July 31, 1944 (Norwalk, CT) – June 11, 1969; 24 years old; married to Elaine Ramanauskas Palmenta on July 25, 1964 in Norwalk; one child, daughter Christina
Last local address: 9 Gordon Street and 68 Chestnut Street, South Norwalk
Enlisted on June 20, 1968; MOS: 13A10, Field Artillery
Tour Start Date: January 7, 1969
Service number: 56840481
AMERICAL DIVISION, 196TH INFANTRY BRIGADE, 82ND ARTILLERY REGIMENT, 3RD BATTALION, BATTERY B
Casualty Location: Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam (24 people killed in the same incident)
Awarded the Purple Heart Medal and Army Commendation Medal
Attack on LZ East – June 11, 1969
Landing Zone East was established in 1967 by the 196th Infantry Brigade and was located approximately ten miles west of Tam Ky in Quang Tin Province, RVN. The base was occupied by elements of the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment and 3rd Battalion, 82nd Artillery when it was attacked by the North Vietnamese Army’s 35th Sapper Battalion on the morning of June 11, 1969. At about 2:30 AM, the NVA first hit a bunker at the very outer edge of the perimeter of the landing zone, destroying it with a rocket-propelled grenade. The sappers then began to run up the hill throwing grenades and firing AK-47’s. They struck with an overwhelming force, marching their mortar rounds systematically up the hill, striking bunkers and lighting up the sky. The Americans at East fought back with unit weapons, but the base was overrun. When dawn arrived, the Americans counterattacked and drove the NVA from the destroyed base. Sixteen U.S. troopers lost their lives and thirty-four were wounded. The lost personnel included PFC Ronald G. Crowe, SP4 Frank F. De Maria Jr., PFC Charles D. Green, CPL Freddy L. Holloway, SP4 Edward Johnson, SP4 Jack C. Lee, SGT David G. Michel, CPT Karl W. Mills, CPL Edward V. Palmenta, SFC Floyd L. Pitre, SFC Daniel G. Reid, SP4 Douglas L. Strickland, CPL James C. Strube, PFC Terry L. Thornton, PFC Bruce H. Tibbetts, and CPL Clark L. Williams. Enemy losses were estimated at sixty-nine killed. [Transposed from coffeltdatabase.org, wikipedia.org, and missionvietnam.org]
From The Norwalk Hour June 16, 1969
Seven-month-old Christina Robyn Palmenta of 9 Gordon Street learned to say “Da-Da” last week in response to a picture of her father, Army PFC Edward Vincent Palmenta. That picture is all Christina will have to remember of her dad, for he was killed Wednesday in Vietnam while serving with Battery B, Third Battalion, 82nd Artillery, 196th Infantry of the Americal Division near Da Nang. A telegram confirming that sad fact was delivered to Mrs. Elaine Ramanauskas Palmenta Sunday afternoon following the visit Saturday afternoon of an Army messenger officer. It said that PFC Palmenta had been killed at his base camp during a mortar attack by the Viet Cong. The 24-year-old artillery man had been in Vietnam since January 8 and had been shuttled with his 105mm Howitzer crew back and forth from Chu Lai to Da Nang moving wherever the fighting was thickest. The back-breaking job of preparing the firing pad for the World War II style weapon was particularly difficult in wet weather, but PFC Palmenta never complained. In fact, it wasn’t until he enclosed an Army newspaper clipping in a recent letter to Elaine that she was even aware of the difficult task her husband had. The article mentioned that Eddie’s crew was getting the new M102 weapon which came equipped with its own portable metal pad. The weapon would be set up for firing in minutes rather than the hours the 105mm sometimes required. Eddie remarked that with the M102’s, his outfit had “the fastest guns in the West.” The M102 was capable of firing three 30-pound rounds per minute. But that’s the closest he ever came to describing the action he faced day in and day out. He preferred to devote all his letter writing to the time when he and Elaine would be together again. He wrote endlessly of their beautiful blonde baby girl, whom everyone said resembled him so much. And he wrote, too, of his yearning to be with Elaine again. Recently, he was waiting and living for a rest and recuperation leave which was due in September. He had already made arrangements to take it in Hawaii where he would meet Elaine and they would have a second honeymoon. Married five years, they had spent the first four years both working to buy a home before settling down to raise a family. Eddie had worked with Joseph Rossi, decorator, as a house painter for most of that time. He was also an accomplished wood worker and used that skill in Vietnam to build a barber shop where he gave the other artillery men haircuts when they otherwise would have gone without them. A Norwalk native, he had been educated in the Norwalk schools. During his teenage years, he took up drumming and played the guitar. He was once with a group which called themselves “The Versatiles.” He was a Communicant of St. Mary’s Church where the couple married July 25, 1964. Mrs. Palmenta has been making her home at 9 Gordon Street with her mother, Mrs. Arline Ramanauskas. Mrs. Ramanauskas has a son, SP5 John J. Ramanauskas, serving in Vietnam one month after 14 months in Germany. PFC Palmenta was drafted in June of last year. He received basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington, advanced infantry at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, airborne at Fort Benning, George, and artillery back at Fort Sill. Surviving are his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Palmenta of Bridgeport; a twin sister, Mrs. William (Barbara) Waterbury of this city; a sister, Mrs. James (Elsie) McManoman of Bridgeport; three brothers, Richard of Danbury, Warren of Stamford and Charles of Stamford; several aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.
From The Norwalk Hour, October 7, 1969
Eleven-month-old Christina Palmenta, wearing her best part dress sucked contentedly on her thumb as she rested in her mother’s arms, unaware of the meaning of the brief ceremony taking place Sunday afternoon. An Army colonel standing in the living room of Mrs. Palmenta’s mother’s home, presented the Army Commendation Medal and the Purple Heart to the young widow. The two medals had been posthumously awarded to her husband, Corporal Edward V. Palmenta, who was killed in Vietnam on June 11, 1969. The young soldier, a member of the Americal Division of World War II fame, was killed during a mortar attack on his base. He was assigned to a crew which prepared the firing pad for a 105mm Howitzer. Most of his time in Vietnam was spent shuttling back and forth between Chu Lai and Da Nang. The 24-year-old native Norwalker was buried with full military honors on June 28. Lieutenant Colonel Prentice C. Hammond, Regular Army adviser to the 242nd Engineer Battalion in Stratford made the presentation of the medals Sunday. The citation which accompanied the medal read in part “Through his outstanding professional competence and devotion to duty, he consistently obtained superior results. Working long and arduous hours, he set an example that inspired his associates to strive for maximum achievement. His performance was in the best traditions of the United States Army and reflects great credit upon himself and the military service.” Colonel Hammond also presented Mrs. Palmenta with three previous service medals which the fallen GI had earned. These were the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Ribbon. The ceremony took place in the home of Mrs. Arline Ramanauskas, 9 Gordon Street.
Corporal Palmenta is buried in Saint John’s Cemetery, Norwalk, Section 3, Row 2, Lot 2W, Grave 1.