Birth: Feb. 12, 1949 Farmville, Prince Edward Co., VA
Death: Aug. 8, 1968 Hua Nghia, Vietnam.
SGT William Samuel Irby, Vietnam Veteran native of Charlotte, NC was 19 years old and was not married. His body was recovered. The Charlotte Observer
August 18, 1968 Page 2C
Sgt. William Samuel Irby, age 19 died August 8, 1968 in Vietnam. Funeral services will be at 2 o’clock at Hickory Grove Methodist Church with full military rites at Charlotte Memorial Gardens. He was born Feb. 12, 1949 in Farmville, VA, son of SFC and Mrs. Arthur S Irby. He attended Garinger High School. He entered service in March 1966, trained at Fort Bragg and graduated with honors from the Ft Campbell, KY Airborne Jump School. At the time of his death he was serving with the 101st Airborne Division Second 506th Airborne Infantry, Company C.
Dear Sammy: Today I saw your name on the Viet Nam Wall Memorial and when I looked for remembrances, there were none. So I will tell you this, and hope somewhere you can hear, I remember how we kissed. LJS
Younger Sister Shelia: I was 12 years old, the month was August, some time after the 8th and the US was at war. I remember standing in the living room of our home, looking out the glass storm door and watching the leaves of the large oak trees in the yard blow hard in the wind. And also seeing a dark green car pass by and wondering who would drive such an ugly car; watching this car turn around mid-way down the street and slowly pull into our driveway, watching a tall handsome young man in a military uniform step from this car and walk to our door. At the door this solemn man asked for my mom by her full name, asking him to please leave so he wouldn’t upset my mother.
I was naive but I knew the appearance of this man at our door had changed our lives forever. The next weeks are less clear but we waited, we called relatives, we made funeral arrangements. We cried. My sisters and I only now talk of these days and we each have very different memories of them. One remembers our Mother saying ‘we have lost one of our “S’s” all our names all begin with S. The other remembers the long wait for the military to return our loved one. I mostly remember the days we grieved and the day we buried my oldest brother, the sound of the twenty-one gun salute. A friend use to tell me “those things in life that do not kill you, make you stronger”. My family did not die that day and I wonder if this turn of events made us stronger. I do know it made us “different”.
He was the son of SFC and Mrs. Arthur S. Irby of Charlotte, NC. He served with Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, “Currahees”, 101st Airborne Division, “Screaming Eagles”. He was awarded The Combat Infantryman’s Badge, The Purple Heart Medal for his combat related wounds, The Vietnam Service Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Service Medal, The National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
Burial: Charlotte Memorial Gardens Charlotte, Mecklenburg Co., NC.
(Source: Posted with permission of Tom & Jim Reece, #46857744;
finding NC Vietnam KIA/MIA’s gravesites; Reconfigured and submitted by: Ron Yates)