Iowa History Daily: On April 29, 1975, Marshalltown’s Darwin Lee Judge died in Saigon, Vietnam. The 19-year-old Lance Corporal assigned to the Marine Security Guard Battalion at the US Embassy in Saigon, Judge died in a rocket attack on the Tan Son Nhut International Airport outside Saigon. The final casualty of the US war in Vietnam, Judge joined 868 other Iowans in the 58,200 American soldiers killed in the conflict.
Growing up in Marshalltown, Judge played little league baseball, participated in Boy Scouts, and attended the United Methodist Church. A standout carpenter, Judge made all sorts of intricate projects throughout his teenage years before joining the military. An Eagle Scout, he decided to join the Marine Corps after graduating from Marshalltown High School in 1974.
After boot camp in San Diego, California, Judge spent time in Arlington, Virginia, working on security training. Shipped to Vietnam during March 1975, Lance Corporal Judge spent the entirety of his assignment with Marine Security Battalion in Saigon.
As the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon during April of 1975, Judge worked with other Marines to evacuate the remaining Americans, as well as South Vietnamese refugees, from the country. Killed alongside fellow Marine Charles McMahon of Woburn, Massachusetts, the two soldiers represent the final American casualties in Vietnam. In the confusion of the evacuation, both inadvertently stayed in the southeast Asian country. The following year, Judge’s remains returned to Marshalltown’s Rose Hill Memorial Gardens. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar #IowaOTD