Lennie H. Scharff (1968/02/21)

High School classmate Dallas Wolf described Lennie Scharff as a "Fine guy, super athlete, good looking…the whole package."

Lennie Harold Scharff was born on August 31, 1948, in Fort Dodge, Iowa, to Mr. and Mrs. Walter Scharff. The Scharff family, which also included his brother Dennis, resided in Iowa until 1961, when they moved to Ben Lomond, California. Scharff finished grammar school and enrolled in nearby San Lorenzo Valley High School. In high school he was remembered for his football ability and gutsy endurance under adversity. On one occasion he continued to play in a football game with a painful shoulder injury without a complaint.

Lennie Scharff enlisted in the US Marine Corps on September 26, 1967. After completing basic and school-of-infantry training at Camp Pendleton, he was assigned to H&S Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regt. in the 1st Marine Division stationed in Thua Thien Province of Vietnam. During the 1968 Tet New Year Offensive, his battalion was engaged in the heavy fighting near the ancient city of Hue.

On February 21, 1968, Private First Class Lennie Harold Scharff was killed in action by small arms fire. The final chapter in his story is best recounted by his friend Dennis Belville who shared his recollection of Lennie's death and funeral on the Internet web site, Remembrance from the Wall.

”I remember that cold winters night when a hush went over the gym. So very strange, the utter silence, the sobbing cheerleaders the shocked disbelief on the faces of the parents. The thought that one of ours has died on the battlefield was a crushing blow. My brother and I were asked to be pallbearers at his funeral. Both of us in our dress navy uniforms proudly put Lenny to rest that day. I can still hear the single bugler playing taps as it drifted through the redwoods. He gave everything he had on the gridiron for the SLV Cougars and he ultimately gave his life for his country. 'Red right 33 Red' 'break'."

Lennie was buried in the Felton Cemetery on March 9, 1968.

(VVMW; VVVW; SCSn February 24?, 1968 1:3, March 6, 1968 12:2; Street Fighting Lessons Learned from the Battle for Hue for 21st Century Urban Warfare, By Edward J. O'Neill, IV B.A., Kent State University, 1989 May 2003, http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-0128103-183352/unrestricted/O'Neill_thesis.pdf, [16 September 2008])

Creator: Nelson, Robert L.
Source: Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010.
Date: Undated
Type: OBIT
Coverage: 1960s
Rights: Reproduced by permission of Robert L. Nelson and The Museum of Art & History.
Identifier: RO-SCHARFF


Nelson, Robert L. “Lennie H. Scharff (1968/02/21).” Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010. SCPL Local History. https://history.santacruzpl.org/omeka/items/show/4881. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.