Colonel Giles R. Boyce, the commanding officer for Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, renamed the staff non-commissioned officer barracks on Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan, Dec. 22, 2017. The barracks were named after Vietnam war hero, Staff Sgt. Claude H. Dorris, a former squad leader and advisor for Combined Action Platoon H-6, 3rd Combined Action Group, III Marine Amphibious Force, in the Republic of Vietnam.
Dorris, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, was one of the many Marines who were killed in action against the Viet Cong force after unhesitatingly exposing himself to ensure his Marines would have enough time to get to their positions. Despite his position in the firefight, Dorris saw an injured Vietnamese boy and managed to perform first aid on him. Shortly after, Dorris was killed by an enemy rocket round. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic actions that day.
Eric Schregardus, Dorris’ son, said his father was a courageous man who took every opportunity to help the Vietnamese people.
“He never forgot that we were in Vietnam to help the South Vietnamese, and had actually written to my mom about how hard it was to see villagers treated badly,” Schregardus said. “So, when the chance to work in close concert with the Vietnamese, teaching them to protect their own village, came up, he jumped at the chance.”
Not only did Dorris fight for people overseas, he fought to save lives in his hometown, too.
“He once stopped on the way home from work at a car accident and helped render first aid before the ambulance arrived, resulting in quite a shock to my mom when he came home covered in blood,” Schregardus said.
Boyce decided to rename the barracks after Dorris because of his initiative and complete devotion to saving people, on and off duty. The barracks will ensure Dorris’ courageous actions in Vietnam never be forgotten – something that Schregardus said he finds important.
“I am sad to have lost my father at such a young age, but proud of the sacrifice he made for the men in his unit and the village boy he saved,” Schregardus said. “So, in the simplest terms, I am glad that somewhere that sacrifice will be memorialized.”