Gabriel, 24, a specialist 5, and Sgt. Wayne Marchand were executed by Viet Cong sympathizers on April 8, 1962, during a training mission in a remote village seven miles from Da Nang. A 1962 Time magazine report said Gabriel and Marchand were in the third night of a two-week field exercise near the village of An Chau, 360 miles north of Saigon, when they were killed. His group was attacked at daybreak. Gabriel was shot three times in the chest and stomach while calling vainly for reinforcements.Gabriel is memorialized in the 1966 hit song "The Ballad of the Green Berets," written by Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler, a Special Forces medic in the Vietnam War.
Before he fell, Gabriel radioed a final message to the base at Da Nang: "Ammunition is running short and we are being overrun." He was captured and later killed.
This weekend, the 5th Special Forces Group will officially dedicate Gabriel Memorial Field at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, honoring James Gabriel Jr. More here: First Native Hawaiian Killed in Vietnam Conflict Honored.