Donald Kincade, 2nd Bde LRRP, K/75 Ranger, passed away June 4, 2011


November 27, 1948 – June 4, 2011

ATL Doug Childers, Adams, TL Don Kincade, Paris
An Khe, Central Highlands, Vietnam – circa 1970

Donald “Cade” Kincade was born in Paxton, Illinois on November 27, 1948.  The year was 1948. WWII had ended a few years before and Donald T. Kincade (1920 – 2008) and  Goldie Cupp Kincade (1922 – 2011), married in 1942, brought their new son home to join his sister Sharon Kincade Heavilin (1943) who had been born while their father was away to war.  Donald Sr. served in USAF in WWII and continued in the Illinois Army National Guard in the aftermath.  One more child was to follow in 1954, Nancy Jane Kincade who died shortly after birth.  Donald was raised in a loving rural family with his father prospering as a grain buyer and licensed commodity trader Central Soy, completing 32 years prior to retiring.  The family moved a short distance to Gibson City, IL where Donald Jr. graduated from Gibson City High School in 1965.  He enrolled in Eastern Illinois University but the call of his nation at war could not go unheeded. 

He enlisted in the US Army and found himself destined for the big, bad, Central Highlands of Kontum Province, Vietnam.  Initially assigned as an infantryman the warrior in his DNA saw him volunteer for the LRRPs (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) of 2nd Bde, 4th Infantry Division.  In the initial stages of the United States presence in Vietnam, the clear lack of real-time intelligence nearly allowed the NVA to overrun our forces in the Ia Drang, a battle related in the book and movie “We Were Soldiers Once….and Young”.  Shortly after that hard-won battle, the 1/7th Cav was replaced by the 4th Infantry Division with the mission to “Tame the Ia Drang”.  One of the first decisions was to determine how best to know the enemy.  The solution was to insert 4-man teams of Rangers, then called LRRPs, to surreptitiously live in the jungle amongst the enemy.  They would be inserted into the jungle for extended missions and patrol an area of suspected enemy concentration to uncover weaknesses and eliminate when possible.  The 1st Bde LRRPs, as was their counterparts in 2nd Bde, 3rd Bde and E/58th LRRP, was to comprise a strategically important component of the 4th Infantry Division’s ability to wage effective war.  Later, in 1969, an Army-wide re-designation of all LRRPs transitioned them into K Co., 75th Infantry Regiment (Ranger).  His decision to volunteer was courageous and dangerous, but no young soldier who proudly wore the “Tiger Stripe Fatigues” ever regretted that decision. 

Of his time in the Rangers, there are no shortages of those who sing his praise.  His ATL (Assistant Team Leader) Doug Childers remarked “Kincade taught me everything I needed to stay alive when I first joined the Rangers”.  Doug further explained: “We got into some really heavy shit with Kincade as TL. We had a night extraction after being dropped into an NVA stronghold. Dinks were tossing grenades at us. Kincade directed fire from a Shadow bird (I believe) shooting 104,000 rounds if memory serves me. We found out later that the place was crawling with bad guys. Another time we were on top of a mountain watching two villages below when a company of NVA walked up on us……we only had time to grab weapons on the jump. Luckily, we landed on a ledge that gave us cover while the bad guys tried recon by fire and rolled grenades down the mountain. We shot everything they had from a firebase and could hear the dinks screaming. With no more HEs we went to Wilson Pickets. Will never forget the screaming. Next AM we snuck off the mountain repelling the last few feet. We got extracted and fast movers made a run on the mountain. There were several other contact missions with Kincade – Paris – Adams and me. Kincade saved my bacon.”  Another Ranger, Brad Stuttz recalled “Listened to Kincaid one night calling in arty support from one FB and mortar support from another location. He did that for about 1 1/2 hrs. (Dinks had that team pinned good and wouldn’t back off) After one mortar round had been fired the handsets went quiet. Everybody who had been monitoring this engagement was trying to raise them. Twenty minutes later we heard somebody say something and extraction was initiated immediately. Follow up has it that the mortar round had landed right on top of that team, killing all the dinks and nocking Kincaid and 3 team members unconscious. I saw their gear several days later…..Kinda crispy.”  No doubt, the day “Baby Huey” (as he was affectionately called) left to go home, was celebrated throughout the jungle by an enemy fortunate to have survived Don’s year hunting them.  As is the case with every Ranger, he was willing to risk everything for the promise of nothing.  No one exhibited this more than Kincade.

Brick Mason, Don Kincade – Extraction 1970

Donald returned from the service with numerous awards and decorations including the coveted Combat Infantryman’s Badge.  It was a much different young man than had left.  He returned with many good and some horrific memories.  He returned with the respect and admiration of men who sparingly express such high regard.  He returned home with a sense of accomplishment and a confidence those who never left home would forever lack.  The year he fought just to insure he and his team did not die enabled him to view living as much more meaningful.  He began to work for IBS, Inc. and rose to be longtime VP of the firm.  He served, concurrently, as President of SSMP Trading – dealing very successfully in scrap iron and steel recycling.  

In 1988, Donald married Cinda S Schien (1956) in Key Largo FL.  They were to remain as much in love the day he left us as the time they first met.  A graduate of Arizona State University, she was to be his own little “Sun Devil”.  Together they were blessed to have had two children, son Christopher Andrew Schien Kincade (1996) and daughter Courtney Kaye Schien Kincade (1990).  . He was a member of Island Bay Yacht Club, Charter member of Panther Creek Country Club, past board member of the Abraham Lincoln Boy Scout Council and a member of the Chaine des Rotisseurs. He dearly loved his family and children and enjoyed boating and golf.

Donald T. Kincade, Jr., 62, of Springfield passed away with his family at his side at Memorial Medical Center, Springfield, IL on Saturday, June 4, 2011 after a brief illness.  What the NVA and Viet Cong were unable to do, the natural passage of time and illness succeeded.    He was laid to rest in Stout Cemetery near Lake Springfield but we Rangers will forever continue to carry the memory of his honorable service in our heart.