Randolph Recardo Wilkins

Private First Class, United States Army


C Company
5th Battalion
60th Infantry Regiment
Third Brigade
9th Infantry Division

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: May 10, 1968
Buried at: Plot X O249
                  Beverly National Cemetery
                  Bridgeboro Road
                  Beverly, New Jersey 08010
Awards: Purple Heart

RANDOLPH RECARDO WILKINS born on October 8, 1948, to Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Wilkins. His home of record is Camden, NJ. He had five brothers and five sisters. He served in the US Army and attained the rank of Private First Class.

Trained as a radioman, Private First Class Wilkins began his tour of duty in Vietnam on March 10, 1968. He was killed in action during fighting near the Y-Bridge and Kinh Doi Canal, outside of Saigon on May 10, 1968, along with four of his comrades, Captain Edmund B. Scarborough, Private First Class Richard Flores, and Specialist Fourth Class William Behan. Private Wilkins and Captain Scarborough were caught in and ambush, Private Wilkins being killed when either hit by a rocket propelled grenade or having one of his own hand grenades detonated by small arms fire. Private First Class Flores and Specialist Fourth Class Behan were killed during the ensuing fighting.

At about 10 a.m. May 9, elements of the 5th/60th ran into heavy contact along the canal, while the 3d/39th engaged the enemy near the bridge.

As fighting intensified, the 2d Mechanized Battalion, 47th Infantry rushed from Camp Bearcat, 20 miles away, to assist in parrying the enemy thrust.

When heavy small arms and rocket fire greeted the 2d/47th tracks east of the bridge, the Panthers answered with .50 cal machineguns, which together with gun ships and air strikes, soon forced another enemy withdrawal.

The Division's newest maneuver battalion, the 6th/31st Infantry, encountered its first significant contact since arriving in Vietnam in early April.  Most of the action flared between Highways 15 and 230.  At one point during the afternoon, the 6th/31st forces were pinned down, but they soon overcame the snipers and moved to secure the bridge north and south of the contact.

Toward evening, the enemy had lost an additional 169 men.

Earlier in the day, gun ships of the 3d/5th Cav spotted 20 medium-sized sampans hidden in a cove along a stream about 1,000 yards from the contact.  They were covered with blue plastic material and contained packs, webbing and food.  The gunships quickly destroyed them.

Shortly after, about 3,000 yards from the battle site, gun ships observed two enemy 107mm rocket positions, mounted and ready to fire.  The gun ships disposed of the sites and the two rocket warheads near them.

On May 10, Division units continuing to sweep and secure the southern fringes of Saigon, combined to kill 106 enemy in separate engagements throughout the day.

At least 13 kills were credited to gun ships from Troop B, 1st. Cav and D Troop, 3d/5th Cav.

The next day was relatively tranquil until about 7:20 p.m. when the 3d/39th exchanged heavy fire with the enemy about 500 yards south of the Y-Bridge.  Air strikes and gun ships helped the infantrymen kill 80 VC in the two-hour struggle.

At the same time, eight miles south of Saigon, the 6th/31st felled 24 enemy in an hour-long battle punctuated by air strikes and gun ships.

Private First Class Wilkins was survived by his wife, Barbara Ann, a daughter, Shannon, and a son, Anthony. He was brought home and buried at Beverly National Cemetery in Beverly, New Jersey. His widow joined him there in June of 1999.

is honored on Panel 58E Line 017 of
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.