Fighting Irish Alumni

This is a short collection of stories and interviews of Fighting Irish Alumni by Fighting Irish Alumni.

1LT PATRICK M. DIXON Class of 1967

Patrick Martin Dixon was born September 1, 1945 in Washington, D. C. at a time when the family resided nerby, temporarily. His initial grip on life was insecure but skillful surgery at Walter Reed Hospital saved him and he grew to be a man of tremendous strength.

He attended the Parochial and Public Schools in Dixon, Illinois, graduating from Dixon High School in 1963.  There he was a good student and also a member of football, basketball and track teams.  He entered the University of Notre Dame in that year. He was a good student, won his monogram in athletic competition and there, also, he entered the Army ROTC program.  During this period he developed interest in an army career and a talent for becoming a successful officer. He graduated in 1967, in which year he won the “Outstanding Army ROTC Cadet” award.

Soon after, he entered the Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia where he graduated from the Infantry Officers’ Basic Course and went on to earn the coveted Ranger Tab.  He served at Ft. Polk, Louisiana until October, 1968. Then he was sent to Vietnam and was assigned to 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Initially he led a rifle platoon in Company B.  Later he was assigned to command the reconnaissance platoon of the battalion.

Patrick M. Dixon was awarded posthumously the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star for gallantry in action, Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal for heroism and the Purple Heart. “For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: First Lieutenant Dixon distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 28 May 1969 while serving as a platoon leader during an air mobile operation in Long An Province.  As soon as the element disembarked from the insertion helicopter, it came under intense enemy crossfire. Without hesitation, Lieutenant Dixon directed his men to return fire, which forced the hostile forces to disperse.  In following the retreating foe, the platoon encountered machine gun fire from a concealed bunker. Lieutenant Dixon pushed one of his men out of the direct line of enemy fire and was wounded as a result of his action. 

He proceeded to crawl through the heavy barrage toward the hostile employment until he could silence the fortification with a fragmentation grenade. Though seriously wounded himself, he crawled to one of his wounded comrades to administer first aid and remove the man to safety.  As he started out to retrieve another injured man, he succumbed to his fatal wounds.  First Lieutenant Dixon’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit, and the United States Army.”

Through the courtesy and timely action of higher commands, Patrick’s neighbor and closest boyhood friend, 1LT Michael Wadsworth, 3rd Marine Division, was detailed to escort the remains home from Vietnam.  The funeral was conducted on June 9, 1969 at St. Anne’s Catholic Church at Dixon, Illinois, with internment at Oakwood Cemetery.  A splendidly trained detail from Headquarters, Fifth United States Army lent added dignity to the ceremony.

Captain Patrick L. Haley, Class of 1963

Patrick L. Haley was from LaSalle, Illinois and attended the University of Notre Dame from 1959-63 and was an ROTC graduate. After attending the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, KY, he attended flight school. CPT Haley reported to Vietnam in May 1966 as a member of the 1st Cavalry Division. His heroic actions during a single ship, low-level mission near the Cambodian border, earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross in August 1966. Two months later, while flying over pinned down friendly South Vietnamese forces for an hour providing covering fires, Captain Haley eventually landed his helicopter under direct enemy fire to retreive friendly force casualties for medical treatment. For these actions on October 2, 1966, Captain Haley was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Captain Haley was killed while piloting his UH-1C helicopter on a reconnaissance mission on April 18, 1967, while flying a mission in support of the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division.