Victor David Westphall III, called David, was born in 1940 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Victor and Jeanne Westphall. He had one younger brother, Walter Douglas. He was raised in Albuquerque, NM. David loved football and excelled in track, breaking 9.7 seconds in the 100 yd. sprint during his freshman year at UNM in 1958. David left UNM in 1959 to join the Marines. During his tour of duty as an enlisted man from 1959 – 1963, he served part of his time with the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Division, Bravo Company. He later obtained a degree in Spanish from the University of Montana in 1966.
David rejoined the Marines in 1967. “At the time he made his decision the United States had 385,000 men in South Vietnam and was irretrievably committed there. …”
He viewed this challenge as a task calling for voluntary dedication, and was willing to do his part. He wrote: ‘My fellow citizens pay the taxes to support me, and I intend to be worth the pay.’ As matters developed he was to give even his life to earn his pay. ” – David’s Story: A Casualty of Vietnam.
David was commissioned in March of 1967. Of the 824 candidates who started the course, 573 finished. Of these, he ranked eleventh. Soon after starting the course he put in for infantry duty in Vietnam.
Upon arriving in Vietnam, David was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Division, with Bravo Company. The same Battalion in which he had served as an enlisted man a few years before. Now, David was assigned as a platoon leader.
David was killed in a battle near Con Thien, South Vietnam on May 22, 1968. Seventeen U.S. soldiers were killed in the battle. Read their story here.