Name: James Edwin McPike
Rank: Sergeant / Specialist Five
Pay Grade: E4 Posthumous Promotion
Home of Record: Lakewood, OH
Birth Date: January 7, 1944
Death Date: July 19, 1969
Cause of Death: ground casualty by an explosive device hostile;
Died in Dinh Tuong at age 25
The body was recovered.
Jim was killed the day after our successful recon mission, by a command det. Due to the size of the explosion, we had always thought it to have been a 105 artillery round. During last year's return to Vinh Kim, the former VC told me that it had been 2 Chi Com claymores stacked on top of each other. From what the VC said, they knew that I had been in charge of the recon squad and they were trying to kill me. They were far away and could only see Jim's antenna. Thinking that I would be next to my RTO, they blew it as soon as he approached the exposive. I was, however, walking point at the time...I had approached a closed gate, and had turned to direct my men to stop...that's when the world blew away. Jim was a great guy and especially popular with the kids and the older Vietnamese. Many cried and displayed anger at the VC for having killed Jim. Like every loss that a platoon suffered....we will never forget them and they will be with us until the day that we die. I have often wondered why it was Jim who was taken and not me. I guess its a case of "survivor's guilt" but Jim had a wife and I had none.
Jim McPike and I grew up together in Lakewood, OH. Jim worked at my Dad's store, Bob's Delicatessen. Jim was the most fun-loving, happy-go-lucky guy I've ever met. He had a sister, Joanne, and two brothers, Rollie and Tommy. Tommy had Down's syndrome and is living in a group home in Tampa, FL; Rollie lives with his wife in Delaware, OH; Rollie's 2 sons are in law enforcement. I can't believe that 40 years have gone since Jim was KIA. I'll never forget him.