This Island History was written to honor Francisco Concepcion Jr. and the other 12 servicemen from Kauai who died in Vietnam.
Army Pfc. Francisco Concepcion Jr. of Kilauea, Kauai, was the first soldier from Kauai killed in the Vietnam War.
He died on Nov. 20, 1965, at the age of 23 after being wounded by small arms fire three days earlier in combat against North Vietnamese troops.
At the time of his death, he had been in Vietnam for six weeks as a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), which had been engaged for several weeks in almost continuous fighting in the Chu Pong Mountain area of Vietnam.
Concepcion was born in Kilauea, Kauai, was a graduate of Kapaa High School and had completed a two-year welding course at Kauai Technical School in 1962.
Prior to enlisting in the Army in 1963, he was employed as a welder, along with his father, Francisco Concepcion Sr., at Kilauea Sugar Co.
Funeral services were held on Dec. 4, 1965, at St. Sylvester’s Church, Kilauea, Father Thomas Hughes officiating, and burial with full military honors took place later that same day at Kauai Veteran’s Cemetery, Hanapepe.
Survivors included his father, five brothers: David, Angelo, Quintin, Dan and Collin and three sisters: Bernadad, Laverne and Therese. His mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Concepcion, had died a year earlier.
Other servicemen from Kauai killed in the Vietnam War are: Army Pfc. Clyde Joseph Caires; Army Staff Sgt. Gaylord Kila Defries; Army Pfc. Gary Noboru Kawamura; Marine Corps Pfc. Allen Lanui Lewis; Army Pfc. Rodney Wayne Pavao; Army Platoon Sgt. Roque Perpetua Jr.; Army Pfc. Thomas Anthony Salvatore; Air Force Capt. Miles T. Tanimoto; Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Stanley Kamaki Woodward; Army Sgt. Hilario Leanio Jr.; Army Sgt. Francis Louis Souza; and Army Spec 4 John Levinthol Jr.
w Former Marine Corps Sgt. and Island History columnist Hank Soboleski is a Vietnam War veteran.