Warren F. Nickel Jr. (1968/05/03)
Warren had little time to enjoy his new home in the Pajaro Valley before Vietnam beckoned.
Warren F. Nickel Jr. was born on January 6, 1943, in Marionette, Wisconsin, to Mr. and Mrs. Warren F. Nickel, Sr. The family, which also consisted of sons Dennis and Mark and daughter Sharon, moved to California and settled in San Rafael where Warren attended elementary school. After graduating from San Rafael high school about 1961, he entered Marin Junior College. Later he transferred to Humboldt State College in Arcadia, California where he met and married Mary Jane Westfall of Watsonville in 1966. In 1967 Warren graduated with a BA degree in game management and he and Mary Jane moved to Watsonville.
In October 1968, Warren was drafted into the US Army. He attended basic and advanced individual training programs and at their completion, was assigned to the 5th Infantry Division serving in Bihn Duong Province of South Vietnam.
Private Nickel's tour of duty in Vietnam began on March 28, 1968, during the final phase of the Tet New Year Offensive.
“The mission of the 25th Infantry Division was to conduct armed aerial reconnaissance of 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division to locate VC/NVA forces, enemy logistical bases, and interdict enemy lines of communications. The division had to provide a counter-mortar aero weapons team for Dau Tieng Base Camp during the hours of darkness. It was also required to conduct route reconnaissance and security between Tay Ninh and Trang Bang.”
While on a mission near Dau Tieng, a village north of Saigon, Private First Class Warren F. Nickels was killed by a sniper's bullet. His body was recovered and returned to Watsonville. Following a requiem mass at Valley Catholic Church on May 11, 1968, Warren was buried in the adjoining cemetery.
(VVMW; WRP May 7, 1968 1:2, SCSn May 8, 1968 14:8, Adj. Gen. Office 1968, Lessons Learned, Oper. Wilderness, http://stinet.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=AD 0390871, [15 May 2007 Approx].)