Four Aquinians lost their lives during the Vietnam War. Three from the class of 1965 while the other was from the class of 1964.
The first to die was William Finkel. He was there for a year and died of small arms fire on August 28. 1966.
Charles Allen was there for just one month before being killed in a helicopter crash on May 26, 1967.
Philip Curran was there for a year before dying during a mortar attack on August 28, 1967.
The last to die was Mark Tonti who was there for 3 & 1/2 months. He died January 18, 1970 from an IED. Mark is shown below with Ed Witek who was killed with him.
Served in the same platoon.
Louisville KY 40213 USA
A good marine. I hooked up with Finkel in summer of '66.....the Marine Corp had just reformed the 5th Marine Division. I was with him when the 26th Marines was formed....he was originally one of my three fireteam leaders....I was the squad leader. His death occurred on the last day of our 2nd operation in Vietnam. Our unit was operating as a special landing force. He was the first casualty (KIA) of our platoon. Be glad to communicate with a close friend of his or next of kin with all the details of that date. Sincerely Paul Bishop Sgt., USMC Vietnam 1966......C-1-26
James Brian O'Keeffe
Upper Arlington,OH 43221 USA
Bill was a neighbor of mine. He and his family lived up the street from my family. Bill's parents took his death really hard. After I enlisted into the Army and went to Vietnam with the 25th Infantry Division, Bill's father, who was our mailman, would always ask my mother how I was doing over there. Bill's Dad did the same when my brother went over and served with E Co. 2nd Battalion 5th Marines. It says a lot about his family and the type of man that Bill was. He was a good and decent man. I will always remember him.
Tuesday, March 02, 1999
Class of 1965
Aquinas & Vietnam
Class of 1965
Served with him A/1/8 1st Cavalry
I served with Charles and was there when he was killed. He was one of 6 troopers from A and D company killed that tragic day. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this brave soldier.
Nov 28, 2011
Jeanine Eilers Decker
So many years later, a thought of you, came to mind. Hope your family is well and you are at peace.
Feb 5, 2007
Hey Tuckie- I was still at Whetstone High when I was told you were gone. I got sick. For a while, the school had a little area by the office wall where they had your name along with Ronnie's and Craigs. Probably not there now. Most kids today don't know about Vietnam and could care less. It's sad! I wish I had gotten to know you better in school. I followed you there two years later. It was the same. The killing was still going on. I came home in 70'. Still remember it like it was yesterday. You did your best, I know you did. Thanks. Rest in peace friend.
Wednesday, April 05, 2000
Class of 64
Columbus OH 43235 USA
I remember you as if it yesterday. It was weird because your father was my pediatrician. We became best friends, but after middle school graduation I went to St. Charles. I dont remember where you went. As it happens so many times, people part ways, make new friends, and find new lives. Then, I read about your death in VN. I can't tell you how terrible I felt. So, now, in 2009, I am in Washington. I have your panel address, and I will look you up. And I will give my apologies for losing you to childish pursuits. God Bless You.
May 14, 2009
MABS-16, CRASH CREW
GULF BREEZE, FL., 32561 USA
IN MEMORY, OF THE SHORTEST MARINE, FROM COVER STORY, LIFE MAGAZINE
Philip, I was with your buddy, Leslie Martz, when we found you, after the 122, rocket, attack, Aug., 28, 67. All he could say, was "MY LITTLE BUDDY! MY LITTLE BUDDY!" You were still laying, on your side, a huge piece of metal, passed, thru your back. We were all so proud, because you had just returned, to Marble Mt., from the siege at Khe Sanh, without a scratch. I'm, still looking for Leslie, so we can both, come visit you at the Wall, in Washington. I find your name, often, at the Wall, South, in Pensacola. I was there, for the dedication and also, the 5 year, anniversary. You have not been forgotten, MARINE. SEMPER FI!
Thursday, April 26, 2001
Friend and fellow Marine
Mexico, Mo., 65265, USA
Philip, you, are not forgotten. Leslie Martz, Phil Wipperman and I got together, after 34, years, in March 2001. We talked a lot, about you. I have placed, a memorial page for you, on the internet, first web site I ever made, but it is to Honor you, my bro. Your friend and SGT., Bill Weldon
Saturday, May 12, 2001
Phillip J. Wipperman
Friend and fellow, Khe Sahn Marine
It's been 34, yrs., since I last saw you, Phil, but you are still, in my thoughts and always will be. Sgt., Bill Weldon, Cpl., Leslie Martz and I got together in March, of 2001, after 34, yrs.. You were there, with us Phil. Each of us had to admitt, that we could, feel your presence. I have no doubt, you pushed us, back together and I thank you, for that. The only thing that saddens me, is that so many people will never know, who you were, or just what a great guy, you were. The 3, of us agree, you weren't just our friend, you're our brother. No matter how bad things got, you always had a smile. I hope, you will stay with us Phil, because you not only were, but always will be, an important part, of our lifes. Miss You, Buddy!
Monday, May 14, 2001
I was in Basic and A.I.T. at Ft. Gordon with Mark. He was always wanting to do things in his free time there. I remember that a group of us went horse back riding at Ft. Gordon. Our platoon in Basic had one thing in commom.......shared miseries. Once we had our weekend time cancelled and had to strip wax off our barracks floors.. Mark always had his radio on playing those tunes. I remember someone turned his radio off and Mark yelled out without looking, ' You can f!@k with me but not my radio!!' When he finally turned around, there was the biggest blackest Drill Sgt. we had, glaring a Mark. Needless to say that was the start of a bad day for Mark. Mark and I rode home to Columbus together from Augusta, Ga. and talked a lot. We met again in Oakland, California at the assignment station. Aa group of us form the old platoon hung out together then for a few days. That was the last time I saw him. I know wherever he is now that everyone around him is having a great time. Those memories will never be forgotten.
Oct 18, 2011
Fellow soldier, medic
Alpine Texas 79831 USA
Always In My Heart, Never Forgotten.
To Mark Tonti, I was there as a medic in the 3rd Platoon. It was the worst day of my life. I'll always remember you. I think about you every day of my life. Rest easy friend. The war is over for you but not for me. Rest in peace.
May 8, 2008
Medic in his platoom
Green Bay, WI 54301 usa
i was a medic in his platoon. i remenber him as funny jokster in the short 2 months i knew him. i was with him on the day he died.
Thursday, November 22, 2000
His platoon leader
Mark was a very thoughtful young man. I remember him as always doing his job & was not a problem. He was a good troop among good troops. I remember him clearly from pictures I have and have to smile when I think of his laugh.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
From his buddy, Rick Shumick
Mark was my high school classmate and a great friend. We'll be buddies forever. Never forget those who paid in blood for what we enjoy today - freedom, family, friends and a bright future in the greatest country that ever existed.
August 17, 2004
A Note from The Virtual Wall
C Company, 2/28th Infantry, lost two men on 18 Jan 1970 - SGT Edward J. Witek of Chicago and SP4 Mark E. Tonti.
The Aquinas class of 1965 honors its KIA Vietnam classmates with a Memorial Wall at Lisska's Bar & Grill where members of the class meet monthly for lunch.