Specialist 4 John Levinthol III, killed in the Vietnam War

This Island History was written to honor John Levinthol III and the other 12 servicemen from Kaua‘i who died in Vietnam.

Although born in Honolulu, Army Specialist 4 John Levinthol III was raised on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i, and attended Wai‘anae High School.

His brother Freddy Levinthol, of Kapahi, recently recalled that “Johnny Boy” spent his summer, Christmas, and Easter school vacations on Kaua‘i, and loved singing and dancing and riding motorcycles in the mountains.

He enlisted in the Army in 1967 and, after basic training, he was sent to Vietnam, where on March 29, 1968, at the age of 19, he was killed in action while serving as an infantryman in Binh Duong Province, South Vietnam, with D Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division.

Freddy, then in the eighth grade, also remembered a brown military sedan parked outside his father’s house on Kaua‘i.

Two military officers, one of them a chaplin, then stepped out and asked to speak privately with his father.

It was then that Freddy learned his brother had been killed in Vietnam, and it was the first time that he had seen his father, a highly-decorated combat veteran of World War II, break down and cry.

Among John Levinthol III’s military decorations are the Purple Heart Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge and Army Presidential Unit Citation.

A requiem Mass was held for him at the Fort Shafter post chapel on O‘ahu, and burial with full military honors followed at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

He was survived by his parents John Levinthol of Kapahi, and Mary Levinthol of Wai‘anae, stepmother Theresa Levinthol, adopted brother Louie Domingo, sister Lillian Levinthol, half-brothers Nicholas, Freddy, Edward and Vincent Levinthol, and half-sisters Donna and Gwendolyn Levinthol.

Other servicemen from Kaua‘i killed in the Vietnam War are Clyde Caires, Gaylord Kila Defries, Gary Kawamura, Allen Lanui Lewis, Rodney Pavao, Roque Perpetua Jr., Thomas Salvatore, Miles Tanimoto, Stanley Kamaki Woodward, Hilario Leanio Jr., Francis Souza and Francisco Concepcion Jr.
Island History columnist 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: https://bit.ly/2IfbxL9 and here https://bit.ly/2STw9gi Hank can be reached at hssgms@gmail.com

  1. Darryl Perry August 4, 2020 9:50 pm Reply

    Thank you Hank for recognizing those who made the ultimate sacrifice at such a young age. Like you, I too am a Vietnam vet. Although I don’t remember John, I did know Clyde Caires–he was a very sincerely and likable young man. We caught the Kalaheo school bus together while we attended Kauai HS.

  2. carina levinthol November 20, 2021 6:20 pm Reply

    just have to add that the post said that lillian levinthol was not an adopted sister but thats inaccurate she is my mother and they are half siblings same mother different fathers just to be clear he had no full siblings

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.