beauty supply salesman before entering service.

Besides his mother, Mrs. Arthur, and Mr. Arthur, he leaves three children, Kim, Eric, and Jill Rene of Mountain Home, Ark.; five brothers, Jerome, Don, Doug and Timmy Arthur of Martinsville and James Dempsey Neal of Indianapolis, and his father, James F. Neal.

Funeral arrangements are being made through the Neal and Summers Funeral Home but cannot be completed until it is learned when the body will arrive.

(Additional information from his brother Doug: Eddie was killed on the 24th of March, 1971. They were notified on the 27th, with his body arriving on April 3. His service was on April 5th, 1971.) 



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