This Island History was written to honor Clyde J. Caires and the other 12 servicemen from Kauai who were killed in Vietnam.
On Friday, March 3, 1967, Army Pfc. Clyde J. Caires (1948-1967) died of wounds received in combat against the Viet Cong after metal fragments from a Claymore mine struck him in the head while he was on a search and destroy mission with his unit, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade.
He was survived by his father, Ernest Caires, a warehouseman with Kauai Commercial Company, his mother Anne Martha Caires, and three brothers, Roger, Ernest, and Louis.
Shortly after being notified that his son had been killed, his father said that “He made his first combat jump in Operation Junction City, I believe, on February 27 – his 19th birthday. I would say he celebrated his birthday making his first combat jump. I got two letters from him since then. He said in a couple of days they were going out and walk. I believe they were to go on a search and destroy mission. I believe his company was the one ambushed by the Viet Cong on Friday that was in the story in the Star-Bulletin Saturday. It said something about the paratroops being ambushed and a Claymore mine went off, causing heavy casualties. Maybe my boy was in that. He wrote us and told us not to worry, not to count the days, and before we know it he would be home.”
Clyde Caires was a graduate of Kauai High School and had been active in sports.
Funeral services were held on March 13, 1967 at Holy Cross Church, Kalaheo, and burial with full military honors took place at Kauai Veterans Cemetery, Hanapepe.
Other Kauai servicemen killed in the Vietnam War are: Francisco Concepcion, Jr., Gaylord Kila Defries, Gary Noboru Kawamura, Allen Lanui Lewis, Rodney Wayne Pavao, Roque Perpetua, Jr., Thomas Anthony Salvatore, Miles T. Tanimoto, Stanley Kamaki Woodward, Hilario Leanio Jr., Francis Louis Souza, and John Levinthol, Jr.
Hank Soboleski is a Vietnam War veteran.