LCpl Darwin Lee Judge USMC
One of the last KIA in the Vietnam War

LCpl Darwin Judge USMC

From Darwin's Mom - Ida Judge

Darwin's family.
From left to right:  Mr. Henry Judge, Mrs. Ida Judge, Lori Judge

Written by Darwin's Mom - Ms. Ida Judge

Darwin was always busy.   He was active in both cub scouts and boy scouts, and achieved the rank of eagle scout.  He played on a little league baseball team as second baseman, and also pitched. For three years, his team played in the All-Star games at the end of the regular season.  His first work experience was at age eight, when he subbed his older brother’s newspaper route during his brother’s cross-country practice. When he was old enough he carried his own newspaper route until he was almost 16, when he went to work in a local grocery store.  During winter he would help shovel snow. When shoveling for older people, if he didn’t think they had much money, he did not charge them, but told them that was his “boy scout deed” for the day.  Summertime brought boy scout camp, which he thoroughly enjoyed. He went on many boy scout campouts, where he would help the younger scouts with their merit badges. He also enjoyed riding his motorcycle in the countryside. During haymaking season, he would often stop to help farmers load hay bales onto a hayrack.  He attended Sunday School and church, and was active in youth fellowship. In high school he excelled in his woodworking class. He completed a number of items, including a deacon bench, treasure chest, toy box for his nephew, and a picture frame measuring 48” x 43”, made to hold 18 8 x 10 individual pictures (with each individual picture framed within the frame), as well as several small items. His last completed project is a grandfather clock, which I have always treasured. He joined the Marines during his senior year of high school. After graduation in May he left for basic training in July.  Darwin was a good kid, loved life, and enjoyed helping people.

More about LCpl Darwin Judge

LCpl Darwin Judge along with Cpl Charles McMahon was the last Killed In Action serviceman in the Vietnam War.   LCpl Judge was born and raised in Marshalltown Iowa.   He was an Eagle Scout and a fine young man of the community.   He completed Marine Corps Boot Camp and Marine Security Guard School before shipping to Saigon, R. Vietnam as a Marine Security Guard to the American Embassy.   He and Cpl Charles McMahon were killed together within the first two weeks of joining the detachment.   LCpl Judge and Cpl McMahon was killed by a rocket attack from Five NVA Divisions defending the Defense Attaché  Building on Tan Son Nhut airbase.  On April 29-30 2000 we honored LCpl Judge with a Memorial Services from 24th Marines and his fellow Saigon Marines.

Today 29 April 2001 LCpl Judge was honored at his Park in Marshalltown, Iowa with a Flag Pole, the American and Marine Corps Flag and free lighting from the citizens of Marshalltown.  Earlier in April 2000 we planted two new trees in the Judge park to honor LCpl Judge and Cpl McMahon.

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa, April 28 — Young Americans were paying the ultimate price in Vietnam right up until the final days — and what added to the tragedy is that some were virtually lost in the chaos and the eagerness of America to put Vietnam behind it. But one young hero is finally getting the recognition he deserves  DARWIN JUDGE was already a hero. There’s a park named after him and a place of honor at his high school.  “He was rock stable,” said one of his former schoolteachers. “He was the kind of guy America was built around.”  An Eagle Scout, he was one of the last Marines to die in combat in Vietnam, killed in action when he was just 19 as enemy shells slammed into Than Son Nhut Airbase 25 years ago tomorrow,    “If he’d stayed at the embassy like he was supposed to, be on the lookout, he would have been alright,” said his mother Ira. In the chaos of those final days, his body wasn’t found and returned home until a year later.  In the bureaucratic confusion, he never got the purple heart nor burial with honors he deserved. “I love my country but I’m not so sure we have done what we should do to say thank you” said Ken Locke, Judge’s boyhood pal.  

Ken Locke's Memorial web page to LCpl Darwin Judge

Ken Locke, friend of LCpl Judge and our only "Honorary Saigon Marine"

Below is Ken Locke's memorial web page to Darwin Judge

 For nearly 25 years Locke has wanted to pay proper tribute to Darwin Judge.   “He was my hero; I wanted to be like him,” Locke said.  A COMMON HERO   He was a hero for others, too. As Saigon fell and thousands tried to flee, Marine Doug Potratz tried frantically to evacuate his three-year-old daughter Becky, but could not until Judge intervened.   “He picked her up, put her on his back, piggyback style, and quick as a bunny ran, ran out to the plane and put her on the plane,” Potratz said.  Almost 25 years later, on a website dedicated to the fall of Saigon, Potratz , now in California, wrote about what Judge had done.   Two thousand miles away in Indiana, Ken Locke read the account and contacted Potratz.  Realizing they had a hero in common, the men, after countless phone calls and letters, persuaded the Marines to give Judge a service, Saturday, with full military honors.   It will bring some measure of comfort to Judge’s parents.  

Mr. Henry and Ida Judge parents of LCpl Judge

 When you see so many young people take drugs and do terrible things, it makes you a little proud to have somebody like Darwin,” his father Henry said.  Others are still thanking Darwin Judge 25 years later.  Remember that small child he rescued? She went on to graduate, with honors, from the University of Southern California.  “If it wasn’t for him, I’d probably still be their  instead of here doing what I’m doing now and being who I am,” Becky said.   And for anyone who might argue that it’s too late now to offer thanks, Darwin Judge’s mother has an answer: “It’s not too late to thank them and show your appreciation that they was over there to do what they was supposed to do.”   Twenty-five years later, Darwin Judge will get what he deserved and those he touched will get what they need.

Marshalltown, Iowa
 Full Military Honors for LCpl Darwin Judge
Funeral Detail conducted by 24th Marines

LtCol Jim Kean USMC Retired, the Commanding Officer of the Marines during the Fall of Saigon presents a flag to Mr. and Mrs. Judge.  With them are family members.  Ken Locke in the back is a Eagle Scout now Scout Master and best friend of Darwin.
Darwin held the rank of Eagle Scout as well.

Vietnam Wall with Fall of Saigon cover near Cpl McMahon and LCpl Judge's names

2005 LCpl Darwin Judge Scholarship

Pictured from Left to Right: are Lori DeSaulniers, Ross DuBois, Mrs. Ida Judge, Grant Squiers
and Lance Corporal Ken Crouse.

The attached photo was taken at the Marshalltown High School Awards Night on May 15, 2005 in Marshalltown, Iowa. During the evening's event the Fall of Saigon Marines Association presented the Lance Corporal Darwin Lee Judge Memorial Scholarship to two of the graduating seniors.  Pictured from Left to Right are Lori DeSaulniers, Ross DuBois, Mrs. Ida Judge, Grant Squiers and Ken Crouse.
Lori and Mrs. Judge are the sister and mother of Darwin Judge, one of the last two Marines to be killed in action in Saigon, Republic of Vietnam. He was killed in the early morning hours of April 29, 1975 just prior to the launch of Operation Frequent Wind, the final evacuation of Saigon. Messrs DuBois and Squiers are both Eagle Scouts and are this year's recipients. Prior to joining the Marine Corps, LCpl Judge was an Eagle Scout in Marshalltown and recipients of the scholarships are always Eagle Scouts from the local community.  Ken Crouse is the Secretary of the Fall of Saigon Marines Association, a California non-profit, public benefit corporation. The association was formed to serve as a living reminder to the sacrifice made by the last two Marines to be killed in action in Vietnam and their families. These Marines, LCpl Darwin Judge and Cpl Charles McMahon, were members of the Marine Security Guard Detachment in Saigon at the time of the evacuation and the association presents annual scholarships in their communities to honor their sacrifice. More information about the association may be found at

Thanks - please direct any questions to Ken Crouse @ (916) 220-0085.

Boy Scouts Troop #310 of Marshalltown, Iowa honored their fallen warrior
and the last serviceman killed-in-action of the Vietnam War.

The Boy Scouts of America at the Vietnam Memorial at the Iowa Veteran Center.

Many of these young men leave the Boy Scouts as an Eagle Scouts including LCpl Darwin Judge. The Scout Master of Marshalltown, Iowa has sent out many good citizens.
We salute you.


Colonel Hurley, The Marine Security Battalion CO was the guest speaker during LCpl Judge's Memorial/Purple Heart Ceremony.   The Colonel said that their was a LCpl Judge and Cpl McMahan classrooms at the MSG Battalion School.   There passports and the paper from Marshalltown are in the schools'  display case.

Ceremony held for LCpl Darwin Judge and Cpl Charlie McMahon in Marshalltown, Iowa.  Sixteen Fall of Saigon Marines attended our 25th reunion/memorial services. 

  Ken Locke was a friend of LCpl Darwin Judge and fellow Eagle Scout.  Ken shares his  comments about his hometown best friend.  Ken is our only "Honorary Fall of Saigon Marine".

Troop 310 - Marshalltown, Iowa
Mid-Iowa Council, Boy Scouts Of America

On April 29, 1975 Americans were evacuating Saigon.  The Vietnam War was coming to a close.  My boyhood friend, Lance Corporal Darwin L. Judge, and Corporal Charles McMahon, Jr. of Woburn, Massachusetts were killed during a mortar attack on Ton Sun Nhut Airbase, the last two of over
58,000 Americans who died serving their country in Southeast Asia.

After a quarter of a century when Vietnam is mentioned we are still left with the question, "Why?".  I am transported back to Marshalltown, Iowa every time I hear the mention of Vietnam and remember standing in the grocery store where I worked, tears streaming down my face, when the news came over the radio that my fellow Eagle Scout had fallen.  I asked the question, "Why?".  At the memorial service in the packed Marshalltown High School gymnasium a few days later we all asked a collective, "Why?".  When I visit Darwin's grave or have gone to the wall in Washington, DC, I still ask "Why?". 

I have come to the conclusion that part of the answer to this question needs to be left to the historians for they will still be asking and trying to answer it long after we join our friends and loved ones in the next life. 

We must never forget, however, the sacrifice and service of the thousands of men and women who served when our nation sent them to Vietnam.  Their call to duty partially answers our question because many were willing to enlist voluntarily when public opinion and demonstrations at home were against them.  Never have American forces been placed in such an awkward position.  Vietnam Veterans are the greatest of soldiers because they put their lives on the line when many in our nation condemned their service.  Their answer to our "why" comes in the ideals of duty, honor and country.  They were willing to look beyond themselves and even met God at an early age because freedom is priceless and needs to be protected around the world.

The last two men killed in Vietnam were U.S. Marines whose motto is:  Semper Fidelis - Always Faithful.  Every Vietnam Veteran is to be thanked for being "faithful" and willing to serve with honor.  Their sacrifice is a reminder to each of us that freedom comes with a price and challenges us who are living to be faithful in maintaining and preserving our great nation by holding to those same ideals.  If we do not keep our nation they will be the first to ask us, "Why?". 

I miss you Darwin.  You exemplify the ideals of Scouting - Duty To God & Country.  We were challenged when we became Eagles to serve others.  You gave your life in the cause of freedom, the ultimate act of service.  By the grace of God through Jesus Christ I know I will see you one day
around the campfire and tell stories and trade patches as we did as Scouts.  Thank you, for serving with honor.

"A Tribute To Darwin L. Judge"

Dear Friend.....
You left the world so soon!
The flicker of the fire we shared at Scout Camp.
Still splashes your memory on the canvas of my mind.

To serve our country with honor,
Even as others mocked.
When you traded your Scout uniform, with Eagle Badge,
For that of the Marine Corps.

When I saw you last, standing proudly in blue,
I did not know it would be the last farewell.
You returned from Saigon,
But in a coffin draped in red, white and blue,
Blurred in my vision by the tears.

I visit your grave when I come home.
People still question the war.
The drumbeat of time still bangs on.
A wall has brought some healing in Washington.

If only we could go back to those camp fires,
Sharing  stories and trading patches.
I do see you sometimes in the young faces today....
Scouts "Trailing The Eagle" as we once did.

I pray we live the ideals of Scouting as you did.
That our country esteems duty, honor and service.
Shown by you and thousands who served in Vietnam.
I miss you my friend.

Dedicated To:

L/CPL Darwin L. Judge, Eagle Scout
Corporal Charles L. McMahon
Marine Security Guards, USMC

The last two men killed in Vietnam who represent over 58,000 Americans
who gave their lives for freedom in Vietnam.

The "Fall Of Saigon" Marines.

Those who served in Southeast Asia from 1955-1975.

The over 2,000 who are still MIA from the Vietnam War.

Ken Locke
Eagle Scout

Ken Locke's memorial web page to Darwin Judge

For more information go to the Fall Of Saigon Web-Site.

"In the future, when your children ask you, "What do these stones mean?"
tell them.
                      Joshua 4:6-7

Ida Judge, 86, mother of Lance Cpl. Darwin L. Judge, died Sunday, September 18

September 18, 2011

Ida Judge, 86, of Marshalltown, died Sunday, September 18, at tlle Villa del Sol where she has resided since last month.

Funeral services was held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, September 23, at the Hope United Methodist Church with Rev. Darrell Mitchell officiating. Memorials may be directed to the Lance Cpl. Darwin L. Judge Memorial Scholarship, Hope United Methodist ChlH'cb or the Marshalltown Senior Citizens. For condolences, please visit The Mitchell Family Funeral Home is caring for Ida and her family. Ph. 641-844-1234.

Born Ida Maud Parsons on July 2, 1925, in Wellington, Colorado, she was one of five children born to Elzy "Jack" and Ruth (Carr) Parsons. She received her education in Colorado.

On September 29, 1946, she was united in marriage to Henry Judge in Derby, Colorado. They made their home around the Garwin community and moved into town where he was acting postmaster. In 1962, they moved to Marshalltown where she was employed for 16 years at the IVH as Hospital Representative for the American Legion Auxiliary. Ida was a generous and giving person - devoting many hours to volunteer at IVH, assist with Cub Scouts and 4-H, VBS at Ganvin United Methodist and Hope United Methodist and Senior Citizens. She was a patriotic person and was known for her pies and fried chicken She and Henry were wonderful dancers and were members of the Central Iowa Square Dancers. She was also a member of the Hope United Methodist Church, American Legion Auxiliary, Les Femmes and Navy Mothers Club. Left to cherish her memory are her daughter Lorraine "Lori" (Greg) DeSaulniers of Marshalltown, daughter-in-law Sheila Judge, five grandchildren: Chris (Julee) DeSaulniers of Clinton, Iowa, and their children Noah, Carson and Rylee; DeLinn (Jeff) Payne of Overland Park, Kansas and their children Jackson Henry and Hudson; Cathy Judge, Jason Judge, and Jamie (Tracy) Judge and children Cody, Brittney and Cotbyall in North Carolina, her sisters Virgie Chinn of Aurora, Colorado, Agnes Chinn of Commerce City, Colorado and brother Gilbert (NOffiila) Parsons of Westcliffe, Colorado, as well as many nieces and nephews and friends. Preceding her in death were her parents, her husband, brother Charley and two sons: Loren and Darwin. continue reading >>

If you would like to submit your personal story's of LCpl Darwin Judge please contact the Secretary Fall of Saigon Marines Association and we will post it.

  Ken Lock's 30th Anniversary message to paper

  Medals/Flags and MSG Plaque given to the Judge/McMahon Families

  Sgt Tanner's Story about LCpl Judge at MSG School

  Add your comments on the web page for the Vietnam Wall 

   Darwin Judge's home town friend Ken Locke.  Ken our only "Honorary Saigon Marine" dedicated a web page.

   LCpl Judge's Virtual Wall Page

   Cpl McMahon's Page

~ Guarding the Streets of Heaven ~