3rd Platoon, A Company, 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry, 2nd Brigade Bien Hoa Province – February 21, 1967

Alpha company

Memorial by Mike Cramer – January 11, 2001

Jim and I lived across the street from each other from the time that we were five years old until we were drafted into the Army. We grew up together in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California. We both attended Panorama Baptist Church; we played on the same softball team; Jim and I went camping and hiking together. We were best friends.

I can remember coming home from junior high school and spending the afternoons playing stick ball, with a tennis ball and broomstick. Three or four of us would play until it was dark or until our Mom’s were hollering for us to come in for dinner.

Jim and I graduated from John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley, California, I was attending a trade school and working at a car dealership and Jim was taking a couple of classes at junior college and working for Vons Market. We had discussed enlisting in the Army on the buddy system, but we decided to wait for the draft because it was only a two-year commitment. Jim and I were both drafted on May 17, 1966, went to Fort Ord for seven days and then to Fort Riley, Kansas as the 9th Infantry Division was reactivated for training and then service in Viet Nam. Jim ended up in A Company and I went to C Company in the 4th Battalion of the 47th Infantry. Jim really excelled in the Army and he immediately became a squad leader in Basic Training. He was still that when we disembarked from the troop ship, General John Pope in Vung Tau Harbor, South Viet Nam on February 1, 1967.

^Burbank, California Airport  December, 1966 – Mike Cramer and Jim Adams headed back to Fort Riley prior shipping out to Viet Nam.

Patrolling near the rubber plantations outside of Camp Bear Cat on February 21, 1967, Jim was killed by a Viet Cong booby trap. He was the first fatality of the 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. I can still remember that day so vividly. My platoon, the 2nd Platoon, was also on patrol when I heard about A Company casualties – it was my first operation as a Radio Telephone Operator, hence I was monitoring radio communications. When we returned to Camp Bear Cat that evening, a friend, Jim Weingardner, informed me that my life long best friend Jim had been killed. I was shocked!

Jim was such a great friend and an excellent, dedicated soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. It’s really too bad that more people do not recognize the sacrifices that were made in Viet Nam.

Jim’s best friend forever,

Mike Cramer