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David B. Christianson

David Christianson

Born May 3, 1949
Died March 10, 1969
Service Branch Army
Rank Specialist 4th Class
Rating or Job  
Campaign Viet Nam
Military Citations Purple Heart


Serial Number 56835716

Ground casualty - Multiple fragmentation wounds

Gia Dinh Province

National Archives


Spec. 4 David B. Christianson

May 3, 1949 - Mar. 10. 1969


David Christianson, true to his religion, was willing to serve his country but not kill people. So the young Seventh-Day Adventist man volunteered for the draft in January 1968 and the Army let him go to medics’ school.

Throughout his training, Christianson confronted officers who opposed his unwillingness to carry a rifle, but he stood his ground.

Christianson was sent to Vietnam in late October 1968 and was assigned to the 199th Light Infantry Brigade.

On Jan. 25, 1969 Christianson was wounded. He never told his parents.

He was sent back to combat, and on March 10, 1969 while on a jungle patrol, he was hit by a hand grenade and killed.

David Christianson was born in Topanish. Washington and moved to Oroville with his family when he was 10. He spent two years at Oroville High School and graduated in 1967 from the Lodi Academy, a Seventh-Day Adventist school.

Said his mother, “He went into the Army to save lives, not take lives.” Some of Christianson’s thoughts about combat, written just before his death, can be read on the back page of this special section.

 Chico New & Review, May 26, 1988



National Archives Chico News & Review


Excerpt from a letter by David Christianson, a medic from

Oroville, written February 28, 1969, just 10 days before he was killed...

The enemy is all around. We have killed 130 in 3 days of fighting, so now maybe you can see why I haven’t written. We went out yesterday and put all the bodies in body bags and put them on a truck, not a very pleasant task.

Death is all around this hill. Death sure smells terrible, especially after they have laid in the sun a couple of days.

At night you can see them coming and watch them fall when a mortar hits them. It’s really terrible. I want to come home alive so bad but if they keep this up a guy’s chances sure get slim, but don’t worry...


From Christianson’s last letter,

March 5, 1969...

I guess I shouldn’t write and tell you what really goes on over here, as you will worry too much. I have seen so much death and terrible looking wounds that sometimes I feel better after I write a letter.

I’m  very lonely, I miss home so very much...


David Christianson