SP4 Willie Austin Jr. and SGT Paul Jon Kosanke

 

ALPHA BATTERY

Killed in Action 29 April 1970

 FSB Barbara, RVN

 

Remembrance by SP4 David Radle

 

 (Breechblock blew off during a fire mission)

 

The gun was not working properly and everyone knew it. The men were told to use it ONLY in an emergency.

 

However, someone thought there was enemy around and so they were told to shoot the fire mission using that gun, knowing it wasn't working properly.  Willie Austin told me to go to the bunker, as I was "short", so Willie took my position of firing the gun.  The breechblock blew killing the two men.  Injured were Gloudeman, who killed himself two years ago, and a man named "Bill" was blinded. Cannot remember his last name.

 

Willie Austin was a black man who treated me like a brother.  He could sing the song, "One Is

The Loneliest Number" better than the guy who recorded it.  He was a man of God and a dear friend.

 

Paul Kosanke was smart and good at what he did.  Always dependable and there when you needed him.

 

They were good soldiers and I miss them both.

 

I have had difficult moments over the years because of Willie having taken my place on the gun and then having it backfire on him.

 

I tried so hard to get someone in the government to understand what had happened--that it never should have been fired.  However,  they denied anything was ever wrong with the gun.  They denied a lot though and this is only one incident.

 

May they both Rest in Peace.


 

Recreation of the Memorial Services for Kosanke and Austin. 

 

Sent in by William Cowan

 

MEMORIAL SERVICE

1400 HOURS - 1 MAY 1970

 

E4 WILLIE AUSTIN JR.

E4 PAUL J. KOSANKE

 

2nd Battalion 94th Artillery

LTC Edward G. Brantley- Commanding

_____________________________

 

INVOCATION

OPENING PRAYER

OLD TESTAMENT READINGS - Psalms 23, 121, 126

EPISTLE READINGS - Rom 8:31-39,   I Thess 4:13-18

GOSPEL READINGS - John 11:21-27, John 14:1-6

PRAYER

MEDITATION

CLOSING PRAYER

BENEDICTION

_____________________________

 

 

Colonel Milton E. Key         Group Commander

Lyle H. Shaw (LTC)             Corps Artillery Group Chaplain

Martin N. Ford (MAJ)           Group Chaplain

 


IN MEMORIAM

 

E4    PAUL J. KOSANKE

 

Paul J. Kosanke, son of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin W. Kosanke, was born in Eldora, Iowa 6 July 1948.  He was a student at Lassen College, Susanville, California before entering the service.

 

Paul came to Vietnam 16 July 1969, where he served as a cargo carrier driver, cannoneer, and assistant gunner with A Battery 2/94th Artillery.  During his tour with A Battery, he was chosen Soldier of the Month, Soldier of the Quarter, and was on the top of the selection list for promotion.

 

He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Melvin W. Kosanke of Eldoria, Iowa.

 

E4   WILLIE AUSTIN JR.

 

Willie Austin Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. Willie Austin Sr., was born on 27 June 1949 in Mobile, Alabama.  He attended Rosalott High School where he graduated in 1968. 

 

Willie came to Vietnam 14 July 1969 and served in an outstanding manner as cannoneer, ammo handler, and truck driver with A Battery 2/94th Artillery.

 

He is survived by his father, Willie Austin Sr. of San Antonio, Texas and his mother Lottie Mae Austin of Mount Vernon, Alabama.