1LT John Cecil Driver (KIA)



Date of Birth: 5/16/1936
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Roman Catholic
Marital Status: Married
Tour began: 1/17/69
Date of Casualty: 4/17/1969
Age at time of death: 32
Home of Record: IRELAND
Branch of Service: ARMY
Rank: 1LT
Casualty Country: SOUTH VIETNAM
Casualty Province: THUA THIEN
Body was recovered



John is buried at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland Oregon.


John is honored on 27W, Row 99 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.


“I served with John Driver. He was and will always be the Best of the Best.”
~Dave Reinheimer


“I was a medic with Bravo Company and was with Lt. Driver just before he died. He and I were sitting, leaning against pposing trees reading letters from home. He was telling me about his family and how much he missed them. We were having a very personal moment talking about our families. John was a very likeable, capable leader. I didn’t get to know him very long as I had just transferred in from Echo Company a few days before. However in that short time I grew to respect him as a leader and as a very kind man. When the explosion of the claymore went off, he grabbed his M-16 and was off down the hill in a flash. I grabbed my aid bag a started down the hill after him. At that moment another soldier and I were pinned behind a large tree with AK bullets whizzing by, kicking up dirt and tearing bark from the tree. After a few seconds it let up, and about that time 1st Sgt., hollered, ‘Doc, help, LT’s been hit.’ Just a few feet away, it broke my heart to see Lt. Driver had been hit in the head, and that he was dying. 1st. Sgt. was a tough man, but he was crying and pleading for me to help Driver. It was the hardest thing I could do to tell 1st. Sgt. that there wasn’t anything that could be done. He told me to go tend to the other wounded, as three others had been hit. I’ve always had regrets that I didn’t get to finish hearing the stories of the Lt’s family. He obviously loved them very much, as he was emotional as he spoke of them. Please let the family know the last thing on his mind before he died was of his family. This has affected me greatly over the years; I had just lost Lt. Bruce King a few days before in Echo Company, and Lt. John Walsh, Lt. Driver’s replacement, was killed just a few days later in the same general area. I have not thought of these events in years, but my son is currently serving his second tour in Irag, and all of these memories have come flooding back. I will carry these memories of these great men for the rest of my life, as I am sure their lives have shaped mine in some small way. God Bless All of Them.”

~Mitchell “Mike” (Doc) Edwards

“I knew Lt. Driver and he was far and beyond the most competent, easiest to deal with, and bravest officer I ever encountered in my life. One sensed as soon as they met him that he was one of the ‘best of the best’ soldiers. The other thing that struck me about him was that he truly respected the on-the-bottom grunt, as he treated us all with a dignity that I rarely saw with any other officer. I myself recovered his body and it was one of the few times that I had to make a real effort not to cry in front of those in my charge.”

~Brian Scott Williams,
Former Sergeant of Infantry 68-69

“I was a squad leader in first platoon of Bravo Company when Lt. John Driver came to our company. I had a great working relationship with him and as a team, we were unbeatable. When something bad or dirty had to be done, I knew without a doubt that he was going to call my number to get the job done. I didn’t mind it because I wanted to prove my ability and my squad to him. He taught me more about what a real solider is about and I’ll never, never, never forget him.”

~James Duke

“16 this 16 kilo, April 17, 1969, the CO was looking for a fight and another bar; you were reading a letter, I assume from home. The OP blew their claymore mine; grabbing your M16 you did fly down into the valley; you did charge, the NVA were waiting. Driver you did drive on; I followed closely behind, the buzz of AK rounds did sizzle past the ears over the helmet, between the legs, under the arms. I looked but could not find but suddenly I found that heroes do die. The memories linger of that day. I was lost in the ‘world’ as if no one cared, but I was in a place where ‘Eagles’ dared. Walsh was your replacement; he took the radio and put me back on point(?) Later Graney rec’d another bar, and we other scars. I believe you had angels watch over me. See you again, over. 16 this is 16 kilo I survived; ‘Drive On Driver’.”

~ From your Blackfeet Indian ‘RTO’, Crossguns

“John Driver had been to Vietnam before with the 1st Cavalry Division. John was with Colonel Hal Moore’s Unit depicted in the movie ‘We Were Soldiers’ and is mentioned on pages 220 & 221 of the book for which the movie was made. During my 2nd tour in Vietnam John and I became good friends and he taught me combat tactics and how to survive under fire. Over a period of about 6 months John and I fought together and survived several close calls. On April 17th, 1969 John and I rushed down a hill in the Au Shau Valley to respond to an enemy attack. As AK-47 bullets zinged around us, John went around a tree and the fire shifted toward us. I was pinned behind the tree and continued firing at the enemy. John moved towards the enemy as AK fire bounced off my tree. The firefight continued intensely for a few minutes, and when the gunfire stopped I came out from behind the tree to find my good friend. John had been shot in the face and lay dying. I tried to do something, but it was too late. I knelt beside my friend as he died, and then we wrapped his body up and carried him to a waiting chopper. After I came home, John’s Unit from his first tour in Vietnam (Hal Moore’s Unit from “We were soldiers”) brought John’s brother Jim to the wall on Veterans Day. they had Jim call me at my desk because he wanted to know exactly how John died. I told him and after some tears and grateful thank you’s both ways, we said goodbye. At that moment I knew why I survived to return home. My place in destiny was at least in part to speak for John to those who wanted to know. Here’s one for you John;”

May the road rise up to meet you,

and may we rise up together when God calls to home

All who have walked together through jungles hallowed halls.

and when the last one’s home,

and parted from this earthen sod,

Let’s pause and talk on heaven’s trails

while sipping mocha tea or jackie daniels brew

and in peace explore new hills and valleys

where angels lead the way…

One day…at…



“I shared the same officer’s hooch with John when he was not in the field in Nam. Since we both reported to the 101st within days of each other I was fortunate enough to spend more time than usual with him while we were getting situated. He was older and more “experienced” than the other junior officers, and even some of the higher ranked, but John was always very humble and friendly with all. He was often the center of attention for the others with his stories about his experiences in the “foreign” armies with which he served. It was obvious he loved his family very much. He was teased by some of us because his last name was the same as the radio “handle” being used by the battalion commander at the time, i.e., “driver”. He accepted the teasing in the good natured way it was intended. I am not surprised to read observations by others as to the courage and strength of character he displayed in the field. He was a rare combination of courage and humility. It did not take long to know him in order to realize that. Those of us he touched will never forget him.”

~John Amato


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