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|Tribute to a fellow soldier|
|Posted for: JAMES WILLIAM FOUS:|
|My name is Larry Reid (US 53909075) and I was drafted into the United States Army in Nashville, Tennessee, on 11/2/67. I was trained in infantry weapons and tactics at Ft. Campbell, KY, and Ft. Lewis, WA. After arriving in Vietnam I was assigned to Third Platoon, Company E, 4/47th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division. The platoon was out on a mission when I arrived aboard the barracks ship USS Benewah (to the best of my recollection) and I met another raw recruit named Jim Fous. The platoon had seen intense combat during and after the 1968 Tet Offensive. Jim and I were replacements for casualties sustained during that period.
We talked about our home towns and our families. One of the commonalities we shared was that we both had younger sisters of whom we were very proud and protective. Jim was the first friend I made in this deceptively beautiful place called the Mekong Delta.
Within a few days we left on our first combat mission. I have taken the liberty of excerpting the Medal of Honor citation and will comment as appropriate:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. PFC Fous distinguished himself at the risk of his life while serving as a rifleman with Company E. PFC Fous was participating in a reconnaissance-in-force mission when his unit formed its perimeter defense for the night. PFC Fous, together with three other American soldiers, occupied a position in a thickly vegetated area facing a woodline.
This was our first night in the field and we were very nervous about making some sort of fatal mistake. There were two other combat veterans in our NDP (night defensive position) to advise us in case of trouble. I believe their names were John Sharp and Oscar Bunch. The sky was brilliant with stars as there was no moon that night. The four of us were sitting out in a rice paddy facing a woodline. Anyone in the woodline could observe us without being seen.
We had decided the order of watch, since someone had to be awake and alert all during the night. While I took the first turn, the four of us talked in hushed tones about what sort of problems might be likely in this area during this night. It was a reassuring moment. Sharp and Bunch had agreed to take the last watches of the night because enemy attack was more likely in the hours just before dawn. I was wearing a wristwatch with numbers that glowed in the dark and agreed to let anyone use it during the night to keep track of their two hour sentry duty.
After my two hours had elapsed, I handed the timepiece to Jim Fous. Sharp and Bunch were still awake and decided to stay up a little longer during the first part of Jim's watch. I lay down and tried to figure out how to sleep in a wet rice paddy which seemed to be crawling with unidentified life forms and was also within range of enemy weapons. I looked at the stars for a while, then shut my eyes tight for a while. I realized that I was never going to get any sleep in either of these modes. I began to wonder if I could stay awake for a year.
PFC Fous detected three Viet Cong manoeuvering toward his position and, after alerting the other men, directed accurate fire upon the enemy soldiers, silencing two of them. The third Viet Cong soldier managed to escape in the thick vegetation after throwing a hand grenade into PFC Fous' position. Without hesitation, PFC Fous shouted a warning to his comrades and leaped upon the lethal explosive, absorbing the blast with his body to save the lives of the three men in the area at the sacrifice of his life.
My best and only friend in the platoon had gone to the Other Side and I was left to calculate the odds of surviving a year of combat in this tropical paradise. I missed him then and I still do. I believe we will meet on the Other Side and I look forward to giving him a big hug and thanking him in person.
PFC Fous' extraordinary heroism at the cost of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the miltary service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
I bless and honor your memory Jim. My remaining days on earth were purchased by your willing sacrifice. I feel the obligation to pass along that spirit of giving one's best. You taught me that giving time or money is nice, but our impact on each other and the world is greatest when we give of ourselves.
Thank you Jim. See you on the Other Side.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
March 5, 2000
|Posted by: Larry E. Reid
Sunday, September 17, 2000
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|On May 26,|
|240 service members made the ultimate sacrifice.|
|On this day in 1965,|
|1 service members made the ultimate sacrifice.|
|On this day in 1966,|
|16 service members made the ultimate sacrifice.|
|On this day in 1967,|
|91 service members made the ultimate sacrifice.|
|On this day in 1968,|
|73 service members made the ultimate sacrifice.|
|On this day in 1969,|
|23 service members made the ultimate sacrifice.|
|On this day in 1970,|
|31 service members made the ultimate sacrifice.|
|On this day in 1971,|
|3 service members made the ultimate sacrifice.|
|On this day in 1972,|
|2 service members made the ultimate sacrifice.|
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