Name: William Timothy Dorsey
Rank: Private First Class
Pay Grade: E3
Home of Record: Peekskill, NY
Birth Date: February 28, 1944
Religion: Roman Catholic
Death Date: July 3, 1970
Cause of Death: ground casualty by an explosive device hostile;
Died in Long An at age 26
The body was recovered.
I am looking for anyone that was in my skimmer boat on July 3, 1970, when we hit a trip wire on a canal in Long An Province. KIA that day was Private First Class William Timothy Dorsey. Wounded that day PFC McCormick, PFC Johnson, LT. Konyha. I would like the names of the rest of the men that were on board my skimmer boat. To the best of my recollection - On July second, evening, we took a couple squads down a canal about a mile and a half from the river, not far from Ben Luc. We dropped them off and went back to the river and set up for the night. July third we went back in the morning to pick them up. We got everyone loaded on the boat and headed back toward the river. About 200 yards from the mouth of river, the VC had set a trip wire across the canal. We hit the trip wire and a mine went off, which wounded all on board but three, my gunner and 2 of the 6th of the 31st. We made it to the middle of the river and the boat sunk. PFC William Dorsey still had his full field gear and flack jacket on. He went down with the boat and did not surface. The Navy divers found him 2 days later. He was a medic. Of the remaining troops a helicopter picked up 6 men and a Navy patrol boat picked up 2 men.
That is about as close as I can get for as many years ago as it was.
After submitting my article I was contacted by Doc's family and they said that he was a very good swimmer and was a new husband. His nephew and I talked about it and he corrected me about the part of new baby to new wife. He did die saving and pulling to shore two wounded guys, with a third it was too much. We went back on the 4th of July and recovered the body. Also wounded that day was David Gallaspy from Cincy Ohio, SFC Slatton, Dan Kadlac from New Hope Minn, Arnette Johnson from South Bend Ind, Richard Moxley from Tulsa Oklahoma, and of course Doc Dorsey.
Charles Sadlers my gunner. We spent 15months together. I've been trying to find him. He did not get hit in the Dorsey incident.
I was a Sgt. E5 with 6/31st on the date that you're talking about. I was in the second boat. Here is a copy of the letter that I sent home to my mom after Doc died:
3rd July 1970, Bien Luc
Dear Mother and family,
Well I didn't finish this letter yesterday because I didn't have time. We had some more bad luck. We went out on the boats and went up a small canal to pull an AP. Everything that night went just fine, then the morning came and it was time for us to go in. The boats came at 0730 to pick us up. Instead of 4 boats there was just two. So we had to put 8 guys on each boat and leave some of the guys behind. I was in the second boat. We were going to go in first then the boats were going to come back and pick up the rest of the guys. Everything seemed to be going alright. We had almost reached the big river. The first boat went around the last bend in the little stream that we were on. We heard a big explosion so we hurried around the bend to see what had happened. It was so horrible I couldn't hardly believe my eyes. They had hit a trip wire to a booby trap. There was 8 of my best buddies tore all to pieces. We pulled up beside them and started helping them. While we was getting the guys wounds fixed up we floated out in the big river. We tied our boat to theirs and started back into the shore so a medic copter could pick the guys up. When we started to turn my boat turned over on top of me and Sgt. Jaokes. but the guys pulled us out. some civilian were coming by in their little boats and took me and Sgt. and 2 other guys to the shore. The helicopter finally came to get the guys that were hit. We had them almost to shore and their boat turned over. It was like a nightmare. We were trying to keep the wounded guys from drowning. One of our medics was working so hard to keep Cadillac alive that he ran out of strenght and started going under. Mac was wounded in the feet and arms and he jumped in to save Doc but they both went down. Dan Inderriandan jumped in and saved Mac. But it was too late for Doc. He was already gone. We finally got all the guys on the helicopters. Everybody was sitting in the edge of the water crying like babies with blood all over them from our buddies. They haven't found Doc's body yet. Doc was 26 yrs. old, married and he lived in New York. He was such a wonderful guy. All the guys loved him like a brother especially me. The guys that got hit were Rodney Cadilac. He lost his leg, had a broken back, and a piece of metal in his heart. The doctors said he would live, Thank God. Buck Moxley -- He had a cracked skull and has brain damage. He was hit all over but the worst was his head. The doctor said he would be alright but he can't talk or hear. But he said it would come back in time. Dave Gillespie was hit in the face. He got all his teeth knocked out and had some real bad cuts in the face. He was also hit in the stomach and arms. Mac McCormick -- He was hit in the feet and hands. Sgt. Slanton -- him and Cadilac was hit the worst. He had a broken leg, arm, and jaw. They had to take out his kidney, spleen and part of his liver. He was hit all over. Johnson--had his insides tore all to pieces. Our new Lt. was hit in the back and in the arms. He had just been with us for 2 days and got hit. I can't hardly write this letter without crying. I believe you have a picture of Buck, Mac, and Dave. They were all from my squad. We have lost 15 guys from my platoon in the past 21 days. I guess I'd better close.
Love you all,
I would love to hear from some of the guys. If you have any contact with them, please let me know.
Dorsey was a good man. I had gone to school with his cousins in NY and when he came over we became good friends. Still remember him every July 3.
This is a great website you have. Thank you so much for your remembrances of William Dorsey. We will use some of them in a Memorial Day Speech tomorrow, Sunday, May 29, 2016, during an observance by the Veterans of the Seventh Regiment at the Seventh Regiment Armory, 643 Park Avenue, New York, NY. Some of William Dorsey's family will be there and are Veterans of the Seventh Regiment. PRESS ON! You are keeping such valuable memories and military history alive. We applaud you 6thofthe31st.com. BG(R) Thomas J. Principe, President, Veterans of the Seventh Regiment