STALL, WILLIAM ROBB
STALL, WILLIAM ROBB
Rank / Branch:
LCPL E-3, USMC
THIRD MARINE DIVISIO
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, MORTAR ROUND
Awards & Decorations:
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WILLIAM ROBB STALL, LANCE CORPORAL, USMC, MIDLAND, MIDLAND COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Bronze Star with "V" device, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
William Robb Stall was born in Midland, Texas to Virginia Bell and Trovacc Layfette Stall. He grew up in Midland and attended Midland schools. Everyone knew him by his middle name of Robb. While at Midland High School, he played cornet in the MHS band, he was active in the E. 100 Club, Junior Council, Stage Craft Club; he was the editor of a student publication, "The Candle in the Wind," his junior and senior years. He was also a member of the Latin Honor Society, The Medical Career's Club and was a Rotarian. He was a 1965 graduate of Midland High School. He attended the University of Texas in Austin for a year.
He enlisted in the Marine Corp in February 1967. He completed boot camp at the Marine Corp Recruit Training Depot at San Diego, California. He then completed his ITR at Camp Pendleton, California and then completed Artillery Scout Observer School, also at Camp Pendleton. He married Florence Ann Yeager of Midland on August 1, 1967 at the Camp Pendleton Chapel, in California.
Midland High School-1965
He departed for his tour in Vietnam September 22, 1967. He was assigned to India Battery, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. He was further assigned in his military specialty to Mike Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division as an Artillery Forward Observer. He was killed by a mortar round on January 18, 1968 in the northernmost Quang Tri Province, 3,000 meters NE of Con Thien. He had been in Vietnam four months.
The 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines Command Chronology for January 1968 contains an extensive description of the bitter fighting that occurred in the area of the Marketplace, approximately 3,000 meters NE of Con Thien on 18 January 1968. The Marketplace was a location of previously destroyed buildings near the crossing of two trails, which had been the site of previous vicious fighting between the Marine units and the NVA. A previous battle had taken place in July 1967 when Marines of the 1/9 had been ambushed there.
On 18 January, 1968, Mike Company 3/4 was part of a two company operation in conjunction with Lima Company 3/4. Mike 3/4 was designated as the blocking force while Lima 3/4 was the sweeping company. Mike Company moved out early in the pre-dawn and established their positions so that they could stop any NVA forces trying to excape Lima's sweep. Accompanying Mike 3/4 was the Battalion Command Group, let by Lt.Colonel Bendell.
Once in positiion, in preparation for a possible upcoming battle, Mike's Artillery FO, L/Cpl William Robb Stall, registered a preparatory grid location for a "artillery fire mission" at a likely ambush location. This prep fire registration would soon become a lifeline that would help Lima survive the battle. At 0930, Mike Company observed NVA moving towards Lima's patrol route and notified Lima throught the Battalion Command Group. Shortly after that an AO (Aerial Observer) on station notified Lima of 3 NVA sitting on a small hill 300 meters east of their patrol route. Because of the terrain, Lima couldn't see the reported NVA but altered their patrol route toward this hill. A few minutes later, Lima would engage and kill these NVA soldiers and would be advised by the AO that he could not see any other NVA troops in the area. Lima then resumed their patrol route and at 0945 were taken under fire by a well concealed NVA force initially thought to be of platoon size. It quickly became apparent to the Mike Company Marines that his was not the case. They observed the "whole countryside" rise up and surround Lima Company, cutting the 1st platoon in half in the process. Lima had walked into an ambush of estimated battalion strenght. As the battle began, Mike 3/4 and the Battalion Command Group came under heavy NVA artillery, rockets and mortars from North Vietnam. L/Cpl Stall realizing the danger that Lima was in and the danger of them being overrun, immediately positioned himself so that he could contact the Lima FO and offer his help. L/Cpl Stall then called for a white smoke round on his registered grid location so that the Lima FO couls dee where it landed, and the LIma FO made the necessary corrections and took control of the fire mission immediately bringing artillery fire down on the advancing NVA foreces. This quick action by L/Cpl Stall saved many Lima Company Marines lives, but it came at a price, L/Cpl Stall in his exposed position took a direct hit by an NVA mortar and was killed.
After approximately 3 hours of vicious fighting, Lima wa able to rrecover the cut off forward elements of their 1st Platoon (which included the arty FO that L/Cpl Stall had handed his fire mission to) and consolidate their positions. At this time the Battalion Command Group and Mike Company having been apprised that Lima Company could hold their position but not withdraw because of the number of casualties, started the 500 meter trek to Lima's position. To do this, they would have to fight their way through well entrenched NVA troops still trying to destroy Lima.
After reaching Lima, Mike provided security and assistance for Lima to bring their dead and wounded back to the Battalion perimeter. The days action had cost the lives of 10 men from Lima, including two Corpsman and L/Corp William Robb Stall of India Battery.
For his actions, on 18 January 1968, L/Cpl William Robb Stall was awarded a posthumously Bronze Star with combat valor "V" device.
At every Battalion reunion, Robb Stall is fondly remembered by those from Mike's Company and those from Lima whose lives he helped to save.
Lance Corporal William Robb Stall was buried with full military honors at Resthaven Cemetery in Midland, Texas. He was survived by his wife, Florence Ann Stall, his parents, his brothers, David and Richard and his sisters Susan, Emily Stall Hughes and Kay Stall Kerns.
Resthaven Cemetery, Midland, TX