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POSTED ON 6.1.2014
POSTED BY: A Marine, USMC, Vietnam

Semper Fi, Marine.

POSTED ON 11.11.2013
POSTED BY: Curt Carter [email protected]

Remembering An American Hero

Dear PFC Rickey Layne Jergenson, sir

As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.

May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.

With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir

Curt Carter
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POSTED ON 5.16.2007
POSTED BY: Robert Sage

We Remember

Rickey is buried at Darrouzett Cem in Lipscomb Co,TX.
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POSTED ON 8.31.2005
POSTED BY: Jim McIlhenney

PFC Rickey L. Jergenson, USMC

PFC Rickey L. Jergenson, USMC

From: http://www.angelfire.com/tx3/capmarine/

Semper Fidelis, Marine!
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POSTED ON 11.4.1999
POSTED BY: Sandy Wardlaw

My best friend in the Corps

Rick was born in the small town of Darrouzett,Texas; population around 375 so of course everyone knew him. He was an only child which made the tragedy even worse for his parents. I don't have that much information to post on this site about Rick but he will always has been and always will be in my thoughts and heart. I met Rick when we were flying out of Amarillo for boot camp in San Diego. We hit it off right away. He was the type of person who never met a stranger. Our personalities were total opposites but we became friends in the few hours it took to get to San Diego. We arrived for training June 27, 1969.

I don't need to tell vets of the Corps what that was like. It certainly helped me having someone there from my home state. We didn't get alot of time to talk but we took advantage of all of those moments. After graduation we stayed together for all the additional training before our trip overseas. We left El Toro Air Station January 12, 1970. I still remember wondering if my feet would ever touch US soil again. We flew to Hawaii, stayed in Okinawa a few days and landed in DaNang January 16th. We were fortunate enough to be assigned to 2nd CAG and even CACO 2-4 together. But we were split up into different CAP's. He went to 2-4-2 and I was sent to 2-4-5.

We didn't see each other often after that. Perhaps if we happened to be in CACO at the same time we would visit as long as we could. I was sent to Vietnamese Language School in April for four weeks and when I returned in early May I didn't realize of course how little time was left for him. I think......I THINK I saw him one more time at CACO before he was killed. During the month of May he had been medi-vaced twice for heat exhaustion/stroke. In my opinion he never should have been allowed back in the bush after that but he was. I wish I could say we had a good conversation that last time but the truth is I don't remember any of the words; just that I got to see him.

But that's not the last time I HEARD him. One of our day sites was right next to the road leading from Hoi An to CACO. I was outside cleaning my weapon when a 6X6 drove by. It had several men on it but I didn't bother looking up. I wish I had. Rick was in the truck also and as they passed by he yelled "Hey Wardlaw!!" I tried to catch a glimpse of him but he was gone down the road too quickly. I had no way of knowing he would be dead in just a few days.

Even after 30 years I miss him. I don't go often enough to see him even though he is only about 100 miles away. Nor did I talk to his folks as much as I should have. I know they were proud of him but I wonder what they thought when the NVA tanks crashed through the gate of the Presidential Palace in Saigon in 1975. And all the other parents and wives and daughters and sons of all those brave men who died so far away. I know all of us are less because of the loss of men like Rick Jergenson.

About Rick's Death

It was late afternoon June 1, 1970. No different than any other day in a CAP in Vietnam. The time of day when everyone begins to settle down; talk becomes whispers; each man is alone with his own thoughts about that night's ambush site. We all knew that usually it was the darkness that we needed to fear-but this day would be different.

CAP 2-4-2 was on Vinh Chau Island just across the river from Hoi An. I was in 2-4-5 at the time. The only Marine I knew at 2-4-2 was Rick Jergenson. We had gone through boot camp and all our training together. He was my best friend. A fellow Texan from a town of only about 375. Just a country boy. But a great, great guy.

On the north end of the island was a mine field left over from the days of the French. Everyone knew about it. Why it had never been cleared is anyone's guess. The men used it as a bathroom. Yes, I know it was stupid but who among us did not do foolish things over there when we were 18, 19, 20 years old? One day I stood over a command detonated RPG round just laughing my head off. How foolish was that? We were all young and bullet proof back then; or so we thought. So I'm reluctant to pass judgement on those men.

On June 1 the odds caught up with them. One of the men (no one knows who and it doesn't really matter I suppose) went into the mine field and detonated one of them. The other Marines and the corpsman acted instinctively and went in to help their buddies. Many other devices were tripped. Within a matter of minutes at least four men were dead and four wounded. CAP 2-4-2 ceased to exist as a functional unit. I found out just recently that only two men were left unhurt. Rushing into the mine field was another foolish act, but probably most of us would have done the same thing.

We were about a mile away on the other side of the river when all this happened. We could tell it was bad from all the radio traffic. Several medi-vacs being called in and such. It was such a hopeless feeling being unable to help them and not knowing who was hurt and how badly. The next day we all found out. There were five dead altogether: Sgt. Roe Hopson, 21, HM3 Doug Daane, 21, L/Cpl Glenn Willis, 20, Pfc. Rick Persely, 19, and Pfc. Rick Jergenson, 19. I never knew the names of the wounded or their condition. Perhaps someone else will read this and fill in the details.

When I was told about Rick being dead I'm not ashamed to say that I began crying as I'd never done before. I couldn't seem to stop. I suppose I'm still crying after all these years. He lived only about 100 miles from me so I've gone to see his parents and visit his grave from time to time. I suppose he'll always be 19 to me.

When 2-4-2 was rebuilt I was transferred there. One of our day sites was right beside the mine field. The same place those men were that awful day. It was always a strange feeling staying there and knowing what happened just a few feet away. I'm sure that field is still full of mines even today.

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