Private Dan Bullock, USMC, Youngest Vietnam Casualty

Image from the U.S. Marine Corps.On June 7, 1969, Private First Class Dan Bullock, a rifleman in the U.S. Marine Corps, was mortally wounded by a burst of enemy small arms fire. He died shortly thereafter. He was only 15-years-old.

At the time he was killed, Bullock was scurrying about to bolster the ammunition supply of the Second Platoon of Company F at An Hoa Combat Base outside Da Nang in South Vietnam. The base was under active assault by the North Vietnamese.

Raised in Goldsboro, Bullock was big for his age and thus able to carry off a deception when enlisting. His mother died when he was 11 and he moved with his father to New York, to the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

At age 14, he altered his birth certificate, changing the year of his birth from 1953 to 1949, and enlisted in the Marines. Training at Parris Island was tough but he survived with the help of fellow soldiers. He had been in Vietnam for just three weeks when he was killed.

A week later the New York Times broke the news about Bullock’s age and the Defense Department has confirmed that he was the youngest of the war’s 58,000 American casualties. Public attention came to his story in 2000 when television talk show host Sally Jesse Raphael purchased a headstone for his grave in Goldsboro.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.