In Memory

John Francavilla

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05/13/14 03:37 PM #1    

Jim Knott

John was killed in action 9 Apr 1968 on Hill 881 near Khe Sanh during a rocket & mortar attach on his position. He entered the Marine Corps after graduating high school. He went to Vietnam in Dec 1967 after training at Camp Pendleton CA. He was wounded twice before while serving with the 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines receiving two Purple Hearts.
Born in Detroit, John moved to Renton in 1964. 

05/15/14 02:05 PM #2    

Glen Hyskell

First of all, thank you, Jim for this post. I had heard a long time ago that John had died in Vietnam, but seeing your post brought home the reality of it for me, and this is not easy for me to write, as I knew John personally, so this really brings it home. I hope to someday make my pilgrimage to the memorial in Washington, DC, and find his name. That will not be easy on me when I find it. God Bless you, my brother, John Francavilla. You had Detroit roots I see, maybe we can listen to Mitch Rider up there in Heaven! God Bless you, brother John, and all of you, my brothers from the era. I believe that no matter what you did, if you lived through through that era, you probably suffer from some form of PTSD in some kind of way. I can't watch anything to do with the memorial without involuntarily weeping. And let's not forget our Vietnamese brothers, 2 million of them died. They didn't do this to us. Like the Vietnam Veterans that tossed their dogtags over the fence up the steps to Capitol Hill, especially one veteran that said "I am not going to kill for this government anymore. I am through fighting (as he pointed up at the Capitol Building), unless it's to take these steps!" When I see this government look the other way while one million American families are tossed out on the street every year since 2008, losing their homes because of international gamblers, which evidently are more important to our so called elected officials than we citizens, I know we are losing our republic to the bought-and-paid-for polititians who do not represent us anymore. We give our AIG money to whom? A bunch of rich guys in London, England? I thought we fought a revolution to get rid of that kind of stuff. Now, it's back in our face again. "When they tell you who the enemy is, they call that a war. When you figure it out for yourself, they call that a revolution". Sorry, I do not mean to demean John's memory with politics, but it is politics that is the reason why I grieve over his loss. You died for me, John, so that I could excercise my First Amendment right, and by the way, to the government bought-and-paid-for politicians, who took the oath to protect the Constitution, these are RIGHTS, not suggestions. I don't think they get that these days.

Peace Be Upon You, John Francavilla, my brother, and all 58,000 of you that fell.

And to those who would take away our republic, like our politicians and bankers did to Ukraine (I am an American of Ukrainian heritage) those kings who want all of us serfs to own nothing and owe everything, the money junkies, international gamblers, who don't know how to make anything anymore and all they know how to do is to play games with money, who have no loyalty to any country, To them I say: BRING IT ON! This is a fight I believe in, the one for We The People, wherin lies soveriegnty. It rests with the people, not those who would set themselves up as kings over us.

01/18/17 04:16 PM #3    

Harold Pagel

There was 5 of us who went into the Marines after graduating from RHS in 1967. Mike Connor, Bill Underwood, Jerry Selden, John Francavilla and myself Harold Pagel. We all wanted to become infantrymen and fight in Vietnam . After boot camp , advanced infantry training , we all were on our way to Vietnam in Dec. 1967. All 5 of us were split up into different infantry division in Vietnam except John and I were taken to a place by the DMZ called  Khesanh. John was put into India Company 3/26 and he defended a outpost of Khesanh on hill 881 South. I was put on kilo company 3/26 and defended the outpost  hill 861. That was the last time I saw him alive when we left Khesanh base and went to our company's post . For 77 days we were surrounded and out numbered. We had 6,000 marines defending Khesanh base and the vital outposts over looking the base and there  were 20,000 NVA had us surrounded. John Francavilla was a great high school friend and a great Marine who gave his life for Country. He was killed April 9th  1967on 881 south after receiving his 3rd Purple Heart. Just wanted his friends to know a little more about his short life and his sacrifice he did . Harold Pagel

01/18/17 05:54 PM #4    

Harold Pagel

John died on April 9th 1968!

05/20/17 07:26 PM #5    

Gary McMillen

With this year being our 50th Renton High School Reunion I can't help thinking

of John. John was a good friend and we always had a good time. I remember

playing cards with him  in the top center tower of the school building at lunch time.
The last time I saw John he was looking really sharp in his Marine uniform and in
great shape. John exemplified what a Marine should be and is a hero in my eyes.
John loved his country and unfortunately gave his last full measure of devotion
at such a young age. My turn came in Vietnam later but I was lucky and never had
to go through what John did. I visit John's web site sometimes on Memorial Day and 
read his poems.
"The Crosses stand so straight and tall,
Almost as if nothing happened at all.
I stand here looking all around,
Thinking of the brave men, in this hallowed ground."
So on our 50th I will think of a brave man, John  Francavilla. 

05/21/17 08:10 PM #6    

Curt Squires

I am so pleased to see the posts about John!

We had many great laughs!  He was an entertainer and a great friend.

 A strange thing happened.  I received a letter from John, that he wrote on the way to Viet Nam, as he stated.

Before I answered his letter, I was checking the weekly lists of fallen military personnel in the Seattle Times and I was in total shock to see his name.

"The Wall" was on tour in Las Vegas and I took my granddaughters to show respect.  When I saw John's name, I was not able to contain my pain and sadness.  I cried like a small child.

I am so lucky to have had his friendship - he made a difference!

Rest in Peace John! I still have the letter! 

Curt Squires 

05/21/17 09:10 PM #7    

Larry Samples

First I just want to say "Right on" Glen. We obviously think alike. What a waste of some of our brightest and bravest . Curt, I see we both remember John through similar eyes. For some reason, whenever I think of John, I remember our award ceremony after track and field season. John's mother was there and when John was called to accept his, I'll never forget the look on her face. She was so proud of her son. When John died, almost exactly a year later. I often think of that moment. I'm sure that a part of her must have died too. I miss you John.   Your old friend, Larry Samples


05/28/19 10:10 AM #8    

Gary McMillen

This Memorial Day 2019 I still remember a wonderful person John Francavilla, we were

close friends. I miss his contagious optimism and personal values ! John is my hero!

John gave his life for our country even if it was an unpopular war and I do not believe it was in vain !.

John's unfortunate sacrifice is a beacon of light for future generations that we not needlessly waste one

single life for the wrong cause ! 

I salute you John and after all these years you are not forgotten ! 

This Memorial Day 2019 at the Museum of Flight they opened the Vietnam Memorial Park

to show respect to all veterans of that war. If a person gives some money to the museum

in-kind they will put that person's name on the memorial wall. I'm not rich now but I will do

my best to make that happen and hopefully, I get help. 

 God Bless America and that government of the people, by the people, for the people,

shall not perish from the earth !


05/29/19 09:42 AM #9    

Richard Clayton

I was not one who enlisted nor was I drafted, fate I suppose. To be certain it was lucky for me because I am just as certain that I would not have returned or had I returned I'd have been a very different man. Bless all those who did serve.

I attended Kennydale Elementary and McKnight JHS then as a freshman Paxton High School in Paxton, IL and Vale High School in Vale, SD as a sophomore; returning to RHS inbetween and finally to gradulate from RHS.

I have visited "THE WALL" and there are so many friends and classmates names there from the three high schools. Still it's a very small and yet very representative sample of all the human sacrifices made on "our side" from accross the country. And, we should not forget the sacrifices of our allies and our enemies either.

As my classmates have so well said in previous comments, we're all affected by having lived through those years. Such saddness came of those years prior to and following graduation, it was a time of change here in the good old US of A. I believe that we are all on those same steps of change again I fear. And, I had so hoped that I would never have to live through such division and polarization of our country again!

But, perhaps living long is how we serve penance for youthful sins?

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