DOB: August 3, 1947
DOD: September 26, 1969
Cemetery Location: Section 43, Row 13, Grave 16
Branch: Marine Corps
Rank: Sergeant E-5
Service Dates: April 1965 - August 1969
Sgt. Richard Joseph Gradian was a dedicated Marine who served two tours of duty in Vietnam, returning to the United States on October 13, 1968. Subsequently, he and his wife Sally moved to the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, Virginia, where Richard worked in accordance with his first MOS as a baker. However, his secondary MOS as a gunner in a helicopter assigned to the Da Nang air base in Vietnam had, unfortunately taken its toll.
In May, 1969, Richard was diagnosed with a brain tumor due to his body absorbing too many chemicals in Vietnam. With his wife at his side, he spent from May until August, 1969, at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, undergoing surgeries and chemotherapy for the brain tumor. Richard received a commendation presented by a Marine Corps General while in the hospital for his efforts in Vietnam. Richard was declared disabled and received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps in August, 1969, enabling his wife to bring him back to the Veterans Hospital in Milwaukee so he could see his friends and relatives before he died there on September 26, 1969, at the age of 22. Richard had parents, seven siblings, friends, and his spouse’s family in Milwaukee.
Richard trusted that his efforts in the Marine Corps were helping to eliminate communism and making the world a better place for his spouse, family and any future children he may have had.
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