First Lieutenant Carmen DeCubellis, Jr. was a native of Cranston, Rhode Island. He was a member of the 1964 Inaugural Graduating class of Cranston High School West. DeCubellis was an outstanding scholar and a four-year letterman on the varsity baseball team. An only child, he was devoted to his family and worked tirelessly in the family bakery store. Carmen entered the University of Rhode Island in 1964 and immediately enrolled in the four-year Army ROTC program. He is remembered as a quiet, unassuming young man with a dry sense of humor. In 1968, Carmen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry.
Second Lieutenant DeCubellis completed the Infantry Officers’ Basic Course, Fort Benning, Georgia in February 1969. His initial assignment was at Fort Carson, Colorado as an Infantry Platoon Leader with the 5th Infantry Division. It was the practice of the US Army to assign all newly commissioned officers to an Infantry Division for at least three months prior to deploying to Vietnam. On August 15, 1969, Second Lieutenant DeCubellis deployed to the Republic of Vietnam and was assigned as an Infantry Platoon Leader, B Company, 3d Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry Division operating in Pleiku Province.
His assignment placed him in a hostile Viet Cong infested area of III Corps along the Ho Chi Min Trail. He immediately won the confidence of the soldiers under his command through his leadership, knowledge of infantry tactics, sound judgment and complete lack of fear. Subjected to enemy fire on numerous occasions, he personally directed and participated in every combat operation, thereby setting an example for his soldiers and non-commissioned officers. He was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge on October 21, 1969 for his participation in combat operations in the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) infested Central Highlands.
In late Fall 1969, Lieutenant DeCubellis’ platoon was conducting a combat reconnaissance mission west of Pleiku City when his platoon encountered a strong North Vietnamese infantry unit. He immediately directed his soldiers to return fire and organize into a defensive perimeter. Lieutenant DeCubellis moved from fighting position to fighting position, giving combat orders and encouraging his men. During this prolonged battle, Lieutenant DeCubellis was mortally wounded by automatic weapons fire and rocket propelled grenade fragments. He was declared “Killed in Action” on 29 October 1969.
Lieutenant DeCubellis’ conspicuous gallantry in action was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflected great credit upon himself, his family, the University of Rhode Island and the military service. For gallantry in action, Second Lieutenant Carmen DeCubellis, Jr. was posthumously promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant and awarded the Silver Star. He was also awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Ribbon.
First Lieutenant Carmen DeCubellis Jr., was buried with full military honors in the DeCubellis Family Plot at Saint Ann’s Cemetery, Cranston, Rhode Island; and his name is engraved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Panel 16W, Line 1) in Washington, DC.