Abshire is considered the highest decorated veteran of the Vietnam War from the parish.
The post office will be named “Sergeant Richard Franklin Abshire Post Office Building.”
Abshire, a 1962 Abbeville High graduate, was drafted into the Marines two years after graduation. He was killed four years later. This is how he was killed.
On May 2, 1968, Sgt. Abshire’s unit and another company launched a coordinated attack against a well- entrenched North Vietnamese Army force
occupying the village of Dinh To in Quang Tri Province. As the Marines entered the village, they began receiving a heavy volume of small arms and automatic weapons fire which wounded numerous men and temporarily halted the lead platoons of each company. Directed to establish a defensive perimeter, Sgt. Abshire immediately deployed his men into advantageous firing positions and commenced directing a heavy volume of accurate fire into the enemy emplacements.
As the intensity of the hostile fire increased, it became apparent that the North Vietnamese soldiers were preparing to launch a counterattack. Rapidly obtaining hand grenades from his Marines, Sgt. Abshire boldly exposed himself to the enemy force forming on line for the assault. Fearlessly maneuvering across the fire-swept terrain, he threw several grenades into the midst of the hostile soldiers, temporarily disrupting their attack.
Returning to his unit, he moved from position to position, shouting words of encouragement to his men and pinpointing hostile targets.
Upon becoming dangerously low of ammunition, he ordered his Marines to withdraw and resolutely provided covering fire, which enabled his men to reach positions of relative safety. After expending his ammunition, he was attempting to rejoin his unit when he was mortally wounded by a burst of enemy fire. By his superior leadership, intrepid fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty, Sgt. Abshire inspired all those who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.”
Abshire was one of 14 children. He has six remaining siblings. They are Anna Lou Meaux (lives in Arkansas), Bernard Abshire (lives in Abbeville), L.J. Abshire (lives in Mouton Cove), Norman Abshire (lives in Kaplan), Roger “Poncho” Abshire (lives in Mississippi) and Linda Abshire (lives in Kaplan).
Linda Abshire, who is 61 years old today, is six years younger than Richard. She was 18 years old and a senior in high school when her mother got the word about the death of Richard. A couple of Marine officers came to visit the family, as well as a telegraph was sent to them from the United States Marine Corps.
Linda returned home from school and then learned of his death.
“I wont forget that day,” Linda said. “That day (they learned of his death) I also received a letter from him.”
She remembers playing baseball in the yard with him when she was younger. She still has the American Flag that draped his coffin when he was given a military burial. The flag was given to their mother and when she died, Linda inherited it. She has it folded in a display case, along with empty cartridge shells fired during the military 21-gun salute at his funeral. Also in the case is the Western Union message about his death and the letter he mailed her before he died.
“The family is honored by naming of the post office after him,” she said. “He was an American hero and the family thinks he deserves the honor.”