Donald Richard Lumley
F Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division
Length of service: 8 years
Died at the age of 29 in Quang Ngai, South Vietnam
Cause of Death: Hostile, Ground Casualty, Gun, Small arms fire
The son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry C. Lumley and the husband of Karolee Lumley of Sacramento CA, Donald a eight year veteran of the US Marine Corps was commisioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in January 1966.
2nd Lt Lumley was serving with Company F, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, 3d Marine Division(Rein) FMF when the unit engaged NVA forces on Operation UTAH.
Before he entered the service he had a promising baseball career. The 17-year-old, left-handed hitting outfielder signed with the Panama City Fliers of the Class D Alabama-Florida League in July 1954. Playing right field for the Fliers against the Andalusia-Opp Indians on July 21, Lumley drove in four runs on a triple and a single to help Panama City win. Lumley was back with the Falcons in 1955. Playing for former big league first baseman, Tony Lupien, Lumley was a key member of the Jamestown club. Lumley had a promising career ahead of him but military service beckoned in 1956. That summer, instead of playing minor league baseball he was in the Marine Corps playing first base with the Streaks in the Okinawa Service League. In 1957, Lumley was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan and playing with the Camp McGill Marines. After three years of overseas military service, Lumley returned to the United States in late 1958, and played During the winter months he returned to Sacramento where he played in the Winter Baseball League and was the National Division batting champion. He was back in the minors in the spring of 1959, playing as if he’d not missed a single season. Under the watchful eye of manager, Johnny Pesky, Lumley played outfield and first base with the Knoxville Smokies of the Class A Sally League. In the spring of 1960, Lumley was under contract to Detroit’s Denver Bears, and attended spring training with them at Lakeland, Florida. Entering the 1961 season, eight years after playing his first minor league game, Lumley started the year with the Nashville Vols of the Southern Association before finding his way back to the Birmingham Barons. Lumley quit professional baseball after the 1961 season but continued to play at the amateur level. In 1964, he was with the Knoxville team that captured the Stan Musial World Series of the American Amateur Baseball Congress. He also served as the freshman baseball coach at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. With U.S military involvement on the increase in Vietnam, Don Lumley was recalled to active service as a second lieutenant in January 1966.
The first wave of Marines were taken under fire but managed to secure the landing zone and begin to move towards their objectives. By the afternoon the NVA stuck Company F with a heavy volume of fire, causing the entire Company to take heavy casualties and cutting off the 1st and lead platoon from the rest of the Company, clearly the enemy wanted to cut the unit and reduce its combined strength. The Company Commander was badly wounded by the enemy machine-gun fire and reported his situation to the Battalion CP.
A replacement CO was dispatched immediately and reached the embattled Marines under heavy fire; he assumed command and reported immediately that the situation was serious and that the men were running out of ammunition as the casualties were piling up from the devastating enemy fire. The NVA attack was finally repulsed by air strikes, using bombs, rockets and napalm that were dropped on the enemy until the Marines reached their night defensive positions near the hamlet of Chau Nhai.
2nd Lt Lumley died from an enemy gunshot wound, one of forty-two Marine casualties from the 2d Battalion killed in action by the enemy during the battle. Five Marines from Company B, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines were also killed.