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DMZ Army Deaths 1955-1965

 
The names of the following US Army personnel who died in the DMZ were compiled by Eighth Army Staff Historian's Office, available historical records and newspaper accounts.  Other information was added by the Korean War Educator and the KWE is seeking further information about these casualties.  Contact Lynnita or call 217-253-4620 in Illinois.

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Casualties

  • CAPT Charles W. Brown - 8th U.S. Army, died August 17, 1955
  • PFC Richard J. Rimer - died October 3, 1962
  • 2LT Jimmy E. Dillingham - died October 8, 1962
  • SP4 James A. Johnson - died November 20, 1962
  • PFC Charles T. Dessart - died July 29, 1963
  • PVT David A. Seiler - died July 29, 1963
  • CPL George F. Larion - died July 30, 1963
  • PFC Raymond Kapp Jr. - died August 19, 1963

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Further Details about Casualties

  • Richard J. Rimer - A member of the 7th Infantry Division, PFC Rimer was killed in Korea on October 3, 1962 by multiple bullet wounds from a burp gun while standing guard in the DMZ.  Richard Jeff Rimer was born November 5, 1937 and is buried in Shady Grove Baptist Church Cemetery, Hawkins County, Tennessee.  According to the 15th Field Artillery's magazine, The Highlander, "The VFW Magazine's October, 2012 issue included an article on hostile actions occurring in Korea’s DMZ. The article highlighted the killing of Pfc. Richard J Rimer of B Battery, 6th of the 15th Artillery, 7th Division. Pfc. Rimer was on  guard duty near the village of Hyang Yang the night of October 3, 1962 when he was shot four times to the head and chest and stabbed eight times. A bayonet and shells used in Russian made weapons (both of which were known to be carried by North Korean Special Forces) were found near the body."
     
  • Jimmy E. Dillingham - He was killed on October 8, 1962 by friendly fire after he accidentally stepped on a trip flare in the DMZ.  He was a member of the 1st Cavalry Division.  Jimmy E. "Pistol" Dillingham was born April 16, 1939 and is buried in Sunset Hills Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Rome, Georgia.
     
  • James A. Johnson - SP4 Johnson was killed on November 20, 1962 when North Korean troops attacked his outpost in the DMZ with hand grenades.
     
  • Charles T. Dessart III - Dessart and Seiler died July 29, 1963 when a North Korean infiltrator ambushed them more than 20 miles south of the DMZ.  He was a member of the 1st Cavalry Division.  Private First Class Dessart was a member of Troop A, 1st Reconnaissance Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. He was ambushed while riding in a jeep to a guard post in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) by North Koreans. He was killed by machine-gun fire and grenades on July 29, 1963. Private First Class Dessart was awarded the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean Defense Service Medal.  Born in 1945, Charles was the son of Charles Dessart Jr. and Anne Dessart of suburban Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.  He enlisted in the Army on June 18, 1962 at the age of 19, planning to make a career out of the Army.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  He was survived by his parents and a sister Linday, age 12.
     
  • David A. Seiler - Private Seiler died July 29, 1963 when a North Korean infiltrator ambushed him more than 20 miles south of the DMZ.  He was a member of the 1st Cavalry Division.  The son of Erich Seiler (died 1996) and Lucille Seiler (died 1990), he attended Mayville High School in Wisconsin and was drafted into the Army at the age of 23.  He was the driver of the Jeep on the day of the attack and was shot through the back 14 times.  He was survived by his brothers Ken, Mike and Tom, and sisters Joan and Elaine (Mrs. Ralph Huettner).  An article about the attack appeared on page one of the Red Bank Register newspaper, July 30, 1963.  Entitled, "Third Yank Is Killed by Korean Reds", it stated: "It was speculated yesterday that the North Koreans came through the demilitarized zone by wading a stream under cover of fog.  They apparently hid in tall grass when they heard a Jeep approaching a bridge on Zulu Road, within sight of the border marker.  The raiders opened fire when the Jeep crossed over the bridge.  The driver was blasted out of the Jeep, shot through the back by 14 bullets.  The Jeep careened off a 10-foot embankment into a ditch, barely missing a mine field."
     
  • George F. Larion - Corporal Larion was killed in a clash with North Korean infiltrators on July 30, 1963.  Four of the infiltrators were killed.  Corporal Larion was a member of the 1st Cavalry Division.  As a result of his heroic actions on the day he died, Corporal Larion received a Bronze Star Medal posthumously.  A fellow soldier, Sgt. Abraham W. McManus also received a Bronze Star Medal during the same attack.
     
  • Raymond Kapp Jr. - While a member of the 1st Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, Private First Class Capp died August 19, 1963 when he was hit by friendly fire while on patrol in the DMZ.  Private First Class Kapp was a member of Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.  Private First Class Kapp was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

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Newspaper Accounts

The family of David Seiler generously shared a packet of information about David and others involved in this incident.

Dessart/Seiler

[See: The Fresno Bee/The Republican, August 29, 1963, page 12.  Article by Robert Eunson (AP)]

Among those involved in the incident in which Dessart and Seiler were killed were 2Lt. John W. Tucker of Grosse Point, Michigan, 2Lt Frank Blancota of Peekskill, New York, 1Sgt. Abraham McManus of Hamlet, North Carolina, Cpl. George Larion of Davison, Michigan, ____ Eldriege, and Pfc. William L. Foster of Baltimore, Maryland. Larion was killed in action the next day.

[See also: The Fond du Lac Reporter, July 25, 2013, article by Sharon Roznik.]

According to this newspaper article, written in July of 2013, "Newspaper reports estimated that more than 1,000 people attended David's military funeral at the Beck Funeral Home in Theresa.  Church bells in the little town tolled 24 times."


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Personal Accounts

David Seiler

Elaine Huettner of Waupaca, Wisconsin, sent numerous news releases about the ambush in Korea that claimed the life of her brother, David Seiler.  The articles provide a great deal of insight into the tensions that existed in Korea in 1963, as well as details about the ambush.  See what she sent to the Korean War Educator below.

David Seiler News Clippings/Photo Album - Click HERE.

A memorial service marking the 50th anniversary of the ambush and David's death was held at the cemetery where he is buried in Wisconsin.  On July 28, 2013, a large crowd of family and friends gathered to remember him.  Photos from that service can be seen in the above album.

Ed Wenger was drafted with David.  They were in basic training together and were in Korea at the same time.  He contacted David's family after seeing the article from the Mayville paper and offered to come to the Memorial on July 28, 2013.  His letter to the Seilers reads as follows:

Dear Elaine, Mary and Ken,

Thank you for your Thank You cards and note and Elaine for the added newspaper articles.  I also appreciate the opportunity to talk to the large crowd that came to honor David and family. Sandy and I were astonished at the large crowd after fifty years. The gathering and the food and fellowship were wonderful. Sandy and I felt that David was there among us.

After the talk I always think back to understand what I omitted.  One of the things I remember was David and I would get together during Basic Training at the shooting range or chow hall or during other training--I do not remember David complaining about anything.  He was in a different part of our training company so we didn't always get together.  But there are trying times with a lot of physical training Dave took everything in stride.

He was always steady and ready to go to do whatever was next.  We got to come home for Christmas in 1962 and in January 1963, Ken took us to the bus station and we returned to Fort Knox, Kentucky to finish Basic.  Later in January, my grandmother died in Beaver Dam and I returned for the funeral.

David and I both graduated from Basic and I went to Fort Gordon, Georgia and Military Police school.  I believe Dave must have gone to infantry school.  After two plus months at MP school I flew to Oakland, California, then to Japan about May (May Day) and we were confined to the Tachikawa Barracks, Japan as May Day is or can be a protest day.  Later I flew to Korea and stayed a few days at a base that dispersed new arrivals before they went to their assigned duty station.

I did not immediately know that Dave was killed.  We had no TV and only Armed Forces Radio.  We heard that North Korean zappers (infiltrators) came across and ambushed our patrol unit.  Our entire unit, the First Cavalry Division, went on alert.  I assume that all the United Nations units in Korea went on alert.  That meant we got all our gear, guns, ammo and anything we needed in case the attack that killed Dave continued.

The section of the MP unit I was in was the escorted section. We had four people and two Jeeps.  We normally had a machine gun mounted on the post between the two from seats.  That meant that we could not have a top on, so when it rained or snowed we could get uncomfortable.  We escorted VIPs and convoys from all over Korea.  We escorted nuclear missiles, 8 inch nuclear Howitzer shells and nuclear rockets.  During these escorts we normally had a spotter airplane that we could talk to about any problems near or ahead of us.  We would also pick up the payroll from Seoul and deliver it north to our payroll office.  Our other duties included speed checks and accident investigations.

The day after the attack I was sent with two other MPs in one Jeep to run the road to Panmunjom (when I was there we spelled it Pan Mun Gon) to determine if the road was safe for the United Nations negotiators and the press to get to Panmunjom.  The road went through heavy brush and small trees that had grown back after the shooting during the Korean War stopped because of the truce ten years before.

We had a 30 caliber machine gun on our Jeep and we carried our M14 rifles, 45 caliber pistols.  One guy had an M3 submachine gun and I had a sawed off shotgun with double OO buckshot.  We had our windshield down so it didn't get in the way.  I didn't think much about the fact that if someone was to ambush us, they would have waited until we went by and then shoot from the rear as happened to Dave, et al.  We were fortunate that the zappers were gone and we drove it to Panmunjom and then back.

The following day I was waiting to escort United Nations negotiators and staff cars and press bused to Panmunjom, when a UN General (US Army) jumped into my Jeep in the passenger seat and asked if I knew the way to Panmunjom.  I answered I did and he said, "Let's go."  I never even talked to a general before nor sat next to one--but whatever he wanted I was going to do it.  So off we went--the only thing I remember him asking was, "Where are you from?" and I responded, "Wisconsin, Sir" and he responded--"good state".  I dropped him off at the UN negotiating building (one of three used to do the negotiating) and returned to escort the buses waiting south of Freedom Bridge.

I had been to Panmunjom many times before as we graduated with some of the MPs in MP school.  We had been there to see them and tour the area.  It gives one an odd feeling to walk past North Korean guards and one feels vulnerable knowing how unpredictable they are or seemed to be.

I really don't remember a lot after that happening.  I know we got calls from some Army compounds as guards were shooting at each on the same small compound as no one knew if there were more zappers.  It was a trying time for all of us.  No one wanted to try to break up our soldiers shooting at one another across the compounds.  The US bases called compounds were mostly scattered small areas the lee side of a large hill.  That was to make it more difficult for North Korean artillery strikes.

My dad sent Mayville News articles about Dave and went to the funeral in Theresa.  He was very concerned and begged me to write as he knew I was in that area.  I went to the motor pool and took pictures of Dave's vehicle--can't find now.

One can Google Panmunjom and see what it looks like now.

Again thank you for the opportunity to share my experiences with you and family and friends.  It was good to see you, Ken and Mary and meet you Elaine and other family and friends.

 

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