SPANGLER, RICHARD ALLEN
SPANGLER, RICHARD ALLEN
Rank / Branch:
SP5 E-5, U.S. ARMY
25th INFANTRY DIVISI
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, SMALL ARMS
Awards & Decorations:
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RICHARD ALLEN SPANGLER, SPECIALIST FIVE, U.S. ARMY, BIG SPRING, HOWARD COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Combat Medic's Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal
Richard was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. He was the youngest child and son born to John Elmer and Lois Rogers Spangler. His father had been married before. His father's first marriage produced a son, Donald C. Spangler, who died at age 2. Richard had an older brother Gene born almost three years before. Richard's father died on April 25, 1953, when Richard was nine years old. His mother remarried to Walter B. Davis on June 24, 1955 in Corpus Christi and shortly thereafter the family moved to Big Spring and Richard attended Big Spring schools. He graduated in 1962 and joined the Army soon after. He completed basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas and AIT at Fort Sam Houston, Texas as a medic. He was assigned to as a medic to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division at Schoffield Barracks in Hawaii. His regiment mobilized to Vietnam in March 1966.
Dau Tieng, Tay Ninh Province, November 3, 1966 - elements of the 196th Infantry Brigade and the 25th Infantry Division got into a heated fight with entrenched and bunkered VC troops, a fight that grew into a full-fledged battle fought over a three-day period. Landing Zone Lima Zulu, slightly north of where the 1st Bn, 27th Infantry, fought on November 3-4, 1966, drew some of the heaviest fighting beginning after C Company, 2/27 Inf, was inserted at about 2 P.M. on Novmember 4, 1966.
C/2/27 moved south from LZ Lima Zulu, intending to link with 1/27, but moved only a few hundred meters before being stopped by VC dug into a tree line. Unable to move forward, with enemy troops infiltrating to their rear, the battalion and company commanders dead, and under fire from three sides, C/2/27 pulled together after nightfall, using a left flank displacement to get out of the "horseshoe" and avoid encirclement. The maneuver worked, and C/2/27 held out through the night amidst sporadic hand-to-hand fighting. By 1030 on 05 Nov, Alpha 1/27 fought through and relieved C/2/27.
Trinity Memorial Garden's Cemetery, Big Spring, Texas
At the same time, HHC and A Company, 2/27, were coming into LZ Lima Zulu, intending to take the VC from the rear, pounding them against the anvil formed by A/1/27 and C/2/27. It didn't work; the VC anticipated the move and the arriving troops found themselves in a "hot" LZ. As the day progressed additional forces were brought in, eventually encouraging the VC to break contact and withdraw from the field.
While the engagements cost the VC dearly, with several hundred known dead, the US infantrymen paid a high price - 50 men killed in action over the three day period. Richard Spangler was one of five medics who were killed during the battle; he died at LZ Lima Zulu on the 3rd day of the fight.
Specialist Spangler was buried with full military honors in the Trinity Memorial Garden's Cemetery in Big Spring, Texas. He was survived by his mother and step father of Big Spring, his older brother Gene, who was serving with the U.S. Army in Italy and his half brothers, Ray and Johnny Davis of his parent's home.
His step father passed away on November 30, 1992 and his mother passed away October 1, 2009 in Denver City, Texas. His step father is buried next to Richard and his mother about 50 feet away. His brother, Gene and wife live in Las Vegas, Nevada, his half brother Ray Davis and wife live in Fort Worth and half brother Johnny lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.