Biography

JAMES W. MILDENSTEIN (Jim), born in Ida Grove, IA on December 18, 1938. He joined the USN in February of 1956 and served on CVA-14; DD-937; NAVRECSTA Brooklyn, NY; MCAD Iwa Kuni, Japn; DDG-12. He attended the Naval Inshore Operations Training Center, Mare Island, CA; Vietnamese Language School, Coronado, CA; SERE training, Warner Springs, CA.

He arrived I Vietnam in October of 1968 as torpedoman’s mate first class and was assigned to RIV DIV 593 as boat captain. His patrol was ambushed on a tributary of the Song Thi Vai River, and patrol officer, QMC Theodore Smith of St. Louis, MO, was mortally wounded.

In January of 1969 he was assigned to RIV DIV 554 as boat captain. His patrol was ambushed at the High Banks on the Kinh Dong Tien Canal and AFT .50 gunner, Paul A. Holtz of Falls City, NE was mortally wounded, and Mildenstein had his left hand amputated as a result of a B-40 rocket hit during ambush.

He awards include the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V, Purple Heart Medal, Meritorious Unit Ribbon, National Defense, Good Conduct, Vietnam Service and Vietnam Campaign.

He works in electronics at the Naval Undersea Warfare engineering Station, Keyport, WA with the metal hook replacing his left hand (he’s also quite popular at BBQs).Resides with his wife, Frances, in Bremerton, WA.

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