Branch: U. S. Marines
Rank: Private First Class
Status: Killed in action
Date of Service: Vietnam War
Home Town: Clearbrook
Gerald Bennett Bagaason was born January 8, 1947 in Bagley, Minnesota to Donald K. and Viola Jordan Bagaason. He had two brothers and three sisters: James, Mark, Linda, Sandra and Patricia. He lived all his life in Clearbrook, graduating from Clearbrook High School.
Gerald entered the U. S. Marine Corps on February 24, 1966 in Fargo, North Dakota. After finishing boot camp and infantry school, he was assigned to Company M, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division as a rifleman.
The 3rd Battalion had already entered Vietnam in January of 1966. Its Marines made an amphibious landing in southern Quang Ngai Province where they took part in 33 major combat operations during the next five years. The Marines of the 3rd Battalion entered a never-ending schedule of day and night patrols, ambushes, and fire fights plus the constant battle with temperature extremes, unbearable humidity, monsoon rains, insect hoards and constant tension.
Gerald had only been in-country about two weeks when the unthinkable happened. Around 1655 hours (4:55 p.m.) on September 9th, 1966, his unit was getting into position for an ambush south of the hamlet of Man Quan in the Hoa Van District of Quang Nam Province. Suddenly they were hit with a volley of enemy rifle fire and one round of an M-79 rifle grenade. Three Marines were wounded, one of them PFC Gerald Bagaason. He died of multiple fragmentation wounds.
Gerald was laid to rest by his family and community in Silver Creek Cemetery near Clearbrook. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medial and the Purple Heart. He was 19 years old.