CAPS UNIT-3RD MARINE
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, MULTIPLE FR
Awards & Decorations:
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JOE GILLESPIE, STAFF SERGEANT, USMC, MIDLAND, MIDLAND COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Purple Heart, Marine Corp Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, South Pacific Service Medal (World War II), WWII Victory Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal
Joe Gillespie was born in McCamey, Upton County, Texas and was primarily raised in El Paso, Texas. He was one of six children born to Charlie and Lea Gillespie. His parents divorced and his mother remarried and moved to Midland, Texas. He had lied about his age and first entered the Marine Corp in 1945 as a 15 year old on a forged birth certificate. He served one year and returned to high school. He attended Austin High School in El Paso. After high school, he entered the Marine Corp Reserves and served stateside during the Korean War. He re-entered the USMC during the early days of the Vietnam War, being called up as a member of the Marine Corp reserves. His unit was in San Antonio, Texas. He was married and the father of four children. He was living in El Paso when he was called to active duty and entered active duty through San Antonio.
He joined the CAPS program in Vietnam and his unit of assignment was Subunit 4, Hq Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. He was with CAPS units A-6 and A-9. He was killed September 11, 1967 when his A-6 compound was overrun at 3 A.M. The CAP Alpha-6 compound was located at Ga Xe Lua village, located on Highway QL-1 about halfway between Hue and Phu Bai. The attackers penetrated the perimeter, killed five Marines, seriously wounded 13 others (10 Marines, 3 PFs), and effectively destroyed the buildings and equipment within the compound before they withdrew, leaving eight of their dead behind.
Fort Bliss National Cemttery, El Paso, Texas
SSG Gillespie was buried with full military honors at Fort Bliss National Cemetery in El Paso, Texas. He was survived by his wife, Bernice and his four children, a daughter and three sons. He was also survived by his father of Prescott, Arizona and his mother, Mrs. Lea Workman of Midland.