After 10 years of searching for Dennis Jones we finally located him. After we posted the story about Dennis during Tet in Kontum when he pulled an NVA soldier through a window, Bud Roach suggested we contact the local newspaper in Pocatello, ID where Dennis was from. We sent the “Ivy Leaf” article to the newspaper and after a telephone conversation with the reporter a news item ran in the Idaho Standard Journal recently as follows:
Heroic Vietnam veteran sought
Poky native served from 1967 to 1968
BY JIMMY HANCOCK
Since members of his outfit in Vietnam began holding annual reunions about 10 years ago, Fred Childs says attendance has grown more than 10-fold. But there’s one person the group is still trying to track down. He’s the solider who braved a hail of bullets and knocked a Viet Cong solider cold with one punch.
“We haven’t had any contact with Dennis (Jones) since Vietnam,” said Childs via telephone from his Pasadena, Calif., home. “We just have not been able to locate Dennis.” The only thing Childs really knows about Jones is that he was originally from Pocatello.
That first reunion of men from the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 4th Division who served in Vietnam from July of 1967 to August of 1968, consisted of five guys, Childs said. This year, at the reunion planned for June in San Antonio, Texas, he’s expecting 60 to show up. Each year, Jones is a topic of conversation. And each year, no one knows anything new about where he is. Childs says there weren’t many ways that Jones stood out. In fact, he says most of the men in the outfit, which was in a forward area much of the time, were pretty much all about business.
But there was one thing about Jones that made him legendary — something he did that even caught the attention of the U.S. Army’s journalists.
According to the story, Jones rushed an armed member of the North Vietnamese Army who was continuously firing at his outfit. “It was during the Tet Offensive in February of 1968,” Childs said. “We were in a compound in Kontum where there used to be an old language school.” The NVA had overrun Kontum and Childs and his comrades were sent there to clear the opposing forces out of the area. They were dropped into Kontum on Feb. 1, 1968, and the following day were trying to make a sweep through the old language school.
Childs said there was a sniper in the steeple of a nearby church who was shooting at them, another NVA soldier in a building shooting at them through a window and several others in a nearby field. Although they had managed to kill the sniper, and were taking fire from those men in the field, Childs says it was the NVA soldier in the building who was pinning them down.
“He just kept firing at us through a window. No matter if we fired back, he just kept firing,” Childs said.
At some point, Jones decided enough was enough. He decided someone had to do something. “All of a sudden he just took off,” Childs said of Jones. “He just got up and ran across the compound.” It was about 50 meters, or 165 feet that Jones ran to reach the NVA soldier, and when he did, there was no hesitation. “He pulled this guy out of the window and hit him,” Childs said.
In a story forwarded via email by Childs that was written about the incident at the time it happened, a fellow soldier Roger Ziegler, is quoted as saying that Jones, “pulled this North Vietnamese Army soldier right through the window and bagged him with a good hard right.” Looking back on the incident, and remembering Jones, Childs said it was something you could see Jones doing, but not something he ever did with the exception of that single incident.
Also quoted in the story is a J.R. Farmer, another member of what is known as “Charlie Company.” Both Farmer and Ziegler, Childs said, died three days later during another battle in Kontum. [Farmer is still living, Roger Ziegler KIA 4/27/1968 and Gary Campen quoted in the story KIA 2/5/1968]
Childs is hoping Jones himself, or someone who knows him, or knows of his whereabouts, will reach out to him. He has a website dedicated to Charlie Company, which he says served continuously in Vietnam from 1966 to 1972. The website, charliecompany.org, is filled with pictures of and stories about some of Charlie Company’s Vietnam veterans. Childs can be reached through that site.
Now for the rest of the story…
We received 5-6 responses from this article which I forwarded to Bud. One of them was from Dennis’s daughter. Bud contacted her and obtained the telephone number to contact him. After talking to Dennis, Bud invited him to our reunion. Dennis will be there.