BigWindow BackArrow top

Info Sheet - Darrel Gene Pierce - KIA

6 January 1946 - 8 November 1969
Comments from Jim Brothers, Sylvester Shigg, Diana Pierce Clark

noteDarrel was from Hillsboro, Missouri. He had served in the Army for 16 months; the last 3 1/2 being in Vietnam.

He was born January 6, 1946 in Ware, MO, a son of Sam and Gertrude Pierce. Received elementary schooling at Grandview R-2 Ware; graduated from DeSoto High School in 1964 and from Jefferson College, Hillsboro.

He was employed at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company, St Louis until entering the service.

Married Violet Dunn of DeSoto.

Received his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO and Fort Ord, CA, then was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia and Fort Polk, LA before embarking for Asia.

He was survived by his wife, one brother, three sisters and fifteen nephews and nieces.

Funeral services and burial were at Pilgrims Rest Baptist Church and Memorial Garden on 18 November 1969


Jim Brothers: 2002 (One of the Aeroriflemen wounded in the same action as Darrel):

Darrel, watching your life leave you on that Dust-Off so long ago I've thought about it every day. Twenty years later I contacted your family (sister) and sent a couple of pictures I had. What a waste that you didn't get to live the wonderful life you deserved.

We were reinforcing a firefight in progress and a heading towards the treeline across a dry paddy. The gooks set off a command detonated mine of some kind. Me, SSgt. Pierce and a couple other guys went down. One of our choppers (D Trp. 3/4 Cav. 25th Centaurs) medevaced the two of us out right away. Darrel died on the helo being worked on by one of our medics. He was one of the nicest guys I've ever known and the type who wouldn't ask one of his troops to do something he wouldn't.

Darrel, you are not forgotten. RIP, Brother. You truly were a hero.


Sylvester Shigg: Aerorifle Platoon SGT 1969. Letter to Darrel's wife:

Dear Mrs. Pierce,

I received your letter today. I was long in receiving it because I am no longer serving as Platoon Sergeant of the AeroRifle Platoon.

I must say, I, along with everyone that knew Darrel, share your loss. I am very, very proud to have known and served, in this God For Saken place, with such a person as your husband. I am proud to know he thought enough of me to have mentioned me in his letters to you.

Darrel and I were pretty close. We spent many nights talking about our hopes and our dreams of the future. I guess we were so close because we were the only married guys in the NCO hootch. I used to kid Darrel all of the time becuuse whenever, no matter how little spare moments came, he would work on the model boat that you sent him. He had all of us out looking for different colors of paint for it.

In your letter, you asked me to tell you just what happened. Since I am no longer with the "Rifles", I can only tell you what I was able to gather from the guys that I visited in the Hospital, that were in the immediate area with Darrel.

Darrel was on an operation, he spotted movement in the woodline. Everyone pulled back and gunships were called in. After rockets from the gunships were put in the area, Darrel and his people moved in. Darrel spotted a spider hole and prepared to throw a grenade in the hole. But, an enemy soldier concealed from Darrel's position threw a grenade. Darrel received a schrapnel wound in the head, along with four of this men being wounded. The medic with the "Rifles" told me that, even badly wounded, Darrel showed great concern for his men and their welfare.

Mrs. Pierce, I served with your husband. I feel I knew him as well or better than anyone over here. You, along with the rest of his family can be very, very proud of him. I earlier mentioned of our talks about our hopes and dreams of the future. He, along with every other guy over here, shared a common dream, which is that all the hardships and all the pains, that are not only suffered by the guys over here, but their families back home, will not have been suffered in vain. But will somehow, someday and in some way bring peace for all mankind all over the world.

Mrs. Pierce, before closing, let me say again, to you Darrel's wife, and his parents, he was a person you can always be proud of. I, along with all who knew him, will always be proud to have served with such a person as Darrel Pierce. Sincerely, S/Sgt. Sylvester Shigg


Diana Pierce Clark to Jim Brothers:

Darrel was my uncle.
My dad was the oldest in the family, Claude, and 19 years older than Darrel, so Darrel was a young uncle to me. I adored him and thought he was pretty wonderful. I just wanted to say thank you and that I’m it warms my heart to know that Uncle Darrel wasn’t alone when his time came. That you were with him to give him support and love at the end. I’m sorry for your loss as well. You obviously loved and cared about him to be writing on his website some 40-50 years later. The mind tries to make us forget or fades the memory of horrific events in our lives, that you still remember Darrel enough to write on his wall each year says a lot. A lot. War is such a terrible thing. I really don’t think the average person realizes this. I think they see as the economy is better or worse or bla, bla, bla. I don’t think people, in general, think of the human loss and suffering. Thank you for your service and mostly for my beloved Uncle Darrel. I’ll never forget him and I have told my kids about him and how great he was. Be in peace, you deserve that.
Diana Pierce Clark