An Ideal Son: Cpl. Rex Sherman

 

An Ideal Son

bAnn Sherman Wolcott

REX MARCEL SHERMAN is honored on Panel 16W, Row 96 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He can be visited at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 36-1313.

 

My son Rex Sherman was born on April 8, 1951, the week of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s famous retirement speech, which included these words: “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”  Eighteen years later, Rex died as a young soldier in the Republic of Vietnam on Nov. 19, 1969, while serving as an assistant team leader with the 75th Ranger Regiment (Airborne, Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol).

Rex was a happy, healthy boy who had blonde curly hair and sparkling blue eyes. He was a good kid who loved to play soldier and build forts. When he reached school age, he recruited his little brother, who was 2 1/2 years younger, to be his “point man.” His job was to warn Rex when Mom was coming so they could stop jumping on the bunk beds—which were draped in blankets and sheets and had become “The Fort.”

Rex was always a leader who was loved and respected by his peers and especially by his little brother, Dana. They were inseparable.

On New Years Eve 1962, Rex and Dana were sledding in a park in Pennsylvania. Dana was involved in an accident that pinned his leg between the runners of the sled and a tree. He was seriously injured. Rex instructed a friend to get a blanket and call an ambulance. Then he called me at work to tell me what happened. When I arrived, Rex had taken care of everything. He was not even 11 years old.

Rex always wanted a car. In 1967, he bought the shell of an old Chevy with no engine for $100, which he had saved from a part-time job. He was 16 and had the dream of putting a hot engine in that car someday. He even bought a new racing steering wheel for it, made out of stainless steel and wood. He would go out and sit in that old car after school and sometimes at night with his transistor radio—just sit in the car and dream about the day he would get it running. He enlisted in the Army at age 17 and never owned a real vehicle or had a driver’s license.

Rex loved music, played guitar and sang. He was in a small band and sang in the school choir.

We were an Army family. His father, Sgt. Lawrence R. Sherman, had a career that took us many places. Rex started his schooling with kindergarten in Germany, then first grade in Alexandria, Virginia. He went to school in Ohio, West Virginia, Colorado, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Rex was an average student who opted to serve the country he loved rather than continue his education.

Rex was the ideal son, brother and friend. He was loyal, generous and very patriotic. He had impeccable manners and was very handsome. The girls loved him because of those special traits. 

Rex is missed by family and friends every day.

  

ANN SHERMAN WOLCOTT was the national president of the American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. from 2003-04. She is a long-time participant in ceremonies at The Wall and other VVMF activities, and is a vocal advocate of the Education Center at The Wall. She was one of five individuals who filmed public service announcements supporting the Education Center that have aired across the country.