Arson Suspected<BR>

Mohave County Supervisor Pete Byers, left, recently presented a proclamation of Purple Heart Week to Marine veteran Jerry Ambrose of Kingman, who received the Purple Heart while serving in the Vietnam War.

George Washington, who commanded the American forces during the Revolutionary War, established the medal in August 1782.

Miner Photo/MARVIN ROBERTSON

Ambrose and Larry Imus received the Purple Heart while serving with the Marines during the Vietnam War.

Imus said he served two tours of duty carrying a machine gun.

"We were in a graveyard at the edge of a rice paddy when one of us yelled 'booby trap,' " he recounted.

"My ammo carrier had been in the country three weeks and has 100 percent disability."

The third member of the team escaped injury.

Imus described the booby trap as made from a Chinese hand grenade.

The unit was doing a sweep of the area when the booby trap exploded, hitting Imus in the legs, chest and arms with shrapnel.

He said his flak jacket saved his life.

After three months in a hospital and rehabilitation, Imus said, he was back in Vietnam, toting the machine gun to complete his first tour of duty.

"The doctors cleared me to return to work," he said.

"When they said I was eligible to return, I went."

He had been wounded May 26, 1966 in Quang Tri.

"It happened May 7, 1967, at 2 a.m.," Ambrose, who was a staff sergeant, said about the incident that resulted in his Purple Heart.

North Vietnamese troops or Viet Cong attacked several firebases at the same time so that the Americans' return fire could not be concentrated against one attack, Ambrose said.

He was a helicopter gunner at a base that supplied the firebases, and the supply base also was attacked.

Serving as a gunner in helicopter was a good way to get quick promotions, said Ambrose, and he volunteered for the duty.

Ambrose was in the Marines from 1955 to 1987, retiring as a captain.

Imus served eight and a half years with Vietnam tours in 1965-66 and 1969.

After his discharge, he returned to Kingman, where his family roots go back to Willow Ranch in the 1870s.

Ambrose currently manages the Arizona Department of Economic Security offices in Mohave County and lives in Kingman.

Imus has served for 10 years as justice of the peace in the Kingman Justice Court and has two years left in his third term.

A Hualapai Valley Fire Department firefighter pours water on the remains of an abandoned residence in the 3500 block of Neal Avenue.

Four units and 12 personnel from his department responded to the call Wednesday, battalion Chief Oscar Lopez said.

No injuries were reported and damage was estimated at $10,000.

The fire is under investigation as a possible case of arson, Lopez said.