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Roach, Terence R. Sr.
Smith, Helen Lydia Roberts
Roach, Terry (Terence) Jr.


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O'Connor, Lynn Ellen

Roach, Terry (Terence) Jr.

  • Born: 2 Sep 1942, Detroit, Wayne, Michigan USA
  • Died: 8 Feb 1968, Khe Sanh, Vietnam

bullet  General Notes:

Terence Raymond Roach Jr. was born 2 Sep 1942 in Detroit. He graduated from Birmingham Seaholm high school. The following is written by his wife Lynn O'Connor Fifer,

On left Terry and Lynn in the summer of 1967 at Quantico Marine Base
On the rightTerry and Lynn wedding photo in May of 1967

The following is written by his wife Lynn O'Connor Roach Fifer, "We met in college, on the lawn in front of State Hall at Wayne State University in 1965...he had a big bushy beard, wore a kilt and sang Irish folk songs, quite a contrast to the clean shaven, squared away Marine he became. Folk music was big in the 60's, and I was just beginning to get interested in Irish music. Terry's family is Irish ands Scots descent on both sides. There was a folk group on campus, and I heard him sing Irish songs there before I actually met him. He was a colorful character and loved to ham it up. For some one so bright, he wasn't much of a student though, except in history.

He was an enlisted Marine first, in the reserves, but wanted to become an officer. I wonder if he would have bothered to finish college if it hadn't been his ticket to a commission. And if he hadn't returned to college he never would have met me and I'd be telling a whole different story here! He received his commission as a 2d lieutenant in the spring of 1967, and we were married at St. Mary's of Redford in Detroit on May 13, 1967, the same church where I was baptized and my parents were married.

I hadn't finished college, but he was Infantry and we knew he'd go to Vietnam, so wanted to be married before he left. From June to November of that year we lived in base housing in Quantico, Virginia, while he attended TBS...The Basic School. I thought he was kidding - the T is really for The??? :-) It was. He graduated from officer training in November and immediately received his orders for WestPac...Vietnam.

He left for Vietnam on November 30, 1967. He served with A Company 1/9, 3rd Marine Division. He was killed in combat February 8, 1968 at Khe Sanh, Vietnam, and received the Bronze Star for valor."


The Khe Sanh Siege lasted from January 21st to April 8th 1968. The following is a brief history of the conflict:

On Jan. 21, 1968, elements of 3rd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment, came under heavy mortar, rocket and artillery fire at the Khe Sanh Combat Base in Quang Tri province, Republic of South Vietnam. In the initial volley, both of the base ammunition dumps were hit by incoming artillery destroying most of the Marines’ ordnance supply. The bombardment was constant, making resupply life-risking. The Marines had 77 arduous days of hell ahead of them. In order to keep Marines fighting, Col. David E. Lownds, the base commander, estimated by mid-January that 60 tons of supplies per day were needed. This figure was later raised to 185 tons after reinforcements arrived. Delivery of supplies was inhibited by impassible of nearby major roads and winter monsoon weather. Aircraft were subjected to anti-aircraft fire on approach and take-off, as well as North Vietnamese army mortar and artillery fire after landing. Despite the tremendous challenges, Marines found a solution with the “super gaggle,” massing 12 A-4 Skyhawk fighter-bombers to provide suppression and 12-16 helicopters to bring in supplies.

In response to the events at Khe Sanh, the U.S. Seventh Air Force initiated Operation Niagara, Jan. 22, 1968, an extensive bombing campaign where Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy pilots flew more than 24,000 combat missions, dropping 103,000 tons of explosives on NVA positions surrounding the base. One type of air strike, known as an arc light, utilized B-52F Stratofortress bombers and their 30-ton ordnance capacity to blanket the enemy in pure destruction. “We had around nine arc lights a day, along with 200 to 300 sorties,” said retired Col. Richard D. Camp Jr., company commander of Company L, 3rd Bn., 26th Marines, who was a captain at the time. “It felt like there was hardly a daylight moment where there wasn’t an aircraft flying around.”

Various strategic hills and villages around the base were also hit hard by North Vietnamese troops, causing a high number of casualties. The village of Lang Vei, where a Special Forces camp was located, was overrun by NVA troops and tanks. “The worst of Khe Sanh was at the village of Lang Vei,” said former Marine Lawrence W. Hale, a Khe Sanh veteran. “The whole village, children and all, were killed. I listened and relayed their messages asking for help. The sounds of their desperation still echo in my ears, as if I still had my headset on.” Throughout the siege, Marines enhanced their defenses daily patrols, halting enemy probes and effectively holding off NVA forces, in conjunction with air and indirect fire support. Operation Pegasus, a plan to send a relief force of Army, Marine and South Vietnamese army units, began in April 1, 1968. At 8 a.m., April 8, elements of the Army’s 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, entered the Khe Sanh Combat Base, officially relieving the Marines. “We were able to wash the red dirt of Khe Sanh from our bodies,” said Hale. “However, the memories will always be with us. Memories of all who fought – many gave away all of their tomorrows. Some came home with scars deep in their hearts.” - From the - Marine Magazine

The Battle for Hill 64

The following is from "THE BATTLE FOR KHE SANH" complied by the U.S. Marine's History and Museum Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington D.C. Also on the morning of 8 February, elements of the 1O1D irnent, 325C Division launched the first daylight attack against the 26th Marines.At 0420, a reinforced battalion with the 1st Platoon, P11/9, which occupied Hill 64 some 500 meters west of the 1/9 perimeter. Following their usual pattern, the North Vietnamese tried to disrupt the Marines' artillery support with simultaneous bombardment of the base. To prevent friendly reinforcements from reaching the small hill the enemy also shelled the platoon's parent unit and, during the fight, some 350 mortar and artillery rounds fell on the 1/9 positions. The NVA assault troops launched a two-pronged attack against the northwestern and western corners of the A/1/9 outpost and either blew the barbed wire with bangalore torpedoes or threw canvas on top of the obstacles and rolled over them. The enemy soldiers poured into the trenchline and attacked the bunkers with RPGs and satchel charges. They also emplaced machine guns at the edge of the penetrations and pinned down those Marines in the eastern half of the perimeter who were trying to cross over the hill and reinforce their comrades. The men in the northeastern sector, led by the platoon commander, Second Lieutenant Terence R. Roach, Jr., counterattacked the North Vietnamese.

The following is from "THE BATTLE FOR HILL 64" by Radcliffe/Widner; "The men in the northeastern sector, led by platoon commander, Second Lieutenant Terence R. Roach, Jr. counterattacked down the trench line and became engaged in savage hand-to-hand fighting. While rallying his troops and directing fire from atop an exposed bunker, Lieutenant Roach was mortally wounded."

Lt. Roach received the "BONZE STAR WITH VALOR" for his actions in Vietnam.

2nd Lt Terry (Terence) Roach in Khe Sanh in January of 1968.

The following is from a blog by Col John Mitchell - THE BATTLE FOR HILL 64

The 1st Battalion 9th Marines was hurriedly moved from Camp Evans and transported by helicopter to the Khe Sanh Combat Base on January 22, 1968. It was an unexpected move. Some of our units were out in the field and needed to be brought to Camp Evans by chopper to get ready that day to saddle up for the chopper flight to Khe Sanh. By the time we got to Khe Sanh, it was late afternoon. I directed the men to find whatever shelter they could, and hunker down for the night. The next day we went to the rock quarry where we set up the battalion perimeter. While on that movement, Alpha Company was moving in the front and found itself on a small knoll about 500 yards in front of our battalion’s main lines. I wanted to put a company out there to be our trip wire when the NVA started their attack on the Khe Sanh Combat Base. I figured that the NVA would go through that hill (Hill 64) and the battalion position to get to the main combat base. I thought occupying that hill would give the battalion an early warning when the attack came. I was told that the hill was not large enough for a company, so I put the 1st Platoon out there. I told them to dig in and expect a fight.

During this move, Captain Radcliffe, Alpha Company’s commander, was on R&R. When he returned to the battalion and found out what happened to his company, he strongly expressed his reservation about putting such a small unit of Marines outside our main line of resistance. (MLR) I told Radcliffe that he could reinforce the platoon with what we could spare from our battalion. He moved some machine gun teams and two 60 mm mortar teams to the hill. In total, he had 64 Marines and Navy Corpsmen on that hill. That is how we came up with the name "Hill 64." I also called it "Alpha Outpost." I told Radcliffe and Lt. Roach, the platoon commander, that we would protect these men with pre- registered mortar, artillery fire, and direct fire from our tank and Ontos. We were only 500 yards from Hill 64, so we also prepared an escape route in the event the 1st Platoon needed to abandon the hill. I also arranged for air support to protect the 1st Platoon.

We knew that the hill was going to be attacked and it was only a matter of time. On February 6, the NVA overran Lang Vie, an outpost which was manned by the Special Forces about 4 miles from our position. In that battle, the NVA used tanks in a battle for the first time. The NVA also hit another hill outpost manned by the 26th Marines, just outside of the Khe Sanh Combat Base. The reinforced 1st Platoon was on Hill 64 for about fourteen days before they were attacked. We could hear the build up of the NVA via the new acoustic sensors that were strewn around Hill 64, and out in front of our perimeter. I had confidence in Lt. Roach, the new 1st Platoon commander, who took over in December 1967 after 1st Platoon’s commander was wounded and evacuated out of country. Captain Radcliffe also asked me to assign Lt. Francis Lovely to Hill 64 because there were so many weapons platoon Marines on the hill, and they needed the extra help. I don’t have much to say about Lt. Lovely.

When the attack took place at about 0415, we had known that the NVA were near the bottom of the hill for several hours prior to the attack. Our sensors told us of this enemy build up. I passed on the word to Lt. Roach to put the Marines on full alert quite some time before the attack. We had also known the NVA had been probing the positions on Hill 64 for many days prior to the fight on the morning of February 8, 1968. When the attack began, the hill was in chaos. We could not communicate with the hill very well because only one radio on the hill was working and Lt. Roach, S.SGT. Bernard Mc Kinney, and the 1st Platoon’s radio operator were killed almost immediately. There have been several stories and different versions about the fire support provided for the Marines on Hill 64 during the course of this battle, and most of these stories are not true. I authorized two 80mm mortar tubes to be turned and provide illumination over Hill 64. I did not authorize the other tubes to fire in support of the battle for Hill 64 because we expected the NVA to attack us in force and I was saving the HE (High Explosive) rounds for that fight. I also did not authorize the use of our tank and Ontos for the same reason. They were used after the reinforcements made it to Hill 64. Early on in this battle I communicated with the commander of the Khe Sanh Combat Base, Col. David Lownds, and requested fire support and air support for Hill 64. He denied that request, so the 64 Marines and Navy Corpsman on Hill 64 were left to fight it out against a reinforced battalion of NVA regulars on their own. I argued for more support for the men on Hill 64 to Col. Lownds to the point that he said if I continued, I would be court marshaled. Captain Radcliffe asked permission to put together a reaction force to rush to support Hill 64 almost immediately after the attack. I told him to put reinforcements together, but to wait until daylight before moving out. I also arranged for Bravo and Delta Companies to open up on the eastern slope of Hill 64, to clear a path for Captain Radcliffe’s force when they moved to reinforce the outpost. This action eliminated the ambush by the NVA which I believed was lying in wait for reinforcements going to the hill, or retreating Marines coming from the Alpha Outpost on Hill 64.

The Marines and Navy Corpsman on Hill 64 took a terrible beating, but they gave more then they received. In that fight for Hill 64, we had 27 killed in action, and 24 wounded. For all practical purposes, the 1st Platoon, and a large part of Weapons Platoon no longer existed. However, the 1st Platoon/reinforced fought an NVA reinforced battalion to a standstill for four long hours by themselves. In fact, for the most part, it was a fight without any senior platoon leaders because most had been killed in the first moments of the fight. During this fight, leadership of the Platoon was taken over by a Corporal, while Marine Privates and Lance Corporals independently engaged in numerous acts of courage to keep the top of the hill in the control of the Marines. Fighting was close in, and after the initial loss of about half of the hill, the remaining Marines (maybe less then 20) still able and willing to fight, held their own. The action resulted in the destruction of an NVA Battalion, and the largest capture of crew-served weapons in the entire siege of the Khe Sanh Combat Base. These weapons are now on display at the Parris Island Marines Corps Base in South Carolina.

Because the 1st Platoon did not give up Hill 64, many Marines at the Khe Sanh Combat Base had their lives saved. Through their sacrifice, no further major ground assaults were launched toward the 1st Battalion 9th Marines’ main line. Had they abandoned Hill 64, the wounded that could not be moved, and those Marines cut off behind enemy lines would have surely been killed. If the Marines on Hill 64 had withdrawn from Alpha Out Post, they would have been slaughtered as they tried to make their way back to our main lines because the NVA had an ambush set up for them. If the reinforcing Marines from the Battalion had come out in the dark to reinforce Hill 64, they would have taken terrible losses from that same group of NVA waiting for the Marines coming down from the hill.

The courage and valor of the Marines from the 1st Platoon/reinforced have never been officially recognized. The story of the Battle for Hill 64 has never been completely told. These men deserve special recognition, and I have made efforts to get the men from Hill 64 such special recognition. Every time I tried to get them recognized, my efforts were denied or thwarted by the 26th Marines.

KILLED IN ACTION ON FEBRUARY 8TH 1967 (Name, Date and Unit)

Posted by Hill 64 KheSanh at 10:50 AM
Thursday, November 30, 2006
The Battle for Hill 64
Causality List Killed in Action
February 8, 1968 Causality List

  • BARRETT, HN Michael Barry 2/8/68 A/1/9 1st Platoon Corpsman
  • BURKHEAD, GPL Jerry Clark 2/8/68 A/1/9 1st Platoon
  • CLEMSON, PFC Gerald Richard 2/8/68 A/1/9 1st Platoon
  • COLEGATE, PFC William Karl 2/8/68 A/1/9 1st Platoon
  • DICKIE, PVT Guy Douglas 2/8/68 A/1/9 1st Platoon
  • ENZ1NNA, CPL John Joseph 2/8/68 A/1/9
  • GAINES, PFC Charles Bernard 2/8/68 A/1/9
  • HABERMAN, PFC David HAGARA 2/8/68 A/1/9
  • HANDLEY, CPL Anthony William 2/8/68 A1/9 H&S
  • LEWER, CPL Thomas Charles 2/8/68 A/1/9
  • LINDSAY, PFC Philip Trieste 2/8/68 A/1/9
  • MC DANIEL, Cpl Roy Dean 2/8/68 A/1/9 1st Platoon
  • MC KINLEY, PVT Allen 2/8/68 A/1/9
  • MC KINNEY, SSGT Bernard B Jr. 2/8/68 A/1/9 1st Platoon
  • MEDEIROS, LCPL Bernard B Jr. 2/8/68 A/1/9
  • MOISE, PFC William Correia 2/8/68 A/1/9
  • MORDEN, PFC Robert Nelson 2/8/68 A/1/9 1st Platoon
  • MURPHY, PFC Patrick Michael 2/8/68 A/1/9 1st Platoon
  • PEMBLETON, PFC Ronald Lee 2/8/68 A/1/9 1st Platoon
  • PONDOFF, PFC John Christopher 2/8/68 A/1/9 1t Platoon
  • ROACH, 2/Lt Terence R. 2/8/68 A/1/9 1st Platoon
  • ROBERTSON, PFC Raymond Gerald 2/8/68 A/1/9
  • Corbin SCOTT, LCPL James Frank 2/8/68 A/1/9
  • SKUZA, LCPL Arvid Burdeen 2/8/68 A/1/9
  • STEWART, PFC Tommy Lane 2/8/68 A/1/9
  • TORRES, CPL Manuel Prieto 2/8/68 A/1/9
  • WELLS, PFC Robert James Jr. 2/8/68 A/1/9
  • YORK, CPL Henry 2/8/68 A/1/9

Lieutenant Roach is also listed on the Vietman Veteran's Memorial, please visit THE VIRTUAL WALL VIETNAM MEMORIAL -, for more information.


Terry married Lynn Ellen O'Connor, daughter of Cyril Thomas (Tommy) O'Connor and Rose Marie Scott.

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