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Archie Andrew Porter
Find A Grave,
courtesy Anthony E. Santa Maria IV

West Virginia Veterans Memorial


Archie Andrew Porter

"One More Lord. Help Me Get One More."

Cpl. Desmond Doss

Archie Andrew Porter was born on September 4, 1942, in Cameron, Marshall County, West Virginia. His parents were Archie Aretas Porter, who had served in the Air Force, and Gladys Gruzella Neely Porter, who was a stay-at-home mom. Cameron was a very peaceful town, as it was a railroad town with surrounding coal mines. At some point during his childhood, Archie's parents divorced. His father remarried, and Archie went to live with his dad, stepmother, stepbrother Rodger, and two stepsisters, Janet and Debbie. Archie attended grade school at Cameron Elementary until he dropped out at the eighth grade. Archie later married Elfriede M. Porter and had three children by the age of twenty-five: Steven Porter, James Porter, and Charles Patrick Porter.

In January 1950, the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union formally recognized the communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam and both began to supply economic and military aid to communist resistance fighters within the country, thus the reason for America's involvement in Vietnam to stop the spread of communism. In March 1965, President Johnson launched a three-year campaign of sustained bombing of targets in North Vietnam and the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Operation Rolling Thunder. The same month, U.S. Marines landed on beaches near Da Nang, South Vietnam, as the first American combat troops to enter that territory. The unofficial beginning of the Vietnam War can be traced to November 1, 1955, and the conflict lasted until April 30, 1975. The war saw 2,709,918 Americans who served in uniform, with 58,148 killed and 75,000 severely disabled.

Archie Porter enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1961, as a 91B (combat medic). He served for six years attaining the rank of SP5 (Specialist 5). He was assigned to Headquarters/Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division for his first tour of duty in Vietnam on July 18, 1967.

Since October 8, 1967, the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment had been operating west of the village of Chon Thanh conducting "search and destroy" operations in an area known to be occupied by large Viet Cong forces. Only four of the battalion's five companies (HHC, A, B, and D) were involved; C Company was providing fire base security for the supporting artillery unit.

On October 16, the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment found a major Viet Cong bunker system located south of their night-time defensive position near the Ong Thanh Stream, and a short fire fight broke out. To avoid fighting a long battle, the commander of the 2nd Battalion decided to pull back and made preparations for a frontal assault on the next day.

On the morning of October 17, two rifle companies of the 2nd Battalion returned to the bunker system they had found the previous day. Alpha Company, with a total of 65 men and Delta Company, with 73 men and the command group, followed in trail.

Alpha Company was moving very cautiously, with point and flank patrols; by late morning the force had moved only about 1,200 meters. Shortly before noon, Alpha Company was engaged by a very much larger enemy force.

The action was initiated when the Alpha Company point-man reported sighting a small group of enemy soldiers moving across their front. Capt. George, Alpha�s Commander, ordered a hasty ambush. As the ambush force moved forward, they were engaged by a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire and Claymore mines. The friendly force was not so much surprised by the enemy fire as they were overwhelmed by it. Two platoon leaders were immediately killed. Practically every man in Alpha Company was killed or wounded in the first 30 minutes of action.

Enemy fire was heavy, with small arms, machine guns, and RPGs chopping through the underbrush into Delta Company's position. It became apparent that the enemy was maneuvering around both sides of Delta's perimeter, intent on destroying the Americans. Enemy soldiers were already maneuvering through that location, killing any Alpha Company wounded they found.

At about 1400 hours, some 2 1/2 hours after the initial contact began, a relief force fought its way to the Delta's perimeter. By that time, everyone in the Battalion Command Group was dead, Alpha was destroyed, and Delta was more than decimated. The Battle at Ong Thanh resulted in the loss of at least 60 Americans-55 killed in the action, 2 missing, and 3 who would die from their wounds. The Viet Cong left 163 bodies on the battlefield. SP5 Archie Porter was probably attached to Delta Company and was severely wounded during the initial ambush when he stepped on a land mine. (Summary based on "Battle of Ong Thanh: 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry," The Virtual Wall, accessed 26 March 2019,; and "Vietnam Casualties," 28th Infantry Regiment Association, accessed 26 March 2019,

According to his stepbrother Rodger, "He was awaiting MEDEVAC for several days and contracted gangrene and died of his wounds on October 21, 1967."

After his death, Archie's wife later moved to Germany with their children. Archie's oldest son, Steven Andrew Porter was only five years old when his dad died of his wounds.

Archie Andrew Porter is remembered and honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Panel 28E, Line 47. Some of his awards include the Purple Heart, the Combat Medic Badge, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal. He is buried at the Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens, Roanoke City, Virginia.

Purple Heart


National Defense Service Medal


Vietnam Campaign Medal


Vietnam Service Medal

Article prepared by Will Nichols, Sam Nicholas, and Maj. (Ret) T.B. McGee, George Washington High School JROTC
January 2019


Archie Andrew Porter

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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