Michael P. Halpin Killed In Firefight In Vietnam

Michael Halpin - KIA Vietnam, Nutley High School yearbook photoPrivate First Class Michael Patrick Halpin, of Brookdale Street, Nutley, N.J., died Jan. 19, 1967, in Tah Ninh, Vietnam "from injuries received while on combat operations when engaged with hostile forces in a firefight," the Army said.

Halpin, who would have been 22 on Feb. 28, is the fourth Nutley man to die in the war.

Born in Newark, Halpin received his early education at St. Thomas the Apostle grammar school, Bloomfield. He played Little League baseball for three years. He attended Nutley High School, and was active in the Catholic Youth Organization.

At Nutley High, Halpin's friends called him "Murf." He liked mathematics and pop records, was out for the football squad in senior year and a member of extracurricular clubs.

After graduation, he worked two years at a trucking company before enlisting in the Army in March 1967. His tour of duty would have been completed in March 1970. However, his family said that at times he contemplated making a career of the Army.

He also planned to marry his high school 'steady,' Carol Lucas of Center Street, Nutley, after his enlistment expired.

Halpin is survived by two brothers, Francis, a teaching Brother in the Order of the Sacred Heart, and John, of Clifton; and by a sister, Mrs. Kathleen Wirth of Nutley.

Adapted from the Nutley Sun.


NJ Vietnam Memorial, photo Copyright © 2004 by Anthony Buccino

Michael P. Halpin was born on February 28, 1946 in Newark, N.J. He lived there until age 5 when his family moved to Nutley. 

Halpin was graduated from Nutley High School in 1965 where his interests included all sports, especially baseball and football. He played little league baseball and was a member of the high school football team.

Halpin entered the U.S. Army in March 1967. He served in the 5th Infantry, 25th Division where he attained the rank of Private First Class.

On January 19, 1968 at the age of 21, Halpin was killed in action in Tay Nihn Province South Vietnam.

Halpin was awarded the Silver Star for acts of gallantry in combat. His citation reads:

"Private Halpin was on a road clearing operation when the armored column began receiving intense enemy small arms, automatic weapons and RPG2 rocket fire. 

"Private Halpin was a member of a reactionary force of three armored personnel carriers and eight men that were deployed against the right flank of enemy positions. 

"After making a quick evaluation of the situation he and two other individuals dismounted their APC and maneuvered toward enemy positions. 

"As the three individuals maneuvered through the bullet riddled enemy kill zone they pinned down the Viet Cong force with their highly accurate fire. 

"As they continued to close on the enemy emplacements Private Halpin fired on and killed one of the insurgents. 

"As the first fight continued the men moved right into the enemy position, routing or killing all the Viet Cong. While in pursuit of the remaining insurgents Private Halpin was mortally wounded by intense automatic fire. 

"Due to Private Halpin’s valorous actions the mission was successfully completed and the enemy force defeated. 

"Private Halpin’s personal bravery and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, the 25th Infantry Division and the United States Army."

Halpin was also awarded the Good Conduct Medal, the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Michael attended St. Thomas the Apostle Grammar School in Bloomfield, NJ and graduated from Nutley High School. 

He had a very nice personality and was very good-natured.  Because of his stock build and great strength, he was known as the “Bear” to all his friends. 

He was able to make friends very easily and was chosen to play Santa Claus at Christmas for his platoon in the Army. He always loved to do things that made people happy.

Michael ended his life trying to help his buddies who were being fired upon by the enemy. That was the way he was all his life.  He was always there to protect his friends and family, especially his brother, John.

Written by John Halpin, Brother

New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial


Photo copyright 2004 by Anthony Buccino All Rights Reserved

National Monument Panel 34E - Row 077


Bobcats - Michael Patrick Halpin

Nutley Sons Honor Roll


Vietnam War

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Colonel Robert Brinckmann

Alfred Critelli

1st Lt. David Dinan III

Corporal Matthew Dwyer

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Corporal Arthur Rego

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