Dennis “Denny” Belonger
Service: Army (Selective Service)
Grade at loss: E3
Rank: Private First Class
ID Number: 399467679
MOS: 11B10: Infantryman
Len Svc: 1 year
Unit: 4 INF DIV, 1st BDE LRRP, K/75 REGIMENT
Start Tour: 05/09/1969
Cas Date: 07/19/1969
Age at Loss: 20
Remains: Body recovered
Location: Binh Dinh, South Vietnam
Type: Hostile, died outright, ground casualty
Reason: Gun, small arms fire
Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal
Evergreen Cemetery, Manitowoc, Wisconsin
Link to Remembrances:
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A Letter from Dennis Belonger – provided by Joe Marty
“Sat. June 7, 1969
I’m back a day early. Just a lucky break I guess. Didn’t have any trouble till late this morning. The door gunners on the chopper had to open up as we left but no one was hit. That’s 5 missions now.
What I was to have done this time was be part of a 5 man ambush. We were to prevent a large force from hitting a fire base. It was to be a definite contact mission. I didn’t have to go but I asked to be put on the team. The mission was canceled about 20 minutes before we were to leave. That would have been some mission. We each had 3 Claymores along. 15 of them could really mess up a unit.
It’s starting to rain more now. Last night we had a bad time with the weather. Slept on a slope and kept sliding into the mud. I never realized I’d be so cold while in Vietnam. I slept about 2 hours and had chills all night & this morning. Unfortunately, fires draw Charlie so I had to bear with the cold. We were on a large ridgeline and it was cold up there
Nothing much new. I’m doing o.k. See you soon.
P.S.-Something for you, Dan.”
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Posted on 4/29/04 – by Emily H. Groll – firstname.lastname@example.org
Life After Death
This rememberance is to the birth, as well as the death of Pfc. Dennis M. Belonger- born on September 5th, 1948 in Manitowoc, WI.
Dennis Belonger was 20 years old when he was mortally wounded. July 19, 1969– only one day before he had written a letter saying how he assumed that the last mission that was to take place on the 19th– was not looking as fortunate as planned. Pfc. Belonger was killed in action during his last mission on the 19th of July 1969. He was serving with the Fourth Infantry Division on a long range reconnaissance patrol in Central Highlands– Northeast of An Kha.
Dennis M. Belonger, as close to what we can understand, was mortally wounded and when carrying out his mission- he exposed himself to enemy fire, “with complete disregard for his own personal safety.”
Dennis M. Belonger’s burial services were held in a local Manitowoc church, followed by the burial of Dennis Belonger in Manitowoc’s Evergreen Cemetery (Acc. by Veterans Ceremony)
Dennis M. Belonger had lived a short life by all means, let us not forget the men like Dennis M. Belonger, who put our safety before their very own.
friend and fellow LRRP
304 Lynn Rd.
Monday, August 28, 2000
Ranger Dennis Belonger
Ranger Steve email@example.com – 6/18/06
Dennis and I served in the same company and together we often shared our Ranger expertise on the same team. Dennis was a very brave Ranger and I will always remember him as a brave, courageous person and fun person. Dennis is greatly missed by all. Sua Sponte.
From “Never Forgotten” by Mike Lapolla (4thdivrangers.com) –
Denny Belonger joined the 1st Bde LRRPs in June 1969. We went on several missions together as members of Sgt. Ratman Thibodeau’s recon team, Hawkeye-1-Alpha. Denny was a big man. He had a big smile and broad shoulders to match. Denny was well-liked by all who served with him and conducted himself in such a way that you knew you could always count on him, both away from and in the field. He asked nothing of others, always did what he was asked to do and never complained. On our last mission together, Denny made the ultimate sacrifice for his fellow teammates, unit and country. Despite the fact that our position was overrun by a numerically superior force of NVA regulars, and that immediate assistance was not available, Denny fought courageously in a desperate attempt to complete our mission. His undying devotion to his duty and his kindness and friendship will never be forgotten. Bob Thomas
Cemetery #44 Evergreen BEH Obituaries : Manitowoc County, Wisconsin Genealogy
DENNIS BELONGER â€¦Pfc. Dennis M. Belonger, 20, a 1966 graduate of Lincoln High School, Manitowoc, has been assigned to the 4th Infantry Division with the long range reconnaissance patrol in Vietnam. He is the son of Mrs. James Ehlinger of Crestwood, Ill, a former Manitowoc resident. He received his basic training at Ft. Campbell, Ky., and was selected as runner-up for the American spirit honor medal and was designated honor graduate at basic training. Grandson of Mrs. May Opichka of 720 S. 20th St., Manitowoc, he also attended the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Manitowoc County Center until his enlistment in August, 1968. Manitowoc Herald Times, July 9, 1969 P. 25 ********* Manitowoc Youth Killed in Vietnam A Manitowoc youth has become a casualty of the Vietnam war, it was learned by his parents Monday evening. Pfc. Dennis Belonger, 21, son of Mrs. James Ehlinger and Orlin Belonger, was killed in action Saturday, according to his parents. He had been in Vietnam approximately two months. A 1966 graduate of Lincoln High School, he was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division with a long range reconnaissance patrol in Vietnam. He received his basic training at Ft. Campbell, Ky., was selected as runner-up for the American spirit honor medal and was also designated honor graduate while there. Prior to his enlistment in August, 1960, he attended the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay, Manitowoc County Center. Survivors include his mother, who moved to Crestwood, Ill., about a year ago; the father, of Belvidere, Ill.; two brothers, Douglas of Two Rivers and Dan of Crestwood; the paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Belonger, of Two Rivers, and the maternal grandmother, Mrs. Mayme Opichka, of Manitowoc. Funeral arrangements will be handled by Urbanek and Schlei Funeral Home, Manitowoc. Manitowoc Herald Times, July 23, 1969 P. 1 ******** Funeral services for Pfc. Dennis M. Belonger, 20, of 12817 W. Playfield Dr., Crestwood, Ill., formerly of Manitowoc, who was killed July 19 in Vietnam, will be at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Urbanek and Schlei Funeral Home and at 10 a.m. at St. Paul Catholic Church, Manitowoc. The Rev. Richard Heymen will officiate and burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery, Manitowoc, with military graveside rites by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 659. Pfc. Belonger was born Sept. 5, 1948, at Two Rivers, the son of Orlan Belonger and Mrs. James Ehlinger. After his graduation in 1966 from Lincoln High School he attended Marquette University one year, and also attended the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Manitowoc County Center for one semester. He enlisted in military service in August, 1968, received basic training at Fort Campbell, Ky., and was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division with a long range reconnaissance patrol in Vietnam. On July 11 he was recipient of the Bronze Star given for bravery in action. He was a member of the VFW Post 659. Survivors include his mother of Crestwood, Ill.; the father of Belvidere, Ill.; two brothers, Douglas of Two Rivers, Dan of Crestwood; the paternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Belonger, of Two Rivers, and the maternal grandmother, Mrs. Mayme Opichka, of Manitowoc. A memorial fund for purchase of books in Belonger’s name has been established at the Manitowoc County Center. Friends may call at the funeral home after 6 p.m. Wednesday where at 7:30 p.m. the Rosary will be recited. Manitowoc Herald Times, July 29, 1969 P. 11 ******* [d. in Vietnam/bur. on Adolph H. and Mayme Opichka lot]