FRED JOE HAYES
SSGT-E6-Marine Corps-Regular
25 year old Married, Caucasian, Male
Born on Sep. 07, 1942
From WALNUT CREEK, CALIFORNIA
Length of service 8 years.
His tour of duty began on Feb. 23, 1968
Casualty was on Apr. 13, 1968
In THUA THIEN, SOUTH VIETNAM
HOSTILE, GROUND CASUALTY
GUN, SMALL ARMS FIRE
Body was recovered
Religion
PROTESTANT
Panel 49E--Line 42
Memorial written by
Capt. John Bouldin USMC Ret.
I did not see what Sgt. Hayes did as "Curly" and I were either in that little
schoolhouse as "Young Blood" explains, or on our way back to a tree line to
evacuate the WIA's. It came over the radio that Hayes was KIA. These kinds
of things are hard to write because they can become maudlin very fast and I
just wanted to inject the human side of Sgt. Hayes. He was a "spunky" guy;
full of the devil, and always up to something, usually good-natured. What is
not known is that in the beginning I almost had him busted? I came within a
hair of doing so, which makes the fact that he lead the effort for the Platoon to chip in and buy the Sword all the more important to me! This was
all at Pendleton, in Recon Bn. prior to us joining 1/27 in Hawaii. We do
what we have to do when in a leadership position. I'm glad I had the good
sense to not have him busted and finally figured out how to deal with his
"spunk".

Hayes was testing me, seeing if I could match wits, apparently I did, and
once he saw I was able to, he did what he did. Hayes and I were the only
ones pulled into 1/27 as the others went to Division Recon. Several of those
men were KIA during that tour while on Recon missions. I don't think Hayes
was too happy about leaving Recon and joining the Bn. After all, his friends
went to Recon and he had never before served in an infantry Bn. pr se. His
first tour was with Recon, it was Recon upon his return, and then pulled
into 1/27, while his friends went back to what he knew better than anything
else. I was not that pleased either. (At the time)

Hayes was a fairly big man and did not give the impression that he was a
physical stud. He moved rather slowly, but on runs and other activities he
was like an NFL lineman. He could get cracking!

Semper Fi, John

Letter sent to SSgt. Fred Hayes Grandson  PFC Christopher J. Hayes on 12-01-09 by Col. Patrick Kahler

Dear PFC Hayes,
Good morning and Happy New Year.  David Harrison passed your email on to me and to all those who remain active with 1st Bn. 27th Marines veterans organization. I was Commanding Officer of Delta Company !/27 from Nov. 1967 to July 1968.  Staff Sergeant Hayes and a team of S-2 scouts was attached to Delta for and operation east of Hue City, RVN.  It was a three company operation with Alpha Company on the south side of a good sized canal and Delta on the North side, Bravo Company was located along the canal to the east. Movement of Alpha and Delta was to the east.  The first day of the operation was a routine search and clear operation, very few villagers were encountered although the area was well populated basically rice and fish farmers.  Delta Company encountered no action on that day.  The next morning Alpha and Delta began moving east within a few 100 meters both companies came under automatic weapons fire primarily from the south side of the canal in Alpha's Zone of Action.  Both companies pushed forward and Alpha Company encountered heavy resistance in crossing an open area surrounding an unused school.  The NVA were well entrenched just east of the school on a trench (canal) line that had good fields of fire.  Alpha Company had very little cover save the old school building and some small pagodas.  Delta Company moved into the village just North across the canal from Alpha Company.  A NVA trench line gave us protection and good fields of fire onto the entrenched NVA.  After some time it was clear that Alpha Co. had suffered causalities including Vietnamese Provincial Reconnaissance Unit troops attached to the Company.  The fighting continued but the focus was in the Alpha Company area.  At some point that I do not now recall how long after it started.  Staff Sergeant Hayes came to me and asked to take a patrol into the Alpha Company area to assist with the casualties that we could see.  I told him I would get it cleared with Alpha but that it was an all volunteer mission as the conditions were very grave in the area.  The Alpha C. O. Capt. Jim Panther cleared the mission and I then approved it.  He assembled as I recall two S-2 scouts, a Corpsman from First Platoon, Delta, Doc. Bronson and himself as patrol leader.  Delta provided covering fire and they moved out wading the canal which was fairly deep then crossing the field to the school house which was raked with automatic weapons fire and I was amazed they made it.  They moved to the other side of the school and began to pull back causalities to a shelter in a small pagoda.  SSgt Hayes was hit in the side as he moved to pull a casualty back was pulled back to the Pagoda and died.  I was told by Doc Bronson that his last words were of your Mother and Grandmother.  I believe he was as brave a Marine as I have ever seen and he was an outstanding Sgt. who evaluated a situation and saw a way to help.  His actions and those who accompanied saved lives that day. I originally submitted him for a Navy Cross.   What more can I say.  You should be very proud of him, honor his memory and I know we will be able to tell you more about his service in 1/27 and before.  There is much more to the story of that day and it is best told in the history of 1/27 "Young Blood" by Sgt. Gary Jarvis, PHD.  We will see that you get a copy.  I will be in touch with Captain John Bouldin, Retired who was SSgt Hayes platoon commander in Recon Bn.  Please give my best to your Mother and Grandmother, I met them briefly in Hawaii before we left and your Mother was just and infant/toddler as I recall.  Christopher my very best to you and your family.  Your Grandfather and all the 110 Marines and Corpsmen who gave their lives on that deployment are forever etched in our hearts and minds.  Please do not hesitate to contact me.
Semper Fi,
Pat Kahler
D 1/27
Col. USMC (Ret)

 

2/21/2010

Thank you for the kind words you wrote about my Uncle Joe.  I remember I was a flower girl in his wedding.  I still have the dress I wore.  I also remember the day we got word of his death.  He was my dad's brother.  It was very sad.  Our son when he was born, we named him Joseph Thomas Weber, in part for my Uncle Joe.  And our son was born almost 20 years exactly from Uncle Joe's death.  Joey was born April 5, 1988, and Uncle Joe died April 13, 1968.  We have been to Uncle Joe's grave several times in San Bruno, CA.  His daughter is buried with him.  The Traveling Wall has been to our town, and I went to see it.  I also had someone do an etching of his name at the real wall in Washington, DC.  Thank you again for serving with him.   Penny Weber
 

 

Letter sent to SSgt. Hayes brother by Col. Patrick Kahler 4 October 2013

Dear Sgt Major,

 
Your brother was attached to my Rifle Company D 1st. Bn. 27th Marines on the weekend before Easter 1968.  There were three Companies involved in the Operation, two Delta and Alpha were moving east along a canal that ultimately fed into the Perfume River east of Hue City RVN.  Delta on the North and Alpha on the South moving towards Bravo Company on the East who were to move into a blocking position. On the morning of the second day of the Operation both Alpha and Delta encountered both small arms and heavy weapons fire from a trench on the edge of a small ville directly in front of the Alpha Company Advance. We c(Delta) the open rice paddy in Squad rushes and entered a larger ville than the one across the canal to the South, it had concrete ponds for fish farming, a pagoda and several concrete/block homes a fairly deep trench paralleled the canal on the north side adjacent to a fairly wide pathway.  We took up an L shaped position  facing the canal and overlooking and an abandoned one story school with about 6 or 8 rooms.  Most of the fire was coming from a deep trench and treeline to the immediate east of the school house.  Alpha Company was moving across the open area surrounding the school almost all on the south side of the school and we could not observe them well.  We were receiving small arms, machine gun and RPG fire from the same location that Alpha Company was being fired upon. SSgt. Hayes (then still a Sgt) with his other Scout observed some RVN Provincial Reconnaissance Unit soldiers moving on the North side of the school under intense fire.  I knew from talking to Alpha 6 on the Radio that his forward units were having difficulty and taking casualties.  As this information  became known your brother approached me and asked to take a patrol into the Alpha Company area to assist. Based on the fire from the entrenched NVA and the difficulty of crossing the canal and the open area to the school I made sure he knew that it was going to be difficult.  I told him that the patrol should be volunteers and I would get concurrence from Alpha Company for them to move to their forward positions to the South of the schoolhouse.  He was most concerned about the wounded Marines and PRUs that we could observe Alpha agreed Sgt. Hayes put the patrol together he, his scout and a Navy Corpsman Doc Bronson.  Cpl. David Harrison's squad was to provide covering fire and they set off on that foggy morning.  They moved rapidly and I believe miraculously across the area into the school and out to the Alpha forward elements.  As you know they set about rescuing wounded and moving them to shelter, while doing this he was fatally wounded based on my conversation with Doc Bronson and the S2 scout was tell Ann and the kids I love them.
 
As I read the book Young Blood to refresh my memory, as I recall he only had a daughter but it has been too long for me to be sure. We put him in for a Navy Cross for his leadership and bravery.  It was returned and was then written up as a Medal of Honor.  He in any case deserved either.  When he was awarded the Silver Star posthumously I was deeply disappointed.  I believe it was impacted on by the fact that at the end of that day the Battalion had 72 casualties including the 9 missing from Bravo Company who were not recovered until the next day, all dead and mutilated.  26 Killed and 46 Wounded total.  He did one of the bravest things I ever saw in my two tours in RVN mostly in Rifle Companies.  He was a super well respected Sgt.  I had served briefly with him in 5th Recon Bn and then was assigned to an Anti-tank platoon that also went to Hawaii with his unit. My family sat in chapel in the pew in front of he and Ann and their daughter.  You can be nothing but proud of him a real Soldier of the Sea and such a brave and exceptional leader.  Take Care
Semper Fi,
Pat Kahler
RVN 66,67,68, Gulf of Tonkin 72-73




.

1