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In Memoriam

Chuck in Vietnam in May, 2019

Chuck Vander Luitgaren was drafted and served with the Rakkasans in Vietnam from 09/1968 – 07/1969. His awards include: Silver Star, Bronze Star with V Device, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Presidential Unit Emblem, Meritorious Unit Emblem, Valorous Unit Emblem, RVN Civil Actions Honor Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with Four Bronze Service Stars, RVN Campaign Ribbon w/device 1960, Combat Infantryman Badge, Sharpshooter Badge w/Rifle and Machine gun Bars, Marksman Badge w/Automatic Rifle Bar. He had held offices in both the Lester Hammond and Torii Chapters and was one of the founding members of the Weldon B. Honeycutt/Hamburger Hill Chapter. Chuck was also a proud recipient of the DMOR.

Chuck was born on June 16, 1947 and passed away on November 9, 2019. Aside from his impressive combat resume, he was also the cherished husband of Margie Vander Luitgaren (Kuyper). Devoted father of Beth (Edward) Franczyk & Jamie Raymond. Proud grandfather of Olivia & Cora Franczyk. Beloved son of Marcella (Mickewicz) and the late Peter Vander Luitgaren. Loving brother of David (Donna) Vander Luitgaren, Lynn (Norbert) Wleklinski and Lynn (late Raymond) Tuftedal. Dear uncle and cousin to many.

Tennessee Honors: A Celebration of Life will be held on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at the Howard Smiley Johnson VFW Post #4895 1701 Haynes Street (Mosley Street), Clarksville TN at 11:30 am.

Illinois Honors: Visitation will be on Sunday, November 17, 2019 from 12 Noon until 4 pm at Maher Funeral Home, 17101 71st Ave. (1 block East of Harlem Ave. on 171st Street), Tinley Park, IL 60477

Chucks family asked that people wishing to donate in his honor may do so to the Hamburger Hill Scholarship Fund.

To donate by credit card, click here.

To make a donation by mail, send a check or money order to:

Hamburger Hill Chapter

c/o Mike Smith/Treasurer

630 Waverly Ave.

Washington C. H., Ohio 43260


A Veteran Died Today

He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast, and he sat around the Legion telling stories of the past. Of the war he had fought in and the deeds that he had done. In his exploits with his buddies they were heroes, everyone. And 'tho sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke, all his buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke. But we'll hear his tales no longer, for ol' Bob has passed away, and the world's a little poorer for a veteran died today.

No, he won't be mourned by many, just his children and his wife. For he lived an ordinary, very quiet sort of life.  He held a job and raised a family, quietly going on his way; and the world won't note his passing, 'tho a veteran died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state, while thousands note their passing and proclaim they were great.  Papers tell their life stories,  from the time they were young, but the passing of a veteran goes unnoticed and unsung.  Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land some jerk who breaks his promise and cons his fellow man? Or the ordinary fellow, who in times of war and strife, goes off to serve his country and offers up his life?

The politician's stipend and the style in which he lives are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives. While the ordinary veteran, who has offered up his all, is paid off with a medal and perhaps a pension, small. It's so easy to forget them, for it is so long ago, that our Bobs and Jims and Johnnys went to battle, but we know.  It was not the politicians and their compromises and ploys, who won for us the freedom that our country now enjoys. Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand, would you really want some cop-out, with his ever-waffling stand? Or, would you want a veteran, who has sworn to defend his home, his kin and country, and would fight until the end?

He was just a common veteran and his ranks are growing thin, but his presence should remind us we may need his likes again. For when countries are in conflict,  then we find the military's part is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor while he's here to hear the praise, then at least let's give him homage, at the ending of his days. Perhaps just a simple headline in the paper that might say Our country is in mourning, for a veteran died today.


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