DOUGLAS OAKLEY FORD
Branch of Service: Marines
Honors Earned: Purple heart, Bronze Star
Service years: 1966-1971
Douglas Ford was born in 1943 and the GRHPS believes that he did not go through the Glen Rock School system. There is no record there of a Douglas Ford in any school. Douglas Ford registered for the Marines using his in-laws Glen Rock address. We do know that Captain Ford went to Wagner College in Staten Island and joined the Marine Reserves while he studied science. Upon graduation from Wagner, Ford went to Marine Officer Training School, married Carol Hergeman who's father was a minister in Glen Rock, and had a son they named Scott.
Ford successfully completed the Marine Corps 38th Officer Candidate Course with the 4th Platoon of Bravo Company. He was commissioned a Reserve Officer, but subsequently augmented as a Regular Officer on December 27, 1966, at Phu Bai, during his first tour in Vietnam, as he intended to make a career of the Corps.
At Basic School with Class 3-66, he was in the 2nd Platoon of Echo Company. Immediately prior to deploying to Vietnam for his second tour, Doug had been stationed at Marine Corps Base, Hawaii. Doug arrived in Vietnam on March 7, 1970.
Upon arrival, he was assigned as Company Commander for Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, and later was assigned as the Commanding Officer of Echo Company 2/5.
In January of 1971, 2/5 was involved in Operation Imperial Lake in the Que Son Mountains. On January 3, 1971, Captain Ford's Echo Company was extracted from the field by helicopter and moved 20 kilometers to the east to collocate with the battalion rear at LZ Baldy/Baldy Combat Base on Hill 63 (Nui Huong Que). Echo Company enjoyed a 3-day period of relaxation and rehabilitation while providing perimeter security for the battalion rear. Ford was also responsible for providing the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) for the Battalion. After their brief R&R, Ford's company resumed patrol activities.
On January 10, 1971, Echo 1 again had QRF duty. During the early morning hours, the platoon was heli-lifted to an LZ adjacent to Phu Thanh village. The operation concept called for Ford's platoon to maintain a blocking position while an attached platoon from Golf Company swept through the village.
As the sweep proceeded, Doug was airborne along with the Battalion XO, Major Cornelius Herbert Ram IV, and the Golf Company Commander to observe the progress of the sweep. At approximately 09:15, despite the fact that the Golf 1 had mine-detection dogs working with them, a Marine tripped a booby-trapped 60mm mortar round, which exploded wounding that Marine and one other.
As the Command and Control helicopter circled the operational area, the infantry officers onboard decided to have the pilot land so that they could evacuate the two wounded Marines. This approach was deemed better than calling for a separate medevac and awaiting its arrival.
Upon landing at a hasty LZ set up nearby, Major Ram immediately exited the helicopter and moved toward the casualties with Ford following. Major Ram detonated either a second more substantial booby-trap or an anti-personnel mine. Neither officer was wearing a flak jacket. Ford and Major Ram died of shrapnel wounds from the explosive device.
At the time of his death, Douglas O. Ford was survived by his wife Carol H. Ford, son Scott R. Ford, and mother He was on his second tour of duty in Vietnam and scheduled to return to the States in February of 1971, one month later.
Captain Ford was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. His parents are buried in Mount Hebron Cemetery, Upper Montclair, Essex County, New Jersey.
Born: 1942, Glen Rock, NJ
Died: 1971 Phu Thann, Republic of Vietnam