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



In Memory of US Marine Corps Private First Class

Vern Jacob Fried

Aberdeen, South Dakota, Brown County

 May 9, 1948 – February 7, 1968
Killed in Action in Quang Tri Provence, Vietnam

Vern Jacob Fried was born on May 9, 1948, in Ipswich, South Dakota, to Carl and Martha Fried. Vern had three sisters: Janet, Phyllis, and Pam, and two brothers, Dennis and Larry. He also had a girlfriend named Bonnie. Vern’s family moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota, where Vern attended Central High School and graduated in May of 1967. While in high school, he had a job as a meat cutter. His sister, Janet, describes him: “He was a very friendly and compassionate person. Full of life and loved everyone; he was very fun loving.”

Vern entered the service by choice. He “figured he would be drafted anyway and wanted to get it over with…he wanted to do his time then come home and get married” to Bonnie. Reportedly he was even assured that he would never have to go overseas since he was enlisting.

Vern Fried entered the Marine Corps on July 20, 1967, at Minneapolis. He was sent to Camp Pendleton, California, for basic infantry training and individual combat training. After a week’s leave, Private First Class Fried was sent overseas to Vietnam on December 21, 1967 as a part of Company K, Third Batallion, Third Marine, and Third Marine Division. While overseas, Vern wrote many letters home. His mother once said, “He was a good letter writer,” and she kept a “white envelope stuffed” with his letters. Vern even asked in his last letter that she send him more paper and envelopes so that he could continue to write.

PFC Vern Fried sent his last letter to his parents on February 3, 1968. It read in part, “Hi there all. Well, here I am again. Hope you are fine. I am…” and then went on to say, “Buy Bonnie a card and a Valentine box of candy for me and give it to her. Buy a big one.” He sent money with his letter.

Private First Class Vern Jacob Fried was killed in action on February 7, 1968, in Quang Tri Provence, in South Vietnam, just two months after he was sent overseas. Vern Fried’s parents were sent a letter from the commanding officer who wrote:

Vern was assigned as a rifleman in the second squad of the second platoon in this Company. On the afternoon of February 7, 1968, near Gio Linn, in the Quang Tri Province, Republic of South Vietnam, Company K became engaged with a large enemy force of the North Vietnamese Army. During the engagement, at approximately 3:00 PM, Vern received a gunshot wound in the chest from enemy automatic rifle fire while providing security for the Company Command Group. He died instantly, and knew no pain.

…Vern was known to the Marines in his platoon was ‘Smokey,’ he was well liked by all who knew him and was always in a cheerful and jovial mood. He was highly respected by his seniors as well as his fellow comrades. Vern was always willing to lend a helping hand and was noted for his ‘can-do’ attitude…

For Private First Class Vern Fried’s service, he was awarded the Military Merit Medal, the Gallantry Cross with Palm, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service pendant, Vietnam Service medal and Vietnam Campaign medal.

Vern’s father, Carl, passed away on October 4, 1976. His mother, Martha, remarried on December 17, 1977 to Rueben Ackerman. Vern’s surviving brothers and sisters include: Janet Graf, who lives in Houghton, South Dakota; Pam Ottenbacher, who lives in Eureka, South Dakota; Phyllis McClain, who lives in New Martinsville, West Virginia; Dennis Fried, who lives in Bath, South Dakota; and Larry Fried, who lives in Palarump, Nevada.

Janet remembers him: “He is missed by all of us. We talk of him often and tell the younger generation what a good person he was.”

This entry was respectfully submitted by Jennifer Hicks, 8th Grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, on October 13, 2005. Information for this entry was provided by Janet Graf, sister of Vern, who lives in Houghton, South Dakota. Additional information was provided by South Dakota Vietnam Veterans Bonus Application. Profile approval by Janet Graf.


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