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POSTED ON 6.4.2002


" The second event came after I had moved back to the command

post, located behind a huge termite mound, a key terrain feature

in this part of the Highlands. These things were as big as a

small car. Hard as concrete, and provided good cover for both us

and the enemy. I had just leaned back when suddenly I could hear

Hal Moore shouting loudly: "Charlie, call that SOB off of us.

CALL HIM OFF !!!" I turned to my left and could see two F-100

Supersabre jets, one behind the other, headed straight for us.

The first had just released two cans of napalm. The second was

about to do the same. Lieutenant Charlie Hastings, the Air Force

Forward Observer, was screaming into his mike: PULLUP ! PULLUP !

The second plane pulled up. That left the two cans of napalm

loblollying end over end toward us. Gregg Dillon buried his face

in my shoulder. Later he would tell me he had heard if napalm was

coming in you should protect your eyes. The two cans went right

over our heads and impacted no more than 20 yards from us, the

jellied gasoline spreading out and flaming up going away from us.

That 20 yards saved our lives, but through the blazing fire I

could see two men, two Americans, dancing in the fire. I jumped

to my feet. So did medic Tommy Burlile. Burlile was shot in the

head by a sniper before he could reach the scene. I charged on

in and someone yelled, " Get this man's feet !" I reached down and

grabbed the ankles of a horribly burned soldier. They crumbled

and the skin and flesh, now cooked, rubbed off. I could feel his

bare bones in the palms of my hands. We carried him to the aid

station. Later I would learn that his name was Jimmy D. Nakayama

of Rigby, Idaho. His wife, Trudie, had given birth to their first

child, a daughter, she named Nikki, on November 7.

Jimmy died in an Army hospital two days later, on November 17.

For a lot of years I looked for Jimmy's wife and daughter.

Last month, after the movie "We Were Soldiers" was released, I

received a letter from Jimmy's widow. Last week a letter came

from his daughter, Nikki, now 36 years old and the mother of two

young sons. No single day has passed since that long-ago

November day that I have not thought about Jimmy Nakayama, the

young woman who loved him, and the daughter who would never

know a father's love.

Transcribed from-



Joe Galloway

Exclusive to

The Digital Journalist

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POSTED ON 3.6.2002
POSTED BY: Jeff Adkins

Medic to Medic

I recently saw the movie "We Were Soldiers"and saw your loved ones name on the screen. I was a teacher at London High and the son of a Vietnam Veteran and was moved by your loss. Please know that men like him are not forgotten,but remembered by some. I spent 22 years in the Army as a medic,and we view him as a hero. Live with that in your memories.
Jeff Adkins
MAJOR,Medical Service Corps
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POSTED ON 11.15.2000
POSTED BY: Mark Fagan

A Touching Tribute

I have just read the tribute from your sister Delores. It is a magnificent and touching tribute that cuts to the heart.

I come from a country that never had any involvement with Vietnam except I grew up with the images of this war on my tv screen. I was a great supporter of the cause and have always felt deep sympathy for the lost souls, alive and dead.

I cried the day Saigon fell and have grieved to see the way America has struggled to come to terms with this tragic episode in its history.

I was recently able to fulfill an 18 year dream by being able to visit the wall. It is funny, but far from bringing me peace of mind, seeing the wall has brought up all my old feelings of sorrow and loss.

As a parent and brother I can only hope I never have to experience the loss felt by those families whose loved ones died in a far off land.

Rest in Peace
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POSTED ON 7.18.2000
POSTED BY: Delores A. Call

Thomas E. Burlile

POSTED ON 7.18.2000
POSTED BY: Delores A. Call

I Will Never Forget


My brother, Thomas E. Burlile, was born on November 11, 1942. An only son, an only brother, his parents divorced when he was very young. He grew up with a mother who worked hard to provide a good home for him and his sisters. Growing up in the 1950's was a happy and good time for him. Tom enjoyed life to the fullest and was a good student. He worked part-time on a farm - starting at about the age of ten. He always seemed to have some type of a part-time job. This enabled him to buy personal items for himself, easing the burden on his mother.

Tom graduated from high school in 1962 and promptly went to work at a car dealership. Life was good for him! He was at last able to buy his first car! He also met the girl of his dreams, who he would marry on July 10, 1964.

About this time, though, Tom was drafted into the Army (in April, 1964). He willingly went to do his duty. He did not try to avoid going into the Army. He wanted to go, get it behind him, so he could get on with the life he had planned for himself. But, this was early in 1964 when most people had never heard of Vietnam - Tom could have no idea how this place would change his future.

So Tom went through all his training, married his sweetheart, and made plans for the rest of his life! Then he was ordered to Vietnam in August 1965.

Tom often wrote that he really did not understand why he was there, but he was raised in a time when people were still very patriotic and he said he knew it was his duty to serve his country this way. Tom celebrated his 23rd birthday on November 11, 1965. Then a few days later, on November 15, 1965, he was in a small place called Ia Drang, a place of much fierce fighting.

Tom was a medic, trained to help the other men in his unit. Tom was trying to help a couple of other soldiers who were injured by napalm when he was shot in the head. He died within minutes in the arms of his lieutenant and ten days later he came home to us in a way we never expected. Tom was laid to rest the small town cemetery the day after Thanksgiving in 1965.

It was a day I will never forget . . . I am Tom's youngest sister, Delores. We were very close - we went through school together. It used to make me so mad that I would do the homework and Tom would copy it! We graduated from high school together. Tom gave me that car he was finally able to buy after graduating from high school when he had to go into the Army. He wasn't just my brother, he was my best friend! The grief of losing him was overwhelming! It left such an empty place in my heart!

It has been almost thirty years since he was taken from us - but to me, it seems like yesterday. I think of him every day and he truly lives in my heart. I grieve for the many things that he never had a chance to do or be - He never got to be a father, and I know he would have been a good one! He never got a chance to be an uncle to my daughter and son. I know that they would have loved him as I did and still do! And he never got the chance to grow old with me; I try to imagine what he would look like today at 53, but my vivid picture of him is as he was at 23! Little things that mean so much!

I recently ready an article that stated, "Grief never ends, but it changes. It's a passage, not a place to stay. The sense of loss must give way if we're to value the life that was lived." I truly believe this. I want my brother's life to have been of value. When I see "the Wall" and those thousands of names, I grieve for them all and think of all the potential that was lost by losing each and every one of them.

In closing, I ask that you remember my brother, Spec. 4 Thomas E. Burlile, U.S. Army, Panel 3E, Line 52, when you Remember Them all.

©1997 Delores A. Call
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