Pfc. Clyde J. Caires was killed in the Vietnam War

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.

Hank Soboleski has been a resident of Kauai since the 1960s. Hank’s love of the island and its history has inspired him, in conjunction with The Garden Island Newspaper, to share the island’s history weekly. The collection of these articles can be found here: and here Hank can be reached at

  1. Shelly November 3, 2019 6:08 am Reply

    Thank you for sharing this article, our prayers go out to those families who gave so much

  2. Darryl Perry November 3, 2019 12:46 pm Reply

    I remember Clyde from high school when we caught the bus together. He was very soft spoken and didn’t say anything bad about anybody. Don’t know why, but he was somebody I always wanted to emulate. When I heard he had died in Vietnam not only was I sad, but I also felt that we lost someone who would have contributed at great deal to society, first off by being a great family man. I also served in the Navy in Vietnam on board a Destroyer. We can never say enough about people like Clyde who sacrificed so much for our county.

    1. Vicky November 3, 2019 4:37 pm Reply

      Wonderful article! Amazing family as well! My Dad was a veteran with him. Bless the family always

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