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First Name: Marion

Last Name: Kempner

Birthplace: Galveston, TX, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Galveston, TX
Middle Name: Lee

Date of Birth: 16 April 1942

Date of Death: 11 November 1966

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Years Served: 1965 - 1966
Marion Lee Kempner

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Marion Lee Kempner
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps

Marion Lee Kempner was born on 16 April 1942 in Galveston, TX, the son of Harris L. and Ruth L. Kempner.

Sandy graduated from Duke University in 1964. He later joined the U.S. Marine Corps where he completed the 38th Officer Candidate Course with 3rd Platoon of Alpha Company and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the USMC Reserve on 17 December 1965. He was with 3rd Platoon of Echo Company in Class 3-66 at Basic School.

Upon his arrival in South Vietnam, Second Lieutenant Klempner was assigned as a platoon commander with Mike Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, III Marine Amphibious Force in Quang Tin Province.

During the period 8–14 November 1966, Mike Company was detached from the 3rd Battalion and attached to 2/7 for participation in Operation Golden Fleece. The Operation’s mission was to search and clear VC-dominated areas in the southern portion of Bin Son District, Quang Ngai Province in advance of rice harvesters entering the fields. The Battalion would then provide security for the harvesters as they collected the crop. This would deny the VC in the area of rice they were planning to consume.

On 11 November 1966, 2ndLt Kempner's platoon was patrolling in their assigned area of responsibility to provide security for the rice harvesters in Quang Ngai Province, approximately 16 kilometers south-southwest of Chu Lai. At 13:00 his platoon was wading a small stream that crossed the trail upon which they were advancing just south of the Tra Bong River near Ngoc Tri (2) village (BS 521893). The 10th Marine across the stream tripped a booby-trap, which was suspected to be a ChiCom grenade. Three Marines were wounded in the explosion and two required evacuation. Sandy was immediately behind the Marine that tripped the booby-trap and he sustained grievous fragmentation wounds to the left side of his abdomen in the explosion. By 13:25, Sandy had been heli-lifted to the 1st Medical Battalion at Chu Lai (BT 539070), where he died of cardiac arrest that same day.

Sandy was single.

Medals and Awards

Purple Heart
Combat Action Ribbon
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal


The name Marion L Kempner is located on Panel 12E Line 55 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

Disposal of Remains

Second Lieutenant Marion Lee Kempner's remains were cremated and his ashes were scattered off the coast of Galveston, TX.

[Thanks to Captain Dave Mellon, USMCR, a classmate of Sandy Kempner in the 38th Officer Candidate Course / Basic Class 3-66, for the valuable information he provided for this bio. Capt Mellon also served as a platoon commander in Vietnam and was wounded.]

Honoree ID: 257738   Created by: MHOH




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