April 29, 2021
Whole Number 61
CURTIS T. GAY
BORN SEPTEMBER 29, 1947, IN McKEESPORT, PENNSYLVANIA
KILLED IN ACTION JANUARY 20, 1968, IN VIETNAM
On January 20, 1968, Curtis T. Gay, whose picture appears on the cover of this issue of the Quarterly died in the service of his country in Vietnam. He was killed in action in the Battle of Qui Nbon.
Curtis was born September 29, 1947, in MoKeesport, Pennsylvania, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph T. Gay of 112 O'Neil Blvd., McKeesport. He was a member of the First Christian Church, the Young Men's Christian Association, and the McKeesport Boys' Club. He was twenty years of age when he died.
Curtis T. Gay was a great-great-great-great-grandson of 25. Martin P. Sparks (1786-1837) whose life was sketched in the March 1958 issue of the Quarterly. His descent was through Martin's son, 25.2 Thomas H. Sparks (1814-1863), and through Thomas' son, James Martin Sparks (1839-1876). A daughter of James Martin Sparks, Medora Waddell Sparks (1859-1937) married George W. Brewer; they were the parents of a daughter named Carrie Josephine Brewer (1883-1936) who married Joseph T. Gay, Sr. They were the parents of Joseph T. Gay, Jr., who is Curtis' father.
Curtis T. Gay enlisted in the United States Army in September, 1966, a few months after his graduation from McKeesport Senior High School. He receiwed his basic training at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, and was then sent to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, to train for three months. He left for Vietnam on April 24, 1967. He had served there in the Army Signal Corps for nine months prior to his death. His rank was that of Army Specialist Fourth Class.
The major in command of the Security Force at Qui Nhon wrote to Curtis' father as follows: 'Curtis was a member of a security force that occupied the summit of Ke Sien Mountain to protect the city of Qui Nhon from possible mortar attack. The enemy attacked the position at 2:30 A.M. with satchel charges and small arms fire. Curtis was defending a bunker which was attacked from the rear and was mortally wounded by rifle fire in his attempt to repel the enemy force.'
The Army Commendation Medal for Valor and Heroism has been awarded posthumously to Curtis.
On behalf of all members of The Sparks Family Association, we extend our deep sympathy to the parents of Curtis T. Gay. Each of us is proud to claim kinship to this brave young man who gave his life for his country.