Lieutenant David Lee Sackett
|Father||Frederick Milton Sackett (1912-1989)|
|Mother||Dora Lee Kroger (1917-2008)|
David served as a First Lieutenant in the US Army. He began a tour of duty in the Binh Duong province of Vietnam on 27 July 1969 as an infantry unit commander in A Company, 12th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion. He was wounded in action and died in a helicopter taking him to a medical facility on 24 October 1969.3,4
Those Who Served War Museum honors sacrifices
By Charles Boothe, Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Princeton—Before West Point graduate and Welch native Lt. David L. Sackett was sent to Vietnam in 1969, he had just married and after a few months in the war zone was getting ready to fly to Hawaii to finally have what the military calls "R & R" (Rest and Recuperation) with his young bride.
He was wounded just before he was to fly out and died on a helicopter on his way for medical help in October 1969.
Tony Whitlow, founder and director of the Those Who Served War Museum at the Memorial Building in Princeton, now has Lt. Sackett's cadet uniform, overcoat, parade hat, medals, including the Silver Star and Purple Heart, and other memorabilia on display in the West Point section of the museum.
Whitlow said when Sackett's mother, Dora Lee Sackett, died, she expressly wanted these items to go into the museum.
The display at the museum has attracted a lot of attention, including from one of Sackett's classmates at West Point, retired Lt. Col. James R. Swinney of Maggie Valley, N.C.
Swinney said in a letter to Whitlow that he and his wife visited the museum recently and were very pleased to see the entire collection presented in a "dignified and professional manner."
"I enjoy military history and have toured many Civil War, WWI and WWII battlefields and can say Those Who Served War Museum in Princeton, W.Va. is a real gem," he said.
Swinney said he and Sackett met on that "fateful morning in the area known as the Iron Triangle."
"Later, after his unit was pinned down by heavy enemy fire, my cavalry platoon was ordered to relieve his unit, extract the casualties and take the remnants to a secure night defensive position," he said in the letter.
But Sackett did not survive.
Swinney joined others recently to write "Grip Hands," a book that honors 20 of his West Point fallen classmates.
"Our chapter covered Dave's years of growing up in Welch with another graduate, Randy Pais, his cadet years with his roommate, Jess Gatlin, and finally his three months in Vietnam, which I wrote," Swinney said. "We have been able to reach out to some of his men from Vietnam and get stories and pictures never seen before. After we finished, I called Tony to see if he would like a copy of the final draft to go with Dave's display."
That copy of the final draft is also on display in the West Point section.
"We felt David's encouragement during the project, giving us permission to tell his story in the best way we could," Swinney said. "His men certainly wanted to tell their stories about their beloved lieutenant and we were proud to help them."
Whitlow said Pais has also visited the museum.
In a letter to Swinney in 1996, Dora Sackett described her son as "always thoughtful, loving, kind, generous, proud and Godly. I’ll also say, to know him was to love him."
"After that firefight he was to go back to his base, get on a plane and go to Hawaii," Whitlow said of Sackett, and his wife would be there. "It was romantic and tragic. He was only 23 years old."
After he was killed, his mother later moved to Princeton and called Whitlow and told him she wanted her son's things to go to the museum.
"All of this is in immaculate condition," Whitlow said. "She took very good care of it."
He said after she died, her caretaker came to see him and told him Dora Sackett had left "explicit instructions" to bring her son's military items to him.
—Bluefield Daily Telegraph (online), Bluefield, WV, 11 Nov 2021.
Pamela Stokes Married In West Point Chapel
At a ceremony in the Cadet Chapel, United States Military Academy, West Point, N. Y., on Saturday, Miss Pamela Jane Stokes, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Donald E. Stokes of Seminole Way became the bride of David Lee Sackett, Lieutenant, United States Army. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Milton Sackett of Welch, W.Va.
Chaplain James D. Ford officiated at the ceremony which was followed by a reception at the Officer's Club.
Given in marriage by her father, the bride wore a gown of candlelight peau d'ange lace and silk faille with a chapel length train and a matching full length lace mantilla. She carried a cascade bouquet of white roses and gypsophilia.
Miss Joan Anderson of Sagamore Road was maid of honor. Bridesmaids were the bride's sisters, Mrs. H. William Lewis of Ann Arbor, Mich, and Mrs. Sanford M. Reece Jr. of Loring Air Force Base, Me., and Miss Sandra Reece of Portland, Ore. and Miss Janet Christie of Short Hills. Miss Deborah Lewis, niece of the bride, was flower girl. The attendants were gowned in lime green linen and carried cascade bouquets of yellow carnations.
Lt. Michael Selvitelle of Morehead City, N.C. served as best man. Ushers were Mr. Lewis, Captain Reece Jr., Frederick M. Sackett Jr., brother of the bridegroom, and Peter Villani of Welch. Six West Point cadets served as saber bearers.
Mrs. Sackett, a 1965 graduate of Millburn High School, attended the University of Denver. Her husband graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1968.
The couple will reside in Killeen.Tex.
—The Item of Millburn and Short Hills, Millburn, New Jersey, 24 Apr 1969, p 18.
Notes & Citations
- Thurmon King's database.
- "U.S. Veterans Gravesites", database, Ancestry.com, "Sackett, David L, b. 8 Oct 1946, d. 24 Oct 1969, aged 23, bur. Arlington National Cemetery, C/O Director Arlington, VA 22211, Section 46 Site 334-4, 6 Nov 1969, notes: 1Lt U.S.A."
- "U.S., Vietnam War Military Casualties, 1956-1998", digital image, Ancestry.com, "David Lee Sackett, b. 8 Oct 1946, d. Republic of Vietnam, 24 Oct 1969, age 23, of Welch, WV, tour start 27 Jul 1969, First Lieutenant, US Army, A Co, 12th Inf, 2nd Bn, military region 3 - Binh Duong, occupation Infantry Unit Commander."
- "U.S., Vietnam War Military Casualties, 1956-1998", digital image, Ancestry.com, "David Lee Sackett, b. 8 Oct 1946, d. Republic of Vietnam, 24 Oct 1969, age 23, of Welch, WV, Methodist (also Evangelical United Brethren), married, casualty hostile - killed, multi-fragment wounds, ground casualty, body recovered, First Lieutenant, US Army, A Co, 12th Inf, 2nd Bn, province Military Region 3 - Binh Duong, occupation Infantry Unit Commander."
|See also||Thurmon King's Database, 32466|
|Appears in||Sacketts in the Military|
|Last Edited||3 Jan 2022|