NEARY, JOHN RUNYAN II
NEARY, JOHN RUNYAN II
Rank / Branch:
PFC E-3, U. S. Army
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, SMALL ARMS
Awards & Decorations:
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JOHN RUNYAN NEARY II, PRIVATE FIRST CLASS, U.S. ARMY, ODESSA, ECTOR COUNTY TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Combat Infantryman's Badge, Parachute Wings, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense Medal
John Runyan Neary II was born in Florence, Alabama. He was the oldest child born to John Runyan and Jennievieve Neary. John went by "Ronnie" as Mrs. Neary indicated she did not want to call him "Junior" and "Ronnie" was short for his middle name of Runyan. He had two younger sisters and one younger brother. The family moved from Alabama to Middlebush, New Jersey before Ronnie started to school. He went the first five grades of school in Middlebush. The family moved to Odessa in 1958 when Mr. Neary located a job with an oilfield service company. He had been a butcher in New Jersey and working in freezers caused physical problems. Ronnie attended the 6th grades at Alamo (now Gale Pond/Alamo Elementary). He attended Crockett Junior High School for the 7th and the 8th and 9th grades at Hood Junior High School, when it was opened in 1960. Ronnie then attended and graduated from Permian High School in 1965. He was a member of the 2nd Baptist Church of Odessa.
John had a passion for reading. In the fall of 1965, Ronnie enrolled and attended Hardin Simmon's University in Abilene, Texas. He wanted to either go to medical school or be a writer. He was in the ROTC program at Hardin Simmons. He completed two years. After his sophomore year, in the fall of 1967, Ronnie volunteered for the draft. He completed his basic and AIT training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He was scheduled to do his jungle and parachute training but elected to do it in Vietnam.
Ronnie departed for Vietnam February 14, 1968. He joined "A" Company, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division in country. He completed his jump training while in Vietnam at the in-country jump training center at Dian, South Vietnam.
During the TET offensive in South Vietnam which began late January 1968, the First Brigade of the 82nd Airborne and its 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment were mobilized to Vietnam to deal with the aftermath. This mobilization took place on February, 1968 and Ronnie joined the 82nd upon arrival. On May 1, 1968, Ronnie was in the second platoon and they were on a recon patrol through a village near Da Nang. As the patrol came through the village, small arms fire started coming from the opposite side of a canal. Ronnie was hit with the first few bursts of gun fire. A medic went forward to give aid and he was killed. Two other soldiers attempted to give Ronnie aid until a medevac helicoter could reach them. In the process of setting up a LZ, the enemy started mortaring the area and the medevac was unable to make it into the small LZ. When a replacement medic was able to make into the area by jeep, Ronnie was already dead.
PFC Neary was buried with full military honors at Sunset Memorial Garden's Cemetery in Odessa, Texas near many others from Odessa who perished in Vietnam. He was one of six in his graduating class to perish in Vietnam. His classmates were: Bobby L. Eaton, USMC; Randall Jarrell, USMC; Dale Farris, U.S.Air Force; Michael Gladden, U.S. Army Paratrooper; and Marvin Rex Young, U.S. Army (Medal of Honor)
John was survived by his parents, his younger sister Helen Louise, younger brother Bruce and his youngest sister, Rose Marie.
Ronnie's father passed away in 1998 and is buried next to Ronnie. His mother now lives with his younger sister, Rose Marie Yarbrough in Odessa and remains active. She volunteers for the local AARP chapter. Bruce Neary, his younger brother lives in Houston and works as a banker. His sister, Helen Louise Wolfe lives in Clovis, New Mexico.
Sunset Memorial Gardens, Odessa, Tx