Memorial Day: Remembering Joseph Mark Lauinger

On this Memorial Day, we’d like to spend a little time remembering one of the many Georgetown alumni who gave his life for our country.

Joseph Mark Lauinger was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on July 5, 1945 to a family with a long-standing connection to Georgetown. His grandfather, Frank T. Lauinger, studied law at Georgetown in the 1890s and his father, Philip C. Lauinger Sr., was president of the Yard (the College’s student government). At Georgetown, Joseph was a member of the Chimes and graduated from the College in 1967.

After graduating, Joseph served as a First Lieutenant in the Army Reserve, fighting in the Vietnam War. He served for two years. On January 8, 1970, he was killed when the unit he was leading in Kontum, South Vietnam, was hit by enemy fire. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for leading his fellow troops to safety. He was 24-years-old when he died.

The Main Campus library is named in Joseph’s honor, and is meant to serve as a memorial to all Georgetown graduates killed in war, including the 16 other alumni who died in the Vietnam War. Joseph Lauinger’s portrait and medals can be seen in the lobby of the library.

Photo from Flickr user Army.mil, used under a Creative Commons license.

13 Comments on “Memorial Day: Remembering Joseph Mark Lauinger

  1. Thanks to Juliana Brint for this very nice remembrance of Joe.

    His brother and classmate —
    Anthony J. Lauinger C’67

  2. It is comforting to know through Juliana Brint’s article about Joe Lauinger that the good people of Georgetown continue to remember him and other Georgetown graduates who gave their lives for our freedom in the Viet Nam War. Joe and I were best friends growing up, and I remained close to him through college years even though I did not attend Georgetown. The last time I was with Joe was just before he shipped out for Viet Nam. We corresponded regularly while he was serving there. He was a dedicated American, a solid citizen and a dear friend. Remembering him on Memorial Day is the least we can do for Joe and all those to whom we owe so much. Thank you for the tribute to a true American soldier.
    Bob Sullivan, Tulsa, Oklahoma

  3. As Bob and Tony mentioned, we are so appreciative of Juliana Brint’s remembrance of Joe and all the valiant young Georgetown men killed in war. I met Joe Lauinger when my family moved to Tulsa while I was in high school. Joe’s exuberance for life was contagious. He dearly loved Georgetown but above all he totally embraced being a Chime…never one to miss out on a good time, especially if you could sing your way through it!! We met in San Francisco as he was deploying for Vietnam, never acknowledging that we might never see each other again….all of us have moved on to other chapters of our lives but not without the fabulous memories of a exceptionally fine, genuine, principled young man we loved…who gave his life for us and this wonderful country of ours.

    Pat Struble McLaughlin, Dallas, Texas

  4. It was wonderful to see Juliana Brint and the Voice remember Joe on Memorial Day. Joe was a true son of Georgetown and a perfect representative for all Georgetown alums who have sacrificed for their country.

    Bill Casey, C’67

  5. Joe took me under his wing when I was a new Lt in his company. He taught me how to lead a platoon in the war and to stay alive. I took over his platoon when he became the scout platoon commander. We were together the night before he was killed, a memory I have always cherished. I visited his library this spring and was very proud of Joe. I think of him often. Tom Goff LTC
    U S Army retired.

  6. I remember Lt Lauinger who served with the 1st 69th Armor in the 4th Infantry Div. To the best of my memory he was killed by small arms in an attack off Hwy 19. We were operating out of LZ Schueller at the time. I don’t believe that Kontum was correct. He was my Platoon 1st Lt. Let me know if I have the wrong person.

  7. It’s 40 years ago this month that we lost Joe. I just read this wonderful remembrace of the”Lau”, thanks to Juliana Brint and the Voice. Loyal, a great friend, loved good music and good times, always a smile and a hello (“I’m doin’ fine… real fine”), would do anything for you – the essence of a Georgetown Chime. Joe is Georgetown Chime #71. His Chimes song: “Four Strong Winds”. Remember “brickin’ it” a lot with the Lau, sitting outside the ’89, having a cup of coffee or waiting for Chimes practice. He’s unforgetable. With brother Tony, Bill Casey, John Reed and 220 others– a Brother Chime forever, and never forgotten.

    Dave Cosco, B’68

  8. I studied many nights at the Lauinger Library and often wondered about the for whom it was named. I always remember him and his family in my prayers.

  9. Never a Memorial day or a July 5 goes by that I do not think of my high school friend Joe. May he rest in peace.

  10. I was a base camp commando company clerk/awards clerk HHC 1st 69th armor @ camp Radcliff on 8 Jan 1970 and was listening to the radio during the fire fight involving 1Lt Lauinger. He was going with other armored units to disposed of unexploded ordnance from an air strike. Charlie had already found the ordnance and had set up and elaborate ambush. I later wrote up his awards for him. PFC Ron Steadman

  11. I feel so grateful to the Lauinger family for donating the library in honor of Joseph Mark Lauinger.
    In my life, the Lauinger Library has been a source of comfort, beauty and learning.

    During my years as a Georgetown student, I spent many hours in the fourth and fifth floor reading rooms overlooking the Potomac River. Whenever I felt overwhelmed by life, by love or by literature, I felt so comforted by the view at the Lauinger Library.

    Please accept my gratitude.

    Sharon Harvey Rosenberg
    Georgetown University, College of Arts and Science, Class of 1980

  12. I was Joe’ troop commander for most of my time in 69th armor–I was the guy who wrote his citation, and I put him in for a Distinguished Service Cross subsequently down graded to a Silver Star.

    He was an outstanding office who gave the last full measure, and if I may I would also name SGT Willard Croy who was also killed in that fire fight. Three company commanders wounded, two Lieutantants died. Blessings to those who died on that horrible day.

    I have since made contact with Joe’s brother Tony and visited Joe’s grave in Tulsa.

    Not a day goes by that I do not think of Joe.

    Thanks for your remembrance.

    Roger Arango

  13. Joe and I went through Armor AIT together at Ft. Knox Jan-Feb 1968. We were assigned to different OCS classes, so I lost track of him until that day in March 1970 when I saw his name on the casualty lists in the Stars and Stripes. I think of him often.

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