Lance Cpl. Charles Heinemeier was killed in combat in Vietnam 49 years ago

SPRINGFIELD – A Bunker Hill soldier who was killed in action in 1969 in Vietnam will be remembered with a memorial highway designation in his honor.

Lance Cpl. Charles T. Heinemeier, a 1967 graduate of Bunker Hill High School, was 20 when he died from wounds he suffered while fighting to take South Vietnam’s Hill 12, where an American helicopter had been downed by enemy fire, according to news reports at the time. The Marines were attempting to reach the crash site to aid possible survivors.

On Thursday, the Illinois Senate approved Senate Joint Resolution 75, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), without opposition. It designates Illinois 159 from Detour Road to Illinois 16 in Bunker Hill as the Lance Cpl. Charles Heinemeier Memorial Highway. It further requests that the Illinois Department of Transportation erect signage identifying the memorial designation.

“I readily agreed when a group of constituents from Bunker Hill approached me about wanting to honor Lance Cpt. Heinemeier and his selfless service to our country,” Manar said. “With this highway designation, his sacrifice and the special place he still holds in the hearts of the people of Bunker Hill nearly 50 years after his death will be memorialized.”

Heinemeier, the son of John and Lela Heinemeier, enlisted in the U.S. Marines in 1968. Six months later he was sent to Vietnam. He was serving with the 1st Marine Division in Quang Nam at the time of his death.

Born March 2, 1949, Heinemeier was one of 10 children in his family. He played baseball and basketball in high school, and he worked construction at McCann Concrete and Olin Mathieson before following the lead of his older brothers and enlisting in the military.

Heinemeier posthumously was awarded three Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart. He was buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Bunker Hill.

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