LEWIS, EARL LEROY
Rank / Branch:
PFC E-3, U.S. M.C.
FIRST MARINE DIVISIO
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, SMALL ARMS
Awards & Decorations:
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list by County
EARL LEROY LEWIS, PRIVATE FIRST CLASS, USMC, ODESSA, ECTOR COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
Earl Lewis was born August 8, 1949 in Alturas, California. Earl was the third child of six born to Mr. and Mrs. Roy Lewis. The family moved to Odessa in 1951 when Earl was two years old. As a child Earl like to roam around the neighborhood. Neighbors remember him playing kick the can in the street and playing military with his friends. Earl used to tell everyone when he got old enough he was going to be a marine. Earl like to run around barefoot and shirtless. He attended Alamo Elementary, Bonham Junior High and Odessa High School.
Odessa High School-1966
During Earl's junior year in high school he began to hang around the Marine Corp Recruiter's office asking questiona. He finally decided to drop out of school and with his parent's consent, he enlisted in Marines on March 23, 1967. He was 17. He completed boot camp at the Marine Corp Recruit Training Depot in San Diego, California and ITR at Camp Pendleton, California.
He departed for Vietnam on November 12, 1967 after a 21 day leave at home. Earl was assigned as a rifleman with L Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. The day after Christmas 1967, the 3rd Battalion was involved in Operation Badger Tooth. Earl's "L" Company landed in LVT's in Thanh Tham Khe, which were a series of villages along the coastal areas in the Quang Tri Province. This was the beginning of the operation. The purpose of the operation was to clear villages who were known to be VC havens. The battalion walked into a buzz saw the following day. L Company was nearing a village at 0700 hours to begin a reconnaissance in force when a concealed enemy force opened up with a devasting volume of fire from machine guns, rifles, RPG's and mortars. Earl was killed by small arms fire during this action. At the end of the day, the 3/1 lost 49 men in the operation, 26 were from Earl's L Company. Earl had been in Vietnam six weeks.
Earl was buried with full military honors at Sunset Memorial Garden's Cemetery in Odessa, Texas. Earl was survived by his parents, his brother Sp4 Billy Lewis of the U.S. Army who was serving in Vietnam at the time of Earl's death; his older sister Judy Warren Lewis, his younger brother, Wayne Lewis, and sisters, Bea Lewis and Ann Lewis. Earl's brother Wayne drown in 1974, his father passed away in 1994 and his mother in 2008.