This Island History was written to honor Army Sergeant First Class Roque Perpetua Jr., who was born on Kaua‘i and raised at Grove Farm Plantation, and the other 12 servicemen from Kaua‘i who were killed in Vietnam.
Perpetua (1934-1966) was killed in action on Saturday, Dec. 17, 1966, while on a search-and-destroy mission with his unit: D Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division.
On Nov. 21, 1966, less than a month before his death, he was awarded two Bronze Star medals at An Khe, Vietnam, one for heroism under fire on April 2, 1966 as mortar platoon sergeant for D Company, and the other for meritorious service to his battalion.
His Bronze Star with “V” Device for valor citation reads: “When his platoon came under sudden, heavy Viet Cong attack, the veteran professional soldier raced through the intense V. C. barrage and set up his mortars to get maximum effective fire on the enemy.
“He was quickly joined by the rest of the platoon and they laid down such an effective barrage that the insurgents were forced from their intrenched positions.
“Sergeant Perpetua, who was directing the platoon, refused to give the enemy respite, and continued to track them down.”
His other decorations included the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Vietnam Service Medal and National Defense Service Medal.
Burial with military honors was at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific on O‘ahu on Dec. 29, 1966.
The Army listed survivors as his father, Roque Perpetua of Puhi, mother, Mrs. Josephine D. Munar of Los Angeles, and two children, Ramona P. and Renee Perpetua.
Other Kaua‘i servicemen killed in the Vietnam War are: Clyde J. Caires, Francisco Concepcion, Jr., Gaylord Kila Defries, Gary Noboru Kawamura, Allen Lanui Lewis, Rodney Wayne Pavao, Thomas Anthony Salvatore, Miles T. Tanimoto, Stanley Kamaki Woodward, Hilario Leanio Jr., Francis Louis Souza and John Levinthol, Jr.
Former Marine Sgt. Hank Soboleski is a Vietnam War veteran.
Source: The Garden Island