Baynes McSwain, a native of San Marcos, Texas, was killed in action in Vietnam on October 10, 1968. McSwain received a posthumous Distinguished Service Cross for the extraordinary heroism he exhibited that day as a squad leader with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry, in the 25th Infantry Division.
“His company came under heavy small arms and automatic weapons fire from a fortified Viet Cong base camp, ” McSwain’s DSC citation notes. “Sergeant McSwain’s platoon was pinned down and the point man lay wounded in an open field completely exposed to the communists’ barrage. Though wounded in the leg by the initial volley, he immediately deployed his men to provide covering fire and disregarding his safety, crawled further into the enemy line of fire to help his stricken comrade. Shielding the man with his body, he quickly administered first aid and was pulling him to safety when he was mortally wounded by the hostile fusillade.”
Baynes McSwain also was an accomplished amateur photographer. A group of folks in San Marcos has resurrected his photos. and put together an exhibition of prints made from the slides (including the photos above and below ) he took in Vietnam. There will be a soft opening around November 10 at the Walkers’ Gallery in San Marcos, and the exhibit will continue through the end of the year under the direction of the gallery’s curator, Linda Kelsey-Jones.