Sergeant First Class Estel Denny Spakes was born on October 10, 1936, and was originally from Harriman, Tennessee. He served his country in the Vietnam War in the United States Army, as a communications specialist in Detachment A-109 (Thuong Duc), Special Forces. He was a fourteen-year veteran of the army when his tour in Vietnam began on October 16, 1967. On March 12, 1968, SFC Spakes was killed in an ambush under hostile conditions in Quang Nam province, South Vietnam. He was 31 years old at the time of his death. SFC Spakes is memorialized on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Panel 44E, Line 31. The following are online tributes left for SFC Spakes:

Ruby Spakes
We miss you
You are so loved and so missed. Our children will never forget. We have so many wonderful grandchildren. They all have been taught about you. Yes, one day we will all be together in a glorious place that the Lord has prepared for us. No more parting, no more tears, no more trouble. Just peace forever with our Heavenly Father. When I met you, it was love at first sight and I still love you today. You will always be in my heart. Ruby Lea
March 12, 2010

I served with Special Forces Det. A-109 Thuong Duc as 31A. Estel was our communications specialist. He was our life line (by morse code key) with Danang, our “C Detachment” as our small numbers were under constant threat of being overrun by NVA. He also conducted combat patrols against the NVA in our remote and dangerous area. Estel was a fine man, great sense of humor, loved country music and loved his family dearly. He was a joy to be around in good and trying times. Sadly, he and a small support force of CIDG were ambushed en route to man an early-warning post on our perimeter. Estel called us on the radio during this ordeal and we tried like mad to save him. His final attempted escape from the overwhelming NVA force was a mad dash to the Song Vu Gia river, but it was too late. He was shot and KIA instantly.
My sympathies and best wishes to his family. He spoke of you all often. I have missed him these many years.
Posted by: John R. Williams Sp5,5th SFG Det. A-109 Thuoung Duc,Vietnam
Relationship: We served together
Saturday, February 16, 2002

  • Rank: Sergeant First Class
  • Date of birth:
  • 10 October 1936
  • Date of death: 12 March 1968
  • County: Roane
  • Hometown: Harriman
  • Service Branch: Army
  • Division/Assignment: Special Forces
  • Conflict: Vietnam
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Piney Grove Cemetery, Midtown, Roane County, TN
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar XXIV, Top Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor Estel D. Spakes

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