Gary Wayne Price was killed in action 50 years ago

GaryWaynePrice400MACOUPIN COUNTY – A Dorchester soldier who was killed in action in 1967 only a month after beginning his tour of duty in Vietnam will be remembered with a memorial highway designation in his honor in Gillespie.

U.S. Army Private First Class Gary Wayne Price, a 1966 graduate of Gillespie High School, was just 19 when he was killed by small arms fire on May 6, 1967 while serving near Plieku in Vietnam as an infantryman with Company B, 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. He had started his tour of duty on April 6, 1967.

Born July 28, 1947, he was the youngest son of Vern and Vera Price and was the first serviceman from Macoupin County to be killed in the Vietnam War.

The Illinois Senate unanimously approved Senate Joint Resolution 32, sponsored by senators Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and Sam McCann (R-Plainview), on May 31. It designates a section of Illinois 16 from Stagecoach Road to Gillespie as the Pfc. Gary Wayne Price Memorial Highway. It further requests that the Illinois Department of Transportation erect signage identifying the memorial designation.

“I did not know Gary Price, but I do know his family, and they are wonderful, remarkable people,” Manar said. “I am humbled and honored that we are able to help them keep his memory alive.”

McCann said Price and his family made the ultimate sacrifice for the country and should be remembered for doing so.

“Private First Class Gary Wayne Price sacrificed his life in the defense of freedom and democracy,” he said. “I hope this memorial will keep his memory alive for future generations and that it will inspire us all to give of ourselves for our fellow man.”

Price’s sister, Judy Schwallenstecker, her husband, Ollie Schwallenstecker, and their daughter, Pam Monetti, all of Bunker Hill, were present in the Senate chamber when the resolution was passed.

Gary Wayne Price posthumously was awarded numerous medals and commendations, including the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Vietnam Service Medal with one Service Star, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

He was buried in Bunker Hill Cemetery. More than 1,200 people paid their respects at the services, according to newspaper accounts. A small memorial erected three months later in Dorchester in southern Macoupin County is believed to be the first memorial erected in Illinois for a soldier killed in Vietnam.

Category: People of the 48th