David E. Lownds
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Col. David E. Lownds Naples, FL

David E. Lownds, of Naples, FL, born October 4, 1920, passed away peace fully on August 31, 2011. As all good Marines do, the "Lion of Khe Sanh", Colonel David E. Lownds, USMC (Ret) reported for duty on "heaven's scene." A veteran of three wars, Dave Lownds was wounded on Saipan and again on Iwo Jima; braved the enemy and elements in Korea; operated behind enemy lines in the Dominican Republic Expedition; and commanded the Twenty-Sixth Marine Regiment at the Battle of Khe Sanh during the infamous Tet Offensive of 1968 in Vietnam. For his actions at Khe Sanh, he was awarded the Navy Cross, our nation's second highest award for valor.

Married to his wife, Jean, for 69 years, he is survived by her; seven children; 19 grandchildren; and 23 great-grandchildren. He will be sorely missed.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial contributions be made to Avow Hospice, 1095 Whippoorwill Lane, Naples, FL 34105 or online at www.avowhospice.org.

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Published in Naples Daily News on Sep. 8, 2011.
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49 entries
September 13, 2020
Hero by any definition of the word. Fine example of a usmc officer
Joe Leong
September 24, 2019
Semper Fidelis LTC.

May God hold you in His loving arms.
August 12, 2017
Clearly an admired and much loved man, both personally and professionally. Men like David Lownds are few and far between.
August 7, 2017
I served under Col Lownds in 1967-68. I was a recon marine(B Company) and was wounded during the TET offensive.
He was a class act and I hold him in high regard always.
Malcolm Dedekian
June 1, 2017
Some of the Finest Men I've Ever Met. Were Marine Corps Officers During the Vietnam War Col David Lownds Is that Perfect Example " Semper Fidelis "

Corporal Daniel Johnston USMC
3/26 H&S Co. 1969 - 1970
March 19, 2017
I was a crew chief on a huey gunship
(vmo 6) WB9 "why me" during the siege of khe sahn.Wounded trying to get a special force man left at lang vey feb 7th 1968.

pl robert w crutcher
April 1, 2016
My name is Tony Cuccaro I was in ammo co.I and our whole company had great respect for Col. Lownds I feel this a great loss to the Marines that served with him at KHE SANH He is truly a great Marine.
October 5, 2015
I studied the battle of Khe Sanh, you're a true hero. Semper Fidelis sir.

Sgt. R. Garza U.S.M.C.
Rudolph Garza
July 27, 2015
26th Marine Regiment "The Professionals"
I have never served under a more able commander than Col. Lowndes. His "perimeter stroll" each morning at the Khe Sanh Combat Base is the stuff of legends. We will miss you, sir, but because the Marine Corps lives forever, you will live forever in the hearts of your fellow Marines. More than an honor to have served with you. Respectfully; G.P.Lucas USMC66-68
G. Phil Lucas
April 22, 2015
You were a true hero and a solid MARINE OFFICER.
Ronald Wasielewski
March 16, 2015
May your rest in peace Marine, be bookmarked by your incredible service, honor and sacrifice, which will endure forever. Semper Fi, from just another Vietnam Marine Vet (1966-67, Chi Lai).
Jon Meade
January 14, 2015
Your work was legendary. Khe Sahn. That was the varsity club.

USMC 1982 TO 1986.
Derrick Duncan
September 7, 2014
Col. Lounds, so u made the grade, now u hav taken charge of your former marines n heaven, u hav my deepest sinciriest honor sir, I salute u sir wth all pride. Save a place for me sir, , I salute u sir wth all pride. Sav a place for me sir, I want to be under your command n heaven. Semper fi. Sgt j "madwolf" mena. Crew chief ynky lmy-2. Hmm-362 , ugly angels, khe-sanh novmbr to march 68, 21st jan 68, me da crew-chief dat got u wounded men off ? hill 881 north? Cnt membr, but me n my crew got u fitin men off da hills. I ws 20, but an old man then, yes u marines "hurt" my heart, god bless u marines. Sgt j "mdwulf" mena comanche wolf, semper fi
March 28, 2014
God be with him always
March 3, 2014
Thank You Sir, I was there is Khe Sanh in 1967 loaned from 5th Com, no one forgets that place, it's an honor to read about your leadership, I hope Chesty greeted you Sir
Bryan DeVoe
February 1, 2014
Bravo Company's 1/26 Observation Post.
My condolence goes out to the LOWNDS Family members, for their devastating loss of a great man and Great Marine Corp. Leader. He inspired us to fight on! No matter what the outcome would be. We were Marines and he was proud of his men.
It was my pleasure in having served under the command of Colonel David Lownds,USMC., during the battle for the Khe Sanh Combat Base (KSCB), also called; "The Siege, 1968."
I serves as an Artillery Scout/ Forward Observe, for Alpha Battery, 1st Bn. 13th Marines attached to Bravo Company 1stBn,26th Marines, 1967-1968.
The colonel and I spend many good times calling in "fire missions," on the various enemy positions surrounding the KSCB, from my Observation Post.(See the attacked photo.)

The Colonel was a good man and friend, I will miss him and his cigars.
CWO Teddy Golab
September 20, 2013
I served with Lt. Col Lownds in the 8th Battalion, 3nd Marine Division as a platoon commander and Assistant S3 under Major Crist. Lt Col Lownds was a hero in my book then and instilled in me much confidence as a young Second Lieutenant. On cruises he was a master at delegating tasks and demonstrated trust in his subordinates. I recall on one cruise he spent most of his time working on projects for his kids He loved his family.
condolences to all his family at this delated time.

Jerry Hicks, USMC
Jerry Hicks
February 21, 2013
My condolence to the LOWNDS Family. Semper Fi Mac.It was my pleasure in having served under the command of Col. Lowands at Khe Sanh 1stBn.26Marines Bravo Co. siege marine 1968-1969
Danny Rodriguez
January 1, 2013
I served under the Col. Lownds in Vietnam. He was a good man and a great Marine.
Chester Wilson
November 17, 2012
To the Lownds family my heartfelt condolences. I was a young chopper crewmember who spent many a night in his command bunker during Feb.1968 - he was an inspiration to this terrified marine! I still see him with that beautiful 'stash' and the cigar - sometimes a stub. God bless. Billy Byrnes VMO-6 MAG 36
November 9, 2012
A good long life and honour to the man.
As a "foreigner" (Australian)I refer you to my country's unofficial national anthem...courtesy of Jimmie Barnse.
stewart lowe
October 1, 2011
Condolences to Col. Lownds' family...he was a fine Marine and combat leader...I met him briefly at Khe Sanh as a 1st. Lt. "Huey" pilot during briefings...God bless, and...Semper Fi! Bill "Bullethead" Miles VMO-6 RVN '67-'68
William Miles
September 27, 2011
I sincerely give my condolences to the family of Colonel David E. Lownds. I only saw the Col. from a far being a young 18 year old PFC we stayed away from officers, let alone a Colonel. To a young Mexican/American marine seeing the Col. for the first time was like looking at John Wayne in person. Years later I found out what an in-pack the Col. had on my life, thanks to the Col. I am a grandfather with a beautiful family.For the Col. family we marines say, "The Marine Corps will never die, hence forth The Col. will never die" He will live in the hearts of all his men, because we too were his family RIP.
Jose Luis (Cisco) Reyes Jr. E. Co. 2/26 Hill 861A.
Jose Luis Jr. Reyes
September 25, 2011
Deepest sympathy to the Lownds' family. What a great Marine leader of men. Served at Khe Sanh, under Col. Lownds leadership, with MASS 3 in '68.
Robert Lee
September 22, 2011
My deepest sympathy and condolences to the Lownds' and Christmas' families in the loss of Colonel David Lownds. At Khe Sanh, he often would walk around even during the incoming until his staff protested. He cared deeply about his Marines, and we all respected him, and as many have said on this Guest Book, we owe our very lives to him. The VIPs and generals would fly into Khe Sanh or to one of the Hills during the siege, but I don't think any of them spent the night, but our Colonel was with us at Khe Sanh Combat Base 24/7. We saw him walk from Charlie Med at dusk all the way up to "A" Battery and our Avenue of Flags, continuing on out of sight towards the western end of the base under a cloud of cigar smoke. Up and down the lines the word went out:"The Colonel is coming!" We knew he was with us and cared about each one of us, and that was better than a package from home because we were in fight for our lives. And now The Lion of Khe Sanh sleeps, and he has taught us not to be afraid of the dark.
Dennis Wimbish A Battery,1st Bn,13th Marines RVN 1966-68 Khe Sanh May67-March 1968
September 20, 2011
Semper Fi Colonel Lownds. Served with Hq Btry lst Bn 13th Marines at Khe Sanh during TET of 1967. God bless you and your family at this time. We had one hell of time didn't we!
Jon DeWitt
September 19, 2011
Semper Fi Colonel Lownds, I was with Fox 2/26 and was and always will be proud to have served under your command, Chesty now has another great commander
Richard Tindell
September 19, 2011
I just learned of the passing of Colonel Lownds - he was certainly a Marine's Marine.It was an honor to have served in the 26th Marine Regiment @ Khe Sanh under such a capable officer.
To the family....thank you for sharing this special man...we all better for having known him.

Semper Fi Colonel

Sgt. David R. Norton
Echo Co. 2/26
September 14, 2011
We'd like to express our sympathy and condolences to the entire family. We pray that the God of all Comfort will sustain you and be an Ever-Present Help at this time of need. And may your memories of honor, courage and faithful leadership fill you with pride and encouragement in the days ahead.
Dick and Norma Vannoy
September 14, 2011
Met with the Col at his home in Virgina,July 4,1985. Served with Bravo Company 3rd platoon,lost many comrades..God Bless him....he did what he had to do.
Jeff Culpepper
September 12, 2011
I offer my heartfelt condolences to Col. Lownd's family and hope they all find peace at this sad time. Col. Lownds fit perfectly my definition of a LEADER. A Leader is a person you would follow to places you would not go alone. We Marines at Khe Sanh would have followed him anywhere! Semper Fi; Col. Lownds With Respect, Bruce "T-Bone" Jones B/1/26 81's FORO
Bruce Jones
September 12, 2011
Semper Fidelis - Thank you for all that you have given America.
Craig W. Tourte
September 10, 2011
Thank you for your service.

Semper Fi
Mike 3/26 881S
Herrick Lord
September 9, 2011
Semper Fidelis - enough said.
Phill Loersch Mike 3/26 881S
Phillip Loersch
September 9, 2011
My heartfelt condolences to the Colonel's entire family, we all share in your loss; the passing of a giant of a man, the 'Lion of Khe Sanh.'

It was my good fortune to have served under the Colonel during those most trying days in early 1968; I was one (1) of the many newly trained, inexperienced, untested, eighteen (18) year olds fresh into the Corps with whom he had to accomplish an extraordinarily difficult job. We accomplished our mission. When I first met and spoke with the Colonel in 1997 I mentioned that, giving him his due. The true leader that he was, knowing a leader never asks a subordinate to do that which he can not or will not do, the Colonel's response is one (1) I'll never forget and forever appreciate, he said; "Thank you, but it's Marines like you, not me, who deserve the recognition. You did everything I asked and more. You are the heroes of Khe Sanh."

May Colonel David E. Lownds, United States Marine Corps now go to his eternal heavenly reward after having enjoyed a life well lived; service during World War II, Korea, the Dominican Republic, and Vietnam along with myriad other assignments where he gave so much of himself. His impact on this great nation of ours will be felt for as long as the Republic stands. ~~ God Bless and Semper Fidelis!!!
Larry McCartney; Echo, 2/26
September 9, 2011
September 9, 2011
Rest in Peace, Colonel. Here is a poem from me to you, your families and all of your men!

August 21, 2011
Dedication: To those who fought in and around Khe Sanh during the Vietnam War, to the friends and families of the wounded, to the memory of the fallen, and to those who survived. Thanks to Ray W. Stubbe (one of many) who provided spiritual guidance at Khe Sanh and for his founding of the Khe Sanh Veterans Group and homepage.
Herman Augusta Lohman, Jr.
G Company, 2nd Batallion, 26th Marines, 3rd Marines Division, III MAF,
United States Marine Corps.
January 24, 1948 – April 6, 1968
The Wall: Panel 48E Line 029

It was written that Herman Lohman was a good soldier and tried to help other soldiers get used to the reality of being in a warzone in Vietnam.

Hills for Soldiers
April 6, 1968, Hill 700 – Khe Sanh, Vietnam
Charts have numbers, hills counted and labeled
Mentors amid combat, among bodies young and able
In blood shedding, posterity left to study,
Blown to pieces, others in fright, pastes on Hell’s canvas, all muddy

Hilltops, the taking an accomplishment, from here and beyond Hamburger Hill
To flesh out a story, sea of memory awash ever still,
Paper, each blank sheet an opportunity to tally cost
Seeking checks and balances of souls, concerning pensiveness on loss

Solemnest Chambers
Be they in
our quiet minds, chapels, human hearts deep
Prayer is not reason, but closure sought in answers which seep
Into that cross-section, between prayers said and heard
At the inclines of Lohman’s Hill, elsewhere for cheeks’ weepings, stirred.

Wherever grown men cry
Having found that knowledge of leaving comrades in time behind
Growing old, soldiers tell
Of youthful days of rigor, when men thought death could not come to them
To be ever stronger, to take high-grounded hills.

Lament the dead, lament the dying
For what human heart has not been touched, by the meter of poetic clutch
Better still, by unwritten messages in falling chests left sighing
How could mere words ever know how to value or convey so much?

Heaven screams out in eagles
Only birds view vastness further, far.
Upon cordite fields, put down star-spangled banners
Take up their last breaths alone
Swear to them, as you yourself love humanity
Words are for the living to ask in transcendence
That angels guard, and among you may roam.

All I could ever ask a God or Gods for?
If anything other than to love my family for eternity
Abrupt, sight changing back for fighting men departed
From gray fading into color
Ages and ages hence, life will be asked for them… if it can be, be it this:

Give colors to Fall semesters of life, tears splattering wet leaves stuck to ground
Human life may yet return to youth, divine
Through color once more seen by baby eyes for the first time,
The wheel of eternal rebirth in life, spinning round.

Dissolve the drums of war, reach into the nether beyond, for dead soldiers’ await interred
We, the living, are apt enough pupils to grip spiritual forms
To hold them as echoes in daydreams – to understand, to learn.

Give ourselves, the living and dearly departed,
Hope from this battlefield to that, to finish in honored memory what love has started,
From Flander’s Fields to Lohman’s hill,
May wiser men love Mankind still.

Fiery sprays of ordinance spent, turning existence upon hills into dark time expired
Death becomes us all, but love without half-life lingers out of this hardest marrow
Into the blink of eternity – what never will be again – to retire?:
Where goes all of fighting men’s sorrow?
In solicitude, this want of whispers to reclaim them, sought by human design, in rawest desire.

Copyright 2011. William Bradley Hinton. All Rights Reserved.
william hinton
September 9, 2011
I'm a Khe Sanh Siege Marine. Because of the Colonel's decisons a lot of us owe him our lives. He will always be a hero to me.
Tom Vosnick G 2/26
September 9, 2011
Col. Lownds was a great Marine, his courage in the face of the enemy NVA was
exceptional. I didn't serve under him, as
I was with 1/11 that relieved 1/13 arty, but I was in his presents the day he was interviewed by the press at Khe Sanh about the seige. His family is in our prayers. Semper fi

Terry Stoltz
1st Bn 11th Marines arty COMM
September 8, 2011
What an honor to have such a leader serving our country. He was the unassuming hero of the 26th Marines, among others. I have many friends who have admired him their whole lives. Thank him and thank you, the family, for his service. To Jean, his beloved wife of 69 years, you are a hero, too. Thank you for sharing your husband with a country that needed him. Very few people in this life sacrifice to this degree. Thank you. Dianne Jackson RN, BA, CCRN
September 8, 2011
My condolences to the family. The country has lost a great man and Marine.
Semper Fi Colonel and God Bless.
Jerry Van Hecke
MSgt USMC(Ret)
September 8, 2011
I'm a Khe Sanh Siege Marine, but I never crossed paths with Colonel Lownds during that time because I was on one of the hills -- 861. Still, I know that I have been graced with a wife, a family, and a life because of the many decisions he made in those terrible months in early 68.

I wrote to him twenty years ago and he took the time to send me a copy of the USMC Historical Branch account of the Siege. Inside the cover he wrote:

Dennis, Thanks for a job well done.

Now it's my turn to say, Colonel Lownds, Thanks for a job and life well done. God speed and Semper Fi

Dennis Mannion K\3\26 ARTY FO
Dennis Mannion
September 8, 2011
JC MARSH, Naples Marine Corps Laegue
September 8, 2011
Colonel David Lownds,
Late of the 26th Marines

When the last wave touches down
and we move to high ground
above a shore no mortal has seen.

Till the last trumpet sounds
and the guns quiet down,
hold fast our Colonel of Marines.

We all will move fast,
arriving at last
to link up with that
Lion of a Man.

We will salute once more
and in unison roar

Bravo Company, 1/26
Ken Pipes
September 8, 2011
Semper Fi, Sir

I had to privilege to serve under Col. Lownds at Khe Sanh during the siege. He was an outstanding officer and a man of courage with a good heart. He was a leader of Marines. He was what this nation is about...

He will be missed by all of those who knew him. May God Bless his family and loved ones.

John Jones
Corporal USMC
Scott Jones
September 8, 2011
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother.
RIP my Brother,
Sgt James Sigman Mike Co. 3Bn 26 Marine
Khe Sanh Hill 881 Tet 1968
James Sigman
September 8, 2011
This nation has just lost one of it's prized assets. Colonel Lownds was one of those quiet individuals who changed the face of our country for the better. He was a stalwart commander, yet a very compassionate one. He did care deeply about his men, I know, I was one in 1968.
He was a Marine of the highest caliber, an example to all young Marines to aspire to.
All of us who served him at Khe Sanh send our blessings and best wishes to his family.
Godspeed Colonel
Semper Fidelis

B 1/26
Michael O'Hara
September 8, 2011
Col. David E. Lownds Khe Sanh 1968
It is with a sad heart that I offer my sincere condolences to to the Family of Col. David E. Lownds.

Col. Lownds will always be known as a fine officer and outstanding Leader of Marines

I was one of the Marines that served under Col. Lownds outstanding leadership during the siege of Khe Sanh in 1968.

He will be missed by many of his former Marines.

Semper Fi Skipper.
Until we meet again.
Sid "Fish" Patricio
September 8, 2011
I sincerely give my condolences to the colonel's family. I was able to meet this great man for a brief time and found him fascinating and with a very kind heart. God Bless.
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