Palm, Allen Neil
U.S. Army – Vietnam
Allen Neil Palm was a Greenville native, 1968 graduate of Reynolds High School, who ended up tromping through the marshes of the Mekong Delta with the 9th Infantry Division in the Mobile Riverine Force.
“Letters from the front were rare and are now long lost,” wrote his sister, Carol, “but I remember that his complaints were few – only that his feet were suffering from the march through swamps.”
Friends and family would not have expected many complaints. They were used to his unassuming attitude and willingness to sacrifice for the sake of others.
“He and his brother Wes both wrestled at Reynolds,” Carol said. “One of them had to quit to help Dad on the farm. Allen quit so Wes could continue to wrestle. That’s what kind of a kid he was.”
After graduating from high school, Allen attended the New Castle School of Trades and worked as a material cutter in the Westinghouse in Sharon. When he was called into military service in October, 1968, Allen made no big fuss.
“We would never know what he thought about going half a world away to fight in the jungle,” Carol said. “It was simply his duty. He had already seen friends and neighbors ship out, so he prepared as best he could to leave his family and home to serve his country.”
Details of that service are difficult to find, but as a soldier in the 9th Division, we know that he served in the Mekong Delta. According to accounts by other soldiers, one of the most common tactics was to cruise up and down the countless waterways on the Navy’s modified ships until they were shot at. The ship would return fire, then drop off the infantry to assault and destroy the enemy. Sometimes they would be out for days on end, plenty of time to get their feet very wet.
Ninth Division troops would also be inserted into known enemy territory by helicopter and retrieved the same way when their mission was accomplished.
On December 5, 1968, Allen was killed by enemy booby trap while he was on patrol. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
On the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Panel W37 Line 47