Sgt. Kenneth W. Dusart
Photo: David Olsen
When young men go to war, the experience lives with them forever. When young men die at war, their loss lives with their families forever. And not just with their parents who mourn for them; the void they leave can be felt through the generations.
Family members of Kenneth Dusart still think of him all the time.
Kenneth William Dusart was born in Syracuse on September 22, 1947 to Robert and Hazel Dusart. He grew up on Elm Street in Camillus with his five siblings--Dorothy, James, Raymond, Robert, and Lawrence (who sadly passed when he was very young). “Kenny” was a member of Explorer Post 73 of Camillus during his youth and graduated from West Genesee High School in 1966. He was working for the J.J. Ferguson Construction Company prior to his enlistment in the Army. A family member recalls him as a very nice young man who took the kids in the family for rides in his 1963 Ford convertible, a vehicle that he treasured. As a young man, Kenny also loved going hunting and fishing with his older brothers and was planning to join his brother in the garden nursery business.
Kenny was drafted in 1967, roughly a year after his high school graduation and underwent basic training at Fort Dix, NJ. He also received advanced training at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina before being assigned to the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Kenny was an 11B40 Infantryman and served in I Troop, 3rd Squadron, arriving with his unit in Vietnam on December 12, 1967. Kenny was involved in many operations and earned his Combat Infantry Badge and Vietnam Service Medal. He may have known what was to come for him; in a message home to his mother he instructed her to sell his beloved car.
On October 19, 1968, after ten harrowing months of fighting as an infantryman, Sgt. Kenneth Dusart was wounded in action while fighting with his unit in Bình Dương when he was mistaken for a hostile force (the enemy) when returning to a friendly perimeter, according to The Black Horse Memorial (memorial website for 11th Cavalry Regiment). He was transported to the 93rd Evacuation Hospital in Long Bình where he passed away. Kenny was a Catholic with a belief in eternal life, and therefore it can be imagined that he was joyfully greeted on the other side by his younger brother Lawrence (who drowned in Otisco Lake years earlier) when he passed through those pearly gates. Kenny is listed by his regiment as a recipient of the following awards: Purple Heart Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Valorous Unit Award, and the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm device.
This brave Camillus hero is gone but never forgotten, as he is memorialized on the Vietnam Veteran Memorial in Washington, DC (the Vietnam Wall) in Panel 40 W Line 2. A flagpole outside of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Camillus is dedicated to his memory along with that of another local Vietnam soldier killed in action. Kenny is remembered in the hearts of many, including a dear high school friend who rides in the Patriot Guard, displaying Kenny’s information on the front of his motorcycle and by friends who have posted messages of memory on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund “Wall of Faces” website as recently as 2022. One beautiful message contributed by Lucy Micik says, “We remember all you who gave their all. It has been too long, and it's about time for us all to acknowledge the sacrifices of those like you who answered our nation's call. Please watch over America, it still needs your strength, courage and faithfulness. Rest in peace with the angels.”
The time to remember Kenny’s bravery, courage, and sacrifice is now. The time to remember our fallen heroes is now. We should think of them every day as Kenny’s family does all these years later. We should show gratitude for their willingness to answer the call to serve and their supreme sacrifice for our lives, our liberties, and our pursuits of happiness. It is often said of fallen soldiers that they gave their tomorrows for our today. Let us show respect for Kenny and his fallen brothers by using at least one “today”, Memorial Day, for the purpose of honoring and remembering.
Thank you, Kenny, for your service and your sacrifice.
Photo: Cathy Alton
Dusart, Kenneth Walter, SGT. https://www.fold3.com
Dusart, Kenneth Walter. The Blackhorse Memorial.
Dusart, Thomas. Personal recollections.
Sgt. Dusart Listed Killed in Vietnam. Syracuse Post Standard. 24 Oct. 1968. P. 13. Newspaper Archive. Access Newspaper Archive Institutional Version | Viewer (oclc.org).
Sgt. Kenneth Walter Dusart. Findagrave.com