Tom R. Mueller was born November 16, 1947, son of Elmer and Viola Mueller who farmed on County X in the Town of Cicero. He graduated from Seymour High School in 1965. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in November of 1967 attended boot camp and then returned home for a couple of weeks before boarding a plane at Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay, Wisconsin. On April 23, 1968 Tom was off to war in Vietnam.
Writing a first letter home he wrote, “I see no signs of war, we go on patrol and have seen nothing”. That changed quickly and in another letter he wrote about being in an ambush , “Everybody was shooting and running. I froze, then started firing my machine gun, and when it was over a man was shaking my hand …saying you are going to get a medal for this! In reality, I was too scared to run”.
On February 1, 1969 Tom was a squad leader on a recon operation six miles west of Ben Cat. At 4:40 in the afternoon, his company was attacked by a large well-trained enemy. They used rocket-propelled grenades, small arms and automatic weapons against a much smaller U. S. Army unit. When one of his friends was lying injured in enemy territory he did not hesitate to volunteer to try and evacuate him. While providing cover by rushing the enemy position and attacking with his machine gun, other members of the squad were able to rescue the wounded man. During his heroic effort, Sgt. Tom Mueller died. An enemy bullet took his life on the jungle floor in Vietnam.
Tom received two bronze stars, the first Bronze Star medal with “V” device for action on December 28, 1968 for heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force. The second Bronze Star with second Oak Leaf Cluster awarded posthumously was for the action against a hostile enemy on February 1, 1969. During the ensuing exchange of fire Tom R. Mueller was mortally wounded. He was nearing the end of his tour and expected to be home in April.
The Mueller’s were notified by the Defense Department on February 3, 1969. Surviving the young soldier were his parents Elmer and Viola Mueller; one sister Bonnie Lecker, four brothers, Allen, Danny, Jay, and his twin brother Jerry. Grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Anton Muthwig of Clintonvelle and Mrs, Emil Mueller Sr., of Seymour.