Richard and I were drafted together and attended Basic Training together. My ID# was 52752167 and his was 52752173. I grew up in Elmont, NY, one town over from Richard's hometown of New Hyde Park.
We flew from NYC-JFK Airport to Ft Lewis together on our way to Vietnam.
We wound up in the same Company, Co.B,1st12th, 1st Air Cav , but in different platoons. I was infantry, he was a medic.
His was the lead platoon that day, I was 2 platoons back.(I believe we were walking single file) The firefight started at about noon, with his platoon taking the brunt of the fire and had 3 casualties. When I heard it over the radio, they called him 'the medic with the glasses' but I knew right away who it was.I was told Richard died trying to tend to a fellow soldier who was shot and also died.
"If you are able, save for them a place inside of you....and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.....Be not ashamed to say you loved them....
Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own....And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heros you left behind...."
Quote from a letter home by Maj. Michael Davis O'Donnell
KIA 24 March 1970. Distinguished Flying Cross: Shot down and Killed while attempting to rescue 8 fellow soldiers surrounded by attacking enemy forces.
We Nam Brothers pause to give a backward glance, and post this remembrance to you, one of the gentle heros lost to the War in Vietnam:
Slip off that pack. Set it down by the crooked trail. Drop your steel pot alongside. Shed those magazine-ladened bandoliers away from your sweat-soaked shirt. Lay that silent weapon down and step out of the heat. Feel the soothing cool breeze right down to your soul ... and rest forever in the shade of our love, brother.
From your Nam-Band-Of-Brothers