La Roy Frederich Roth, K/75 Ranger, KIA Jan 7, 1970

La Roy Frederich Roth

SP4 – U.S. Army
4th Infantry Division – Company K (Ranger), 75th Infantry
21 March 1949 – 7 January 1970
Wall Lake, Iowa
Panel 14W, Line 9

Roth pic 2Roth pic 1

Roth grave marker


Service:               Army (Selective Service)

Grade at loss:   E4

Rank:                     Specialist Four

ID No:                   483587432

MOS:                       11B2P: Infantryman (Airborne Qual)

Len Svc:               1 year

Unit:                     Company K (Ranger), 75th Infantry


Start Tour:         09/03/1969

Cas Date:             01/07/1970

Age at Loss:       20

Remains:               Body recovered

Location:             Pleiku Province, South Vietnam

Type:                     Hostile, died outright, ground casualty

Reason:                 Gun, small arms fire


Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, Vietnam Service Medal,

Vietnam Campaign Medal


Wall Lake Cemetery, Wall Lake, Iowa

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Link to Remembrances:

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SP4 Roth was killed on 7 January 1970 in an ambush near Pleiku – along with teammates Will Willard, and Mike Lyne. The sole survivor of the mission was SSG Luther Doss, team leader of ROMEO-15. Doss would himself be KIA a few months later in April 1970.

Roth’s fallen teammates of ROMEO-15:



Doss pic 1
Luther Doss
Willard pic 1
Charles “Will” Willard
Lyne pic 1
Mike Lyne

Two weeks after the deadly ambush in January, Ranger team ROMEO-18, led by Obie Holmen, was sent into the same AO for reconnaissance. The link below shows a short film about this mission:

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David Doss writes:

To Mike Lyne’s Family and Friends: My name is David Doss and I am the son of Jim Doss. Jim was the team leader of Romeo 15 and was the only survivor of the January ambush which killed Mike, La Roy Roth and Will Willard. My father was killed in April of 1970. My father and Mike were very close, and I have a picture of the two of them which hangs in my home. It was sent to my mother by Mike. The inscription on the back reads “A picture of Father and Son.”

My father was changed forever by the death of those men and died, I am convinced, trying to avenge their deaths. I have many pictures of Mike, and I am certain that my father would want me to try to pass whatever I can on to you. I am certain he would want me to tell you how deeply sorry he is for your loss and although I believe there was nothing that he personally could have done to save the men, he carried the responsibility for their deaths until his end. I have struggled with my father’s death for 30 years and have searched to find all that I could about how he lived and died in Vietnam. I have laughed and cried with the men he served with and am certain now that he did not die for the war in Vietnam but for the men he fought beside.

The closeness these men have, and the quality of their character is something that makes me proud to be an American. My search has been a painful yet healing experience. As I read the letters from my father talking about the loss of his men I couldn’t help but to think of Mike and the child that he never got to hold.

If you read this and have not found peace in your soul with Mike’s death please call me. Believe me I understand and perhaps I can help!!!

David Doss, 921 Anne Road Glen Burnie, MD 21060. 410-360-9732

To my brother in arms

3/30/08 – by Steve –

We knew each other well and you served in Ranger fashion as a team member in Vietnam. You arrived and were considered a “young blood”. To me who grew to know you well, you always served your country in a way we were trained and came second nature and was then and now known as “Rangers Lead the Way”. Many years had passed by and I often pulled up pictures of you Michael Lynn and La Roy Roth but were never able to write a thing but only remember. It is now some 35 + years later and only now I am able to say that we all loved you Michael and La Roy Ranger style. RLTW

To honor A Ranger of the 75th Ranger Regiment

Posted on 2/13/04 – by Bob Smyers

Lord, those who knew La Roy Frederich Roth are so thankful you allowed them to be graced by his being among them. We his brothers of like spirit, a spirit that says all people, of all nations should enjoy the right to live free, and choose for themselves, do also thank you. He stands out to us and the world as a symbol of the price of freedom. Your Word says; “no greater love hath a man than this, to give his life for a friend” He did just that! He forsook self-preservation for others to live. He acted out of love, a love that required no contemplation but rather action. Surely it never crossed his mind at the moment that he would come to be known as a “HERO”. We thank you for men and women like our brother that thought it not too much, to give his life for others to live. Lord, this day give comfort to those loved ones that have been all these years without him. Help them to know he is at rest with you and “Warriors” of like kind. May we never forget the blood of others bought our freedoms. Lord, regardless of our belief, help us as we remember him and the many like him to consider the following words of wisdom; to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength, and secondly to love our neighbor as our self. Truly acceptance and application of this wisdom by all people of the world, is to see war and all other atrocities against humanity end! May our hearts be charged to honor the sacrifices of such men and women with a continuous and sincere effort to promote peace on earth and good will towards all?

La Roy was a member of one of the most “Elite” units that fought in The Vietnam War. He, along with other volunteers would spy on the enemy for the good of hundreds of American Soldiers and Allied Forces. Teams like this provided vital information to enable commanders of the larger unit to plan operations against the enemy. Without men like La Roy, information of this sort would not be possible. La Roy was a Ranger, a Long Range Patrol ranger of the 75th Ranger Regiment, which performed some of the most dangerous missions in the History of the Army.

These missions would place the 4 man teams deep in enemy held territory, and often out of range for radio communications with friendly forces. Relay from other elements of the Army and Air Force had to be used, and when it failed, the team was on their own to survive. More often than not, teams were too far out for the support of regular or mechanized infantry. Their survival depended on skill, team work, communications, artillery, and gun ships.

Men of this type unit were proud, committed, dedicated, faithful, men of courage, even heroic. They too were thought to be a little crazy for doing what they did. La Roy was a brother of brothers, a phenomena that can not be explained. It was a bonding beyond family and is still today among the living and the departed. He was a serious Ranger, one that took his job seriously. On mission he was all eyes and ears, one you could trust at your back, on or off mission. La Roy with his sense of humor was always welcomed. He brought joy at times and cheer at others.

Then the fatal day came when he was taken from us. He along with two other team mate,
Charles Willard and Mike Lyne did perish in the service of their country. From what I gather, they were victims of a surprise ambush as they secured for the night.

To the family and friends of La Roy, “You can be Proud”! He answered the call of his country and accepted the challenge of such a daring work. To this day he is remembered by his many brothers and dearly missed. Know that our hearts are sadden as with yours, and at the same time we feel a sense of warmth, and joy, for having been privileged to serve with a man of his caliber. A true American that gave his all to assure our banner, The Flag, flies high over our Nation and gives hope for those seeking freedom.

Sua Sponta – A Ranger saying meaning; La Roy Frederich Roth did of his own accord faced the enemy in battle at the cost of his own well being, for what he believed; All people, of all Nation, should have the right to choose how they will live.

Day is done, Gone the sun, From the Lakes, From the hills, From the sky, All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Fading light, Dims the sight, And a star, Gems the sky, Gleaming bright, From afar, Drawing nigh, Falls the night.

Thanks and praise, For our days, Neath the sun, Neath the stars, Neath the sky, As we go, This we know, God is nigh.

Bob Smyers