May 31, 1967




Two Bergen County servicemen were killed in action in Vietnam last week, the 48 th and 49 th local casualties in the war since 1965. They are Marine Lance Corporal Harold J. Dillard of Hackensack and Army Pfc. Michael C. Roell of Hillsdale.

Dillard, 20, ward of Mr. and Mrs. Sylvester Fields of 129 Passiac Street , was a winner of Vietnam 's highest medal only 7 months ago. He was killed by artillery fire in a battle Thursday in Quang Tri Province , in or near the Demilitarized Zone.

The youth was a former star athlete at Hackensack High School .

Roell, also 20, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wilbert Roell of 198 Broadway, fell in fierce fighting Friday in the central Highlands near Pleiku, his base, in which one company of his 4 th Infantry Division reported half its 150 men killed or wounded.

The youth was an avid car enthusiast whose prize possession was an old Model A Ford he was putting in shape. Hillsdale's Memorial Day services yesterday were dedicated to young Roell's memory.

Dillard had just been recalled to Vietnam from Okinawa where his letters home had raised the hopes of his uncle and aunt that the youth might be returning to the United States soon.

However, the young Marine's grandmother had received a letter from him only a few days before his death, reporting that he was back in Vietnam .

Dillard was awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm for valorous action during Operation Hastings, a multibattalion Marine operation within 2 miles of the D.M.Z. last October.

The youth was a 3-letter man in football, basketball, and track at Hackensack High, and received honorable mention on the 1965 All-County track team on the strength of a 6-foot 4-inch, leap.

The dining room of the Field's home is decorated with the many trophies won by Dillard and his older brother, George including the 1965 Coach's Award given Dillard for outstanding sportsmanship during his High School athletic career.

Thomas Della Torre, the football and track coach who presented that trophy remembered Dillard as the kind of boy who always gave his all to whatever he did. “ He was a wonderful boy, with a smile all the time and a good attitude.” Said Della Torre, “ He tackled everything with the idea of do or die.”

Dillard had planned to start college last fall, his uncle said, but his plans were halted by the draft in February 1966. He planned to attend college after service.

Shocked by the news, Fields said: “You read about battles in the paper everyday, and you wonder if he's involved, then something like this happens and ask yourself ‘ Where was I when it happened? What was I doing?' He was a good boy, one of the best.


Pfc. Roell had been in Vietnam since March, having been home only once on furlough since he was drafted. His mother and father had not heard from him for about a month before his death, but in earlier letters he said : “It's hell, Mom –wet and muddy. Every night we can hear mortar shells.”

The youth had written to his girlfriend and to his sister Susan 19, who received a letter dated May 21, just 5 days before his death.

Roell was born in Pittsburgh , Pa. , but had lived most of his life in Hillsdale, attending St. John the Baptist School and Pascack Valley High School . He Worked for Leddy Coal Company before entering service.

The youth, who planned to finish his education and get married after service, had two main hobbies: guns and automobiles.

He is the first Hillsdale serviceman to die in Vietnam and is survived by his mother and father; two brothers, Edward and Ronald, 9, and his grandmothers.

NOTED: Harold Dillard lettered in wrestling in his senior year not basketball.
He received the Gallantry Cross in October1966, but the Hastings Operation was sometime in July 1966.

This article was in the paper on May 31, 1967, 6 days after Harold {Duke} Dillard, on May 25, 1967, was K.I.A. during Operation Hickory

Record Newspaper

This article had several mistakes on location of sentences. The content was not changed just corrected. If you read actual article the material at one point is out of order.

County Seat Article
Above is the corrected article and below are pictures of the actual article.

Harold Dillard