Giving Thanks to Those Who Serve Our Country
By Samantha Brown/
Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Sitting around the holiday table,  many families will count their blessings this Thanksgiving.  Some  will be thankful  their loved ones  have returned  home safe  after  serving  on active duty  in  the armed forces,  while  others  will be thankful there are brave men and women  who have answered the call of duty to serve and protect our country, and have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The  acrifice of  1stLt. Dennis Joseph Reardon  is remembered  every day  by those  who pass by  the memorial  square dedicated  to him on  the corner  of Elm Street  and Stephen's Lane  near  the  police  department  entrance,  just three  houses  down from  the  home  he grew  up in,  84 Elm St.   As a  living tribute,  members  of one of  the Cohasset  garden  clubs planted  a very  rare cucumber tree,  (Magnolia acuminata),  which has continued to flourish since the 1960s.

Well known around town, Reardon, whose nickname was "The Duck" was often spotted riding his motorcycle up Jerusalem Road.  His quick smile and irresistible sense of humor help those who knew him continue to remember him today.

Reardon grew up in Cohasset and attended the old  Ripley Road School,  the Deer  Hill  School,   and  graduated   from  Cohasset  High  School   in  1963. Reardon  was very involved  in the community  he loved,  serving  as an alter boy at St. Anthony's Church, and playing football  on the high school  team. He  was a standout  athlete and  was selected  as co-captain  of  the  Cohasset football  team as  well as co-captain  of the  Mayshore League team.  He  was also  chosen  to be  a  member  of  the  Patriot Ledger Football All Scholastic team.

After  graduating from  Cohasset High School,  Reardon went  on to study at Boston College, where he majored in finance.  He was a member of  the Delta Sigma Pi fraternity and graduated in 1967 with a bachelor's degree in science. Shortly after,  Reardon volunteered  for service  in  the  United States Marine Corps,  and  was  commissioned  a  2ndLt.  on  Nov. 1, 1967.   At  that  time, Reardon's brother Norbert was also serving as a Marine officer. Reardon was the third oldest of six children, and had three sisters and two brothers.

Reardon  went on to  attend flight  school at  the  Naval Air Station in Pensa- cola, Fla.,  and earned  his wings as a  naval aviator on  April 25,  1969.  That September,  he received orders assigning him to HMM-364 - the Purple Foxes - a helicopter squadron located at Marble Mountain in Vietnam.

On Nov. 29, 1969,  Reardon received the orders which would be his last. On a mission to evacuate combat casualties from a location in the Que San Moun- tains,  20 miles south of  Da Nang,  Reardon's CH-46 helicopter  exploded  in flight, killing Reardon and his entire flight crew.

After  Reardon's  death,  his  parents,  Mary  and  Norbert,    a   letter   from Reardon's commanding officer,  Lt. Col. C. R. Dunbaugh, informing them of the tragedy.  He wrote, "Even though Dennis had been with this squadron for a  short  period of  time,  he quickly  made friends and  leaves us with  lasting memories.  He  was  extremely  conscientious  and  devoted  to his duties and immediately gained  the  respect  of  his fellow  Marines.  We will miss him  a great deal, and hope that you find some comfort knowing this." 

For his heroism,  Reardon was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star medal with the Combat "V", the Air Medal with Numeral 7,  the Purple Heart,  and the  Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor medal.  In addition, Cohasset residents  dedicated  the  Dennis  Joseph  Reardon  Memorial  Square  in  his memory  to ensure the boy who gave his life for  his hometown and his coun- try, receives eternal thanks.

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