John Decker

David John Decker was the husband of, Martha Gay Rhodes, who is a Lathan descendent. Her Great-Grandmother was, Martha Edith Lathan, a daughter of Samuel Martin Lathan.

David John Decker joined the United States Army while in Yardley, PA. He served 8 years and rose to the rank of Captain/O3. On November 19, 1967 he was Company Commander of Co. B , 2nd Battalion, 8th Regiment, Ist Cavalry Division (airmobile) when he was killed by enemy small arms fire near Dak To, Vietnam. He was 30 years old at the time. His body was recovered and buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 30 Lot 8952. He is honored on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Panel 30E, Row 24.

At the time of his death, David John Decker had two young sons. His son, Christopher Edward Decker, was four years old at the time of his death. His other son, David John Decker, Jr., became two years of age on the day of his father's death.

Clifford Wright wrote in an email addressed to David John Decker's son but returned due to a changed email address: (Mr. Wright forwarded this email to me in the hope I could get it to Decker's son)


I was also at Dak To on November 19, 1967 when your father was killed. We lost a lot of good men that day, killed and wounded. Capt. Decker was a good man, he was killed going back up a hill trying to save a man that the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) had shot and pulled into a foxhole or trench. We were resupplied with ammo that afternoon and the next day took the hill. <SNIP> Capt. Decker lived by the 2nd of the 8th motto, HONOR & COURAGE.

Clifford Wright
Livingston, Tenn
In an earlier email. This one addressed to me he said:

I was in Co. B, 2-8, 2nd plt. (Blackfoot) Cpt. Decker was KIA Nov. 19, 1967 at Dak To. He was Company Commander. Our plt. leader Lt. Rodreick was KIA the same day. We had some killed, wounded and 1 man captured in the same day. Not a good day for the Cav. I was in Nam from Feb. 19, 1967 until Feb. 19, 1968.

In an article posted on the 1st Cavalry Division Association website, Ed Regan, states the following (edited for size):
...<snip> During the the battle of Dak To in November 1967, our battalion reinforced the 173rd Airborne Brigade. In trying to coordinate radio communications between our battalion and the 173rd, mass confusion reigned supreme. So our battalion was instructed to create code names for the battalion, the four companies in the battalion and the platoons in each company. <snip> ...Bravo company (Co. B, Decker's command) became "Eager Arms" <snip> ... The 1st Cavalry Division was the most decorated division in Vietnam. The 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 8th Cavalry Regiment (this includes Decker's command), won Presidential Unit Citations for the operation in Pleiku Province, 1967.

© Ed Regan, Angry Skipper, Assn. Inc.
Used by permission