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Roy Dwight Heaster
Courtesy Vietnam Veterans
Memorial Fund

West Virginia Veterans Memorial


Roy Dwight Heaster

"Keep your head up. God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers."

Author unknown

Roy Dwight Heaster was born on May 30, 1945, in Kieffer, Greenbrier County, West Virginia, but grew up in Crawley, West Virginia. His parents were Benjamin Franklin Heaster and Velma Mabel Williams Heaster. Roy was the youngest of three boys as he had two older brothers, Franklin Delano Heaster and Patrick Jesse Lew Heaster, who unfortunately died in 1950 at the age of seven or eight. Roy experienced another traumatic event just a year later in 1951, when his father died from injuries sustained during a strip mining accident when his tractor overturned, as he was working as a coal miner. Needless to say, Roy's childhood was a difficult experience to endure. Roy attended and graduated from Rupert High School in 1963, which was a few miles up Route 60 from his hometown of Crawley.

The beginnings of the Vietnam War can be traced to November 1, 1955, and it officially ended on April 30, 1975. The war was started to prevent the communists, the North Vietnamese, from taking over South Vietnam. President Lyndon B. Johnson authorized the deployment of U.S. troops to Vietnam in March of 1965. The United States aided the South Vietnamese resistance in order to help contain and stop the spread of communism.

Roy was drafted into the Army in 1965 to meet the demands of the U.S. for more ground troops to serve in Vietnam. According to Jack Lockhart, he and Roy served together at Fort Ord, California, as this was the primary training facility for the Army prior to deploying the new trainees to Vietnam. Roy Dwight Heaster started his tour in Vietnam on February 13, 1966. Roy was a private first class, infantryman, and was assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.

The 25th Infantry Division established the Củ Chi Base Camp (also known as Củ Chi Army Airfield) with the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) in the Củ Chi District northwest of Saigon in Southern Vietnam in 1965. This base camp was located south of the Viet Cong stronghold known as the Iron Triangle. Although Củ Chi was located in a very wide area cleared by bulldozers and other heavy equipment, its deliberate placement in the heart of enemy-controlled countryside made it one of the most dangerous installations in all of Vietnam. A map of the Củ Chi Base Camp can be found on the website of the 25th Aviation Battalion (, accessed 4 April 2019.)

The 25th Infantry Division was part of the Counter-Offensive Phase II Campaign from 1 July 1966 to 31 May 1967. United States operations after 1 July 1966 were a continuation of the earlier counteroffensive campaign. Recognizing the interdependence of political, economic, sociological, and military factors, the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared that American military objectives should be to cause North Vietnam to cease its control and support of the insurgency in South Vietnam and Laos, to assist South Vietnam in defeating Viet Cong and North Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam, and to assist South Vietnam in pacification extending governmental control over its territory. (U.S. Army Center of Military History, "Vietnam War Campaigns," accessed 4 April 2019,

On July 16, 1966, while more than likely on a combat patrol to seek and destroy the Viet Cong, Pfc. Roy D. Heaster's unit made contact with enemy forces. As a result of the lethal engagement, he died from small arms fire. Pfc. Roy Heaster was only 21 years old when he was killed in action on that fateful day.

His remains were returned to the U.S., and he is buried at the Wallace Memorial Cemetery in Clintonville, West Virginia. According to our research, Roy Heaster never married nor had any children. Roy Heaster is remembered and honored at the Veterans Memorial in Charleston, West Virginia, as well as at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., on Panel 9E, Line 28.

Courtesy Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

Article prepared by Peyton Cooley, Buddy Lomas, and Maj. (Ret) T.B. McGee, George Washington High School JROTC
March 2019


Roy Dwight Heaster

West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.

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