Kenneth Charles Hess
SGT – U.S. Army
4th Infantry Division — 3rd Brigade LRRP
11 October 1945 – 08 February 1969
Panel 33W, Line 89
Son of Mrs Robert Lenane, Scranton, Pennsylvania
Son of late Albert Joseph Picca, Seaman 2 Class USN, KIA 10.1.1945
Husband of Judy (nee Doughton) Hess, 826 Madison Avenue, Scranton, Pennsylvania
Attended Lackawanna Trail High School
Entered service 1963
Son, Kenneth Charles JR
Service: Army (Regular)
Grade at loss: E5
ID No: 13801117
Len Svc: 6 years
Unit: 4th Inf Div 3rd Bde LRRP
Start Tour: 03/27/1968
Cas Date: 02/08/1969
Age at Loss: 23
Remains: Body recovered
Location: Pleiku, South Vietnam
Type: Hostile, ground casualty
Reason: Gun, small arms fire
National Defense Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Purple Heart,
Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal
Archbald Protestant Cemetery, Archbald,Pennsylvania
Link to Remembrances:
Link to Personal Comments:
Barry Toll, 193 Carroll Avenue, Painesville, OH., 44077
LRRP Team Mate in 4th Division LRRPs
Ken Hess was my LRRP team mate in the 3rd Brigade, 4th Inf. Div. LRRPs. We had fought, lived, ate, slept, drank and cried together, many times in 1968. He was a damned good LRRP, within the most dangerous area of Vietnam at the most dangerous time of the war for such clandestine missions – along the infamous Tri-Border from south of Dak To, through the Plei Trap Valley, down to the Chu Pong Massif. Kenny had seen them all and fought at them all. He had accomplished so many hazardous missions, he had retired to a “desk job.” But he gave that safety up to join me in a few, highly classified and specialized missions when we were short handed. Suddenly, I was medevaced and Ken returned to secret missions as a team leader to replace me. He didn’t need to be on that mission. I loved him, admired him, and not a week goes by all these long years, I don’t think of him with the Highest Regards. His behavior under adverse conditions was, quite simply, impeccable. God Bless Him, and His.
Monday, January 31, 2000
The following was taken from the Scranton Times dated Sunday Feb 23, 1969.
Tragedy Stalks Family of Soldier Killed in Viet
The death of a Scranton soldier in Vietnam on February 8 is the latest in a string of tragedies which has struck the family over the years.
Sgt. Kenneth C. Hess had predicted that he would not return alive from Vietnam when he departed for the war zone in March 1968. Eleven months later, just one month before he was due to return to the States, his prediction came true. The 24 year old sergeant succumbed to wounds incurred when his unit the 4th Infantry, 35th Brigade, engaged in a firefight with hostile forces.
But he had reason to be fatalistic for his own father had been killed while serving in the Navy in WWII and had never seen the unborn son he left behind.
And now the parallel was complete, Sgt. Hess had departed for Vietnam leaving behind a wife and an unborn child also. And, like his father, he never saw his six month old son, Kenneth Charles Jr. His widow, the former Judy Doughton, resides at 826 Madison Ave, Scranton.
The tragedy has over- visited this family can be seen for on August 14, 1963, a brother, Jerome Pica, 14, was killed while riding his bicycle on the O’Neill Highway, Dunmore, when struck from behind by an automobile.
And coincidentally, on the day that Sgt Hess was killed in Vietnam, an aunt, Mrs. Jane Healey, formerly of Scranton, was killed in an automobile tractor-truck crash in Alabama. Mrs Healey was buried from the Sweeny Funeral Home, Olyphant, on Valentines Day with interment in the Archbald Protestant Cemetery.
Sgt. Hess attended Lackawanna Trail High School and entered the army in 1963. A career man, he served three years in Germany and returned to this country in October 1966. Before shipping to Vietnam he was stationed at Ft. Dix, NJ and Ft. Meade, MD.
Surviving are his widow and son, his mother, Mrs. Robert Lenane, Scranton; maternal Grandfather; John Hess, Scranton; who raised Sgt. Hess; a brother Armand Picca, Scranton; two sisters, Mrs. Margaret Larnerd and Miss Antoinette Picca, Scranton and three nieces.
The funeral will be Monday at 2:30 p.m. from the McGoff Funeral Home, 1401 Capouse Ave, Scranton, with services by the Rev. W. Edward McHale, St. John’s Lutheran Church. Internment, Archbald Protestant Cemetery. Friends may call 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.
His Son Writes –
I love you Dad.
Ken Jr., Scranton, Pa
|Four days after the Rangers were activated in Vietnam, on 05 February 1969, Company K team 3-C was inserted to monitor a jungle river valley in Pleiku Province. Patrol leader Sgt. Kenneth Hess radioed on the second day that he was feeling ill, but declined extraction. On the morning of 08 February, the four-man patrol reported that everything was normal and they were waiting at the pickup zone. No further contact was ever made, and aircraft searches failed to locate the team.
On 10 February, two companies of the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, were landed in the area. On the following morning, the advancing infantrymen mistook Ju Hmok – the missing patrol’s Montagnard scout – for a “wounded but armed NVA soldier” and killed him at a distance.
That same day, the aero rifle platoon found the remains of Pfc. Nathaniel Irving, and a grave containing the body of Sgt. Hess.
Eight days later, the 35th Infantry captured NVA Sgt. Do Van Luong of the 95B NVA Infantry Regiment. The captive stated that a wounded American wearing tiger-striped camouflage, with reddish-brown hair and a mustache, was being carried on a stretcher to the North Vietnamese B-3 Front headquarters. The description of the prisoner matched Pfc. Don A. MacPhail – who was returned after the 1973 cease-fire agreement.
* * *
Submitted by Sgt. John Serrano, Company K team 3-C.
15 July 2000
I was there and in the same Company K.