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William "Steven" Illman

Born April 5, 1947
Died January 2, 1968
Service Branch Army
Rank Private First Class
Rating or Job  
Unit Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment
Campaign Viet Nam
Military Citations Purple Heart, Bronze Star
Notes Attended Las Plumas High SchoolNative American from Feather Falls, CA
Sources John HerinaChico News & Review

35th Infantry Regiment Association http://www.cacti35th.org


Pfc. William Steven Illman

April 5, 1947 - Jan. 2, 1968


The eighteenth local boy to die in Vietnam had roots that stretched back to pre-Columbian times. Steve Illman, a quiet, bashful kid who played football for Las Plumas High School, was a Maidu Indian.

Born in Chico, Illman was raised in Oroville—”he was quite a little drum player:’ said his sister -and graduated from Las Plumas High in 1965.

Illman attended Yuba College after high school, but was drafted in February 1967.

On July 7, 1967, just five months after his induction, lllman was shipped to Vietnam.

For six months he survived the war. Then on Jam 2, 1968, his platoon of the 35th Infantry entered a village in Quang Ngai Province.

According to IIlman’s posthumous Bronze Star citation, North Vietnamese regulars in reinforced bunkers opened up on the men. The Americans withdrew and called in air strikes.

Alter the strikes, the platoon again attacked the bunkers. Illman led the point in a flanking movement and detected enemy movement. As he signaled his men to take cover he was hit with small arms fire and grenades.

Las Plumas High School later  enacted a Steve Illmari Memorial Award, to be given each year to a “quiet, serious, studious” football player.

Courtesy Chico News & Review, May 26, 1988

The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC William S. Illman, who died in the service of his country on January 2nd, 1968 in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. The cause of death was listed as Small Arms/AW. At the time of his death William was 20 years of age. He was from Oroville, California. William is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 33E, Line 19.

The decorations earned by PFC William S. Illman include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.
Coutesy John Herina & 35th Infantry Regiment Association