CUTBIRTH, KENDELL DEWAYNE
CUTBIRTH, KENDELL DEWAYNE
Rank / Branch:
SSG E-6, USMC
3RD MARINE DIVISION
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, EXPLOSIVE D
Awards & Decorations:
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list by County
KENDELL DEWAYNE CUTBIRTH, STAFF SERGEANT, USMC, ODESSA, ECTOR COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Purple Heart, Marine Corp Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one Campaign Star, Vietnam Campaign, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palm, Vietnam Honor Medal 2/c (Meritorious), Sharpshooter Badges-Rifle and Pistol Medal
Kendell was born in Midland, Texas. He was the youngest child of Mrs and Mrs. Clyde E. Cutbirth. His family described him as a "late life" baby, as his six older brothers and sisters were much older and his next sibling, a brother was 10 years older. Before Kendell started to school the family moved to Odessa.
Kendell attended Lamar and Rusk Elementaries in Odessa, where he completed the first six grades of school. The family suffered many life tragedies. Kendell's oldest brother, Lynn, was robbed and murdered in 1949 and his older sister, Iva Jo, was burned to death in a housefire in 1952.
When Kendell was getting ready to start junior high school, the family moved back to Midland and Kendell attended San Jacinto Junior High School. His older brother Otis, states Kendell was not a good student, he was not a disciple problem, he just did not like school. After he completed the ninth grade, Kendell did not return to high school. Kendell got a series of jobs working on farms and was waiting for his 17th birthday in order to go into the Marine Corp. His brother, Otis was in the Marines and Kendell was to follow his example. The family stated Kendell wanted to be his own boss and the irony was that he joined the toughest branch of the service, where there were many bosses and extremely tough disciple.
Young Marine Recruit-1960
As soon as Kendell turned 17, in April 1960, he joined the Marine Corp with his parent's permission. On his physical for entry, Kendell was noted to be 5 feet 7 1/2 inches tall and was 57 lbs underweight at 117 lbs. However it did not detract Kendell, and he completed recruit training at the Marine Corp Recruit Training Depot, San Diego, California and then completed infantry training at Camp Pendleton, California. He did overseas assignments in Okinawa and Subic Bay, Phillipines. Kendell had intended on making the Marine Corp his career. His brother Otis indicated Kendell took to the Marine Corp like a duck to water and he was a Marine's Marine. In 1963, he re-enlisted for six years.
He met the former Judy Dyson of Odessa, his future wife while home on leave. Actually Judy indicates he was the uncle to her brother's wife. Judy indicated when she saw him in his Marine Corp blues, it was love at first site. Judy was a student at Odessa High School and after her sophomore year, she and Kendell married in a civil ceremony in the home of Kendell's sister in Midland, May 1963. Judy states that she and Kendell then moved to New Port, Rhode Island where Kendell was performing guard duties as a member of the Marine Barracks at the Naval Base. Kendell was a guard at the disciplinary brig and also did other guard duties. His medical records shows that he was once injured subduing a prisoner. In October 1964, their daughter Kim was born. Judy did not want Kim to be born in Rhode Island so as her due date approached, Judy caught a bus and traveled for several days so that Kim could be born in Odessa. Later in 1964, Kendell received temporary (compassionate)orders to the Midland, Texas Marine Corp Reserve Center, as his father was seriously ill with cancer. He and Judy remained there until his father passed away in early 1965. Judy and Kendell then returned to New Port, Rhode Island.
Kendell went up the ranks in the Marine Corp and in the summer of 1965, he was promoted to Staff Sergeant E-6. Kendell then received orders to report to 29 Palms, California to await orders for overseas deployment. At the time, Judy states he had the choice of three assignments, Okinawa, Hawaii or Vietnam. Since Kendell was a career Marine, he opted for the assignment for Vietnam in order to get it behind him. Judy and Kim remained in Odessa. Judy indicates that Kendell's mother moved in with her in Odessa as she was a recent widow.
Kendell and Daugher, Kim 1966-Before Vietnam
Kendell departed for Vietnam in late November 1966. He was assigned as a right guide with B Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. This unit had been known as the "Walking Dead." In a later received by his brother some nine days before his death, Kendell wrote of his experiences in Vietnam in the three months he was there. Kendell wrote that his unit had come to their AO, "Area of Operations" by AmTrac. This was about 4 miles south of the DMZ, and about 15 miles east of Laos. This area was known as Khe Shan. He indicated he was hairy when they first landed. He wrote of many occassions where they were operating, they had many contacts with the enemy. He indicated on one occasion, the VC had been attempting to probe their camp by fire and use of mortars and rockets. One one occasion, he indicated he felt a bullet fly by his head so close that he could feel the heat from it. He stated he jumped into a hole and fell on top of some of his marines. He wrote, "The VC have to do better than that to get a Cutbirth." He wrote of losing his men in fire fights and on one occasion, he lost three from a friendly fire situation.
Sunset Memorial Gardens, Odessa,Tx
Kendell was killed by a mortar that landed near him while on patrol during hostile action on February 25, 1967. Kendell suffered massive wounds to his right side of his body and lower extremities. He was killed instantly from the description of the after action report. Kendell's body was returned to Odessa where he was buried with full military honors at Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery.
Kendell's older sister, Billie Marie Andrews of Midland passed away in 1986 and his mother passed away in 1995. Kendell is survived by his daughter, Kim Legg who is a cardiac care nurse in Odessa. She is married to Jim Legg and is the mother of two children, daughter, Chandra Williams and son, Kendell McClendon. Judy Holt, Kendell's widow, remarried, has a son Troy, but is now divorced. She continues to live in Odessa. Kendell is also survived by his older sister, Esta Lee Allen of Midland, Texas; his brother Eddie J. of San Angelo, Texas and a brother Otis R. Cutbirth of Midland, Texas.
Judy wonders tearfully as to what kind of husband Kendell would have continued to be, what kind of father, grandfather and great grandfather he would have become.