Life of Mark L. Deam before the army
I was born October 18, 1947 in Sidney Ohio to Bill and Mary (Brockman) Deam. I have a twin
sister Marcia (Deam) Shaffer, 12 minutes younger than me. I had a 3-year-old brother that died
in 1959 after a tonsillectomy and have another brother that was born in 1960. We all live in
Sidney. Our mother died May 4, 2003 and our father died July 9, 2022, 6 weeks before his 100th
We lived in Sidney until 1959 when the Mack Truck plant in Sidney was closed and my dad
was offered a job in Allentown, PA.
We lived near there until 1963 when my fathers father passed away and dad came back to
Sidney to take over the family insurance agency.
I attended Sidney High School and graduated in 1966. I met my future wife in high school
because the guy she was dating when I was a junior and she a sophomore had a locker right
beside mine. They traded lockers because most of his classes were upstairs closer to her locker
and most of her classes were downstairs closer to his locker. The best thing that ever happened to
me. We didn’t start dating until the summer after I graduated and was engaged after she
graduated in 1967 and before I was drafted into the army.
During high school, I was a snare drummer in the Sidney All Boy Band, which ceased to exist
in the fall of 1973 because of Title 9. The Ohio State University Band also added girls to their
band that year for the same reason. I continued to march and play in the Sidney Alumni Band
until September 2021.
After high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do and ended up working for the Ohio
Department of Transportation on a survey crew until I was drafted into the army.
We had planned on getting married after my basic training at Fort Benning, GA, but about
three days before graduation, I got orders to get on a bus and go directly to Fort Polk, LA.
Military Record of Mark L. Deam
Mark L. Deam (US51800400) MOS 11B40 (Infantry)
Drafted and entered the army on August 15, 1967.
Went to Fort Benning (Sand Hill), Georgia for Basic Training.
On October 20, 1967, went to Fort Polk, Louisiana for A.I.T. (Infantry training).
Went on leave December 15, 1967. Didn't get to Sidney until 11:30 a.m. on December 16th.
Married to Joyce Ann Eipper December 16, 1967 at 3:30 p.m.
Reported to Fort Lewis, Washington on January 3, 1968 and onto Vietnam (I thought). Spent the
entire month in Fort Lewis waiting for orders for Vietnam, along with many others.
Late January 1968 I got a six-day leave and came home to Sidney.
February 5, 1968 left for Vietnam from Fort Lewis/McChord Air Force Base, WA on a C-141 (3
planes total) cargo planes. Went through Hawaii, Wake Island, and Clark Air Force Base in the
Philippines. Landed in Chu Lai, South Vietnam about two days later.
Spent a few days in the combat center with some in country orientation.
Assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, 198th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal
Division. After about a week, I was given a PRC-25 radio and said that I looked like a radio
operator (RTO (Radio Telephone Operator)), which I became for the 1st platoon for the next 7
We were in the LZ Baldy AO until May. Not that much going on in that AO at that time. I
thought that I wasn’t going to be too bad. I was wrong.
May 9th, 1968 - was wounded in the right knee from a piece of shrapnel from either a grenade or
mortar on Hill 352 across the valley and south of LZ Center. We were in heavy combat with the
NVA (North Vietnamese Army). Our company had 17 wounded and 2 killed. We had sat on LZ
West before going to that hill and watched the Air Force fighter’s bomb that hill for at least an
entire day. There were 8 fighters in the air all day long. One even got shot down by a 51-cal
machine gun which B company captured before we got there. It was hard to believe that there
were that many NVA still there. They were in spider holes all over the hill.
Beginning of June after many KIA or WIA, they sent us to the LZ Bowman AO. We walked into
an ambush not long after arriving there and a week later got mortared. We had a number of KIA
and WIA from that mortar attack. Our platoon, 1st, was on point and the mortars were hitting the
middle of the column, so our platoon didn’t lose anyone. By the end of June, we only had about
35 guys left and they sent us to an island just north of Chu Lai where the Marines had surface to
air missiles. We were guarding the perimeter at night and just recuperating and waiting to get the
wounded back and replacements.
The rest of my time in the field was spent west of Chu Lai trying to stop 122 mm rockets being
fired at the Americal Headquarters and air base at Chu Lai. We spent time in the low lands,
Rocket Pocket, and the mountains, Rocket Ridge, and we lost a number of others WIA and KIA.
Middle of September 1968 to February 4th, 1969, assigned (Temporary Duty) to the 198th
Brigade T.O.C. (Tactical Operations Center) at LZ Bayonet, near Chu Lai, to operate a radio.
End of October 1968, went to Hawaii on R & R and met Joyce and had a great 6 days together
after being separated for nine months.
February 4, 1969, left for the United States and a 30-day leave.
March 4, 1969 to August 14, 1969 - Stationed at Fort Lewis, WA working on an M-16 rifle
range for men who had volunteered for Vietnam and never trained on an M-16. Most of these
men were coming from Germany and I never met any that had an Infantry MOS (11B).
My wife Joyce was with me at Fort Lewis. It was kind of our honeymoon.
August 14, 1969, released from active duty after 2 years in the Army and returned to Sidney
While in Vietnam, I received a CIB (Combat Infantryman Badge), Purple Heart and a Bronze
Star with a "V" device (September 1, 1968), plus all of the other medals that everyone got.
Life of Mark L. Deam after the army
In August 1969, we returned to Sidney and I returned to work on a survey crew at ODOT and
Joyce returned to work at Wilson Memorial Hospital as a lab tech. She had gone to school while
I was in Vietnam. Visiting her one night at the lab, she decided to type my blood just to check.
The army at Fort Benning said I was O+. That’s what is on my dog tags. They were wrong. I am
actually O-. I have donated 98 units of blood as of December 1, 2022.
In 1971 we purchased our first house and in May 1972 had our first child, a son. In 1975 we
had our second child, a daughter. Now we have 5 grandsons, 1 granddaughter, 1 great
granddaughter, and 1 great grandson.
At ODOT, in 1977 I moved into the design office to help a guy do right-of-way plans. That
was a good move because I got involved in computers and did some traveling for computer
training for surveying software. While in there, I also helping the survey crews figure out how to
use and download data collectors and process that information
While doing that, I got a professional surveyors license and the last 7 years was the head of the
survey department in District 7 in Sidney. I retired in 2000 with 34 years of service, 2 of which I
was in the army.
Joyce retired in 2005 and we bowled in a couple’s league for years and I golf and bass fish.
We also travel and attend grandkids sporting events.
Here is a link on YouTube of my Oral History Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfzPLike7N8
It never was submitted to the Library of Congress.