BARTRAM, FORREST LA WAYNE
BARTRAM, FORREST LA WAYNE
Rank / Branch:
PFC E-2, USMC
FIRST MARINE DIVISIO
Date of Birth:
Awards & Decorations:
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FORREST LA WAYNE BARTRAM, PRIVATE FIRST CLASS, USMC, MIDLAND, MIDLAND COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal
Forrest La Wayne Bartram was born in San Antonio to the union of Norma Jane Merks and Hugo Carl Bartram. He had an older sister Janet from his parent's marriage and a younger, brother Hugo C. Bartram, Jr from his father's second marriage. His mother died in 1957 when Forrest was 8. He was adopted by Rita Houghling of Midland, Texas. His father died March 31, 1966. In Midland, he attended Midland High School. As soon as he graduated at midterm and turned 18 in February, 1967, he returned to San Antonio to enlist in the Marine Corp.
He completed his boot camp at the United States Marine Corp Recruit Station at San Diego, California. He then completed ITR at Camp Pendleton, California and received special weapons training. He began his tour in Vietnam on December 29, 1967, staging at Okinawa until his 19th birthday. He was assigned to the Special Weapons Platoon of Mike ompany, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, First Marine Division. He arrived in Vietnam in February 1968 after his 19th birthday during the 1968 TET offensive.
He was assigned to the rocket squad, which was a slang term for a "3.5" rocket launcher. This was really a Korean War vintage bazooka. This weapon was primarily for use against tanks, but during this phase of the war, the enemy were not using tanks. As such the weapons was being used to fire at snipers in trees and blow up hootches and bunkers where fire was coming from. Two Marines formed a team with one loading and the other aiming and firing the weapon. PFC Bartram was assigned intially as an assistant gunner and finally as a gunner.
In camoflauge, Vietnam 1967
In early May, 1968, Mike Company was involved in a mission during Operation Houston II. The company stumbled onto a huge North Vietnamese Regimental Base Camp in Thua Thien Province at Hai Van Pass, Hill 1192. This battle became known as the Battle of Hai Van Pass. For six days, Mike company slugged it out with the NVA, they were outnumbered and outgunned. Mike Company was decimated suffering 70% casualities. Due to the vast and dense vegetation, it was difficult to get choppers in to medevac the wounded. PFC Bartram helped to blow a LZ on the last day. He survived this ordeal.
Rocket Squad, Vietnam-Forest in front holding rocket-1967
On May 16, the reminants of Mike Company were in the base camp, resupplying, cleaning weapons and receiving replacements. PFC Bartram was cleaning a 3.5 rocket launcher and he apparently failed to removed the live round from the tube. The launcher discharged the rocket in the barracks and PFC Bartram was killed by the backblast.
In Okinawa, before Departing for Vietnam
PFC Forrest La Wayne Bartram, a 19 year old marine was laid to rest with full military honors at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas