SD Vietnam War Memorial Dedication Please Support the Memorial Soldiers, Heroes, and teachers information

 

 



In Memory of Army SP4

Theodore Ellis Baltezore

Gettysburg, South Dakota, Potter County

 March 10, 1948 - June 20, 1969

Killed in Action near Quang Tri City, Republic of Vietnam

 

Theodore (Teddy) Ellis Baltezore was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on March 10, 1948, to Leland (Earl) and Genevieve Elizabeth (Ritter) Baltezore. He had four brothers; Robert, Frank, Mike, and John, and two sisters; Barbra and Laura. He moved with his family to Huron in 1948, to Faulkton in 1950, and in 1955 to Gettysburg, South Dakota. Theodore grew up in Gettysburg and graduated from Gettysburg High School in 1967. He participated in FFA while in high school.

Spec4 Theodore Baltezore entered the Army in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on April 19, 1968 taking basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington, and further training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He began his tour of duty in Vietnam on September 9, 1968, attached to the Support Platoon of Company D, 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division, as a driver and radio operator for the platoon leader, Lieutenant Brian Heath. The mission of the Support Platoon was to stage supplies and ammunition on the airstrip of a Marine Fire Support Base known as Landing Zone Vandergrift so they could be flown to the unit in the field. Enemy gunners from the surrounding mountains frequently attacked Landing Zone Vandergrift.

Army Specialist 4 Theodore Ellis Baltezore and Lieutenant Heath were mortally wounded by mortar fire on the morning of June 20, 1969, when a 122-millimeter rocket struck them. Spec 4 Baltezore was awarded the Commendation Medal for acts above and beyond the call of duty. His sister, Laura Novak, wrote:

He was an energetic, high-spirited, skinny red headed guy. He loved life and all the fun that went with it. He loved to play basketball, track, and he loved music and dance. He loved working on his old car to keep it running. I was away at college when he was in high school. But I remember doing my student teaching at Pierre, SD and the senior high girls in my class asked if I had a brother named Ted!!!

Burial was held at the Sacred Heart Church Cemetery in Gettysburg, South Dakota, on July 2, 1969. The name of Army Specialist 4 Theodore Ellis Baltezore can be found on Panel 22W, Row 095 of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.


In a letter to the family dated June 27, 1969, General W. E. Westmoreland wrote, in part:

The priceless gift of life is the most noble one a soldier can make to protect his loved ones at home and to safeguard the cherished beliefs for which this Nation stands. Our strength and security rests on the loyalty and devotion of American soldiers who today safeguard freedom as did the American soldiers in earlier times of national peril. You can treasure the thought that for his gift of life your son is noble among men who share the blessings of freedom.



Aaron Carda, 8th grade, Stanley County Middle School, Fort Pierre, South Dakota, respectfully submitted this entry on January 31, 2006. Information was provided by Carmen Hericks, Gettysburg Schools; the Potter County Library; Laura Novak, San Diego, California, sister to Specialist 4 Theodore Baltezore, and http://www.virtualwall.org/db/BaltezoreTE01a.htm 


 


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