A few days before second degree sunburns took him out of combat for a day or so, Terry Kilbane wrote that "It will really be a pleasure to shovel snow again
A few days before second degree sunburns took him out of combat for a day or so, Terry Joseph Kilbane wrote that "It will really be a pleasure to shovel snow again." He said the temperature in his part of Vietnam was 120. Kilbane, a 20-year-old Marine lance corporal, was a son of Joseph F. and Alice (nee Galehouse) Kilbane, 7250 Mayberry Drive, Parma. His father was a veteran Cleveland policeman, and a member of the Detective Bureau. The younger Kilbane had been with the Third Marine Division, Third Marines, in Vietnam since December 1966. He had fought in some of the fiercest battles of the war, including the bloody fight for Hill 881 in the DMZ, but had never been wounded. His letters to his parents provided a vivid picture of one man's reactions to war. These are excerpts: "I saw my first man shot today. He was 40 yards ahead of me.... When I got to him, he was already dead. He was a corporal from New Jersey and had a two month old baby he never saw." After telling about a victory: "I just can't help it. Every time I kill a man, I get a terrible feeling inside, even if he is a Viet Cong." "Just back from a patrol:.... On the outskirts of a small village we found the bodies of two men and women severely mutilated by the Viet Cong. All four had their tongues cut out. The men were castrated and the women had their breasts cut off.... The VC are animals." In a February battle, Cpl. Kilbane wrote: his platoon was outnumbered 20-1 and suffered 65% casualties in hand to hand fighting. But after Hill 881, he wrote: "I'm not going to tell you much that happened.... I want to try and forget about it. To sum it up, out of our company of 250 men there are only 26 left. And by the grace of God I'm one of them." A picture of Kilbane, not identified, appeared in the February 27, 1967 U.S. News and World Report. The young Marine attended Holy Family School, Parma, and Valley Forge High School. Born January 31, 1947, he enlisted June 29, 1966. "This Marine will go straight to heaven because he's spent his time in hell," wrote LCpl. Terry Kilbane in a letter to his parents. His father knows that Terry is right. Young Kilbane was killed July 6, 1967 by shrapnel from a mortar, five miles south of the demilitarized zone in South Vietnam. Terence was killed on what his father called a suicide mission. LCpl. Kilbane was based on the USS Tripoli off the coast and would be flown by helicopter to trouble spots where the need for help was desperate. He died presumably on such a mission near the Demilitarized Zone when mortar fragments struck him. He had been seven months in Vietnam and only a year in the Marine Corps. He enlisted shortly after graduation from Valley Forge High School in Parma, fulfilling a boyhood ambition. He hoped to go to college and study law after his discharge. He had worked summers as a "fly boy" or helper in the press room of The Press. He was survived by his parents, a sister Judy and a brother, Kevin and was the grandson of Mr. Mildred Galehouse.
LCpl. Kilbane is interred at Holy Cross Cemetery.
Information as gathered from the Cleveland Press & Plain Dealer, July 2, 7 & 14, 1967.