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SP4 William Wayne O’Neil

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On Saturday, November 21, Brattleboro’s American Legion Post 5 will honor local soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War.

A ceremony, at the post home on Linden Street, will include students from Brattleboro Union High School reading the names and a brief biography of each of the 11 men, followed by a brief address by Dr. Robert Tortolani, a combat battalion surgeon during the Vietnam War.

The soldier biographies, along with family photos, will be posted on the Brattleboro Historical Society website, in succession, in the days leading up to the November 21 event.

Today we remember SP4 William Wayne O’Neil.

SP4 William Wayne O’Neil: American Legion Post 5 Tribute 2015

October 11, 1949 – January 21, 1970

Bill O’Neil was the son of State Representative James E. and Dorothy P. O’Neil. He grew up in Chesterfield, NH with his brother James Jr. and his sisters Judith and Kathleen.

Bill graduated from Keene High School in 1967, He enlisted in the Army and was deployed to Vietnam with the First Air Cavalry Division. Bill was assigned to Company D in the 2nd Battalion (Airborne). Bill served with his unit in Phuoc Long.

On January 5, 1970 Bill’s company engaged the enemy. “Specialist Four O’Neill pursued the enemy with aggressive military tactics, neutralizing and defecting him. His heroic and valiant actions were often characterized by unselfishly exposing himself to hostile fire under adverse conditions inherent in a combat environment.” For his actions in this battle, Bill was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Heroism. Bill was wounded on January 21, 1970 and he died from his wounds.