Private First Class James Jerry Shows
81mm Mortar Platoon
Battalion Landing Team 2/26
PFC James Jerry Shows. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
Private First Class James Jerry Shows, Pass Christian, Mississippi, age 19.
Died October 11, 1968, aboard the USS Sanctuary of wounds he received in the first day's mortar battle on LZ Margo.
PFC James Shows Remembered
"PFC Shows had spent weeks aboard ship on a work detail while the rest of us were in the field and when he rejoined the platoon, he had lost some of his physical conditioning.
"On his first hump in the bush carrying a couple of 81mm mortar rounds, he struggled to keep up and Gunny Fabyunkey and I had to "encourage" him in the time-honored Marine way.
"But in the weeks before Margo he worked hard to improve himself and by the time we landed there he was a trusted member of his gun squad. I kept my eye on him, intending at the right time to give him a pat on the back for his efforts.
"He was with his squad bringing ammo to their gun in the midst of awful incoming fire when he sustained his severe wounds. When his squad-mates brought him to the LZ for medevac, he was conscious, but struggling for breath.
"I held his hand for long minutes and talked to him, told him how proud we all were of him, how he had come through for us when we needed it most.
"In all my life I have never had a more profound conversation than with that gravely wounded Marine who was unable to answer me. It felt so important to tell him that he had done well.
"The overloaded Medevac chopper took him away with the other badly wounded men and he died aboard the hospital ship three weeks later. And fifty years later I recall with perfect clarity kneeling beside him on the LZ, having a heart-breaking one-way conversation with a dying man."
81mm Mortar Platoon, BLT 2/26