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I don't know where
to start as it has been 29 years since that tragic day. It is now 1999. I have never
forgot you or that day but I think I may have blocked it out for many years, trying
think about it. You know we also lost a sniper that day that was assigned to our unit. It
bothers me that I can't remember his name but as you know he had only been with us a few
days. He tripped a mine as he stepped over a small fence just inside the hedge row. At the
same time we heard another explosion that would of been the explosive device that fatally
wounded you. I called for two medivacs and then assisted Lt. Waterbury in getting the
sniper on one of the dust offs. I think that Col. Fischer's chopper came in and picked you
up as he was already circling overhead, as he usually did when he thought we were going to
see some action. Although Doc Janes took real good care of you we all wished we could
have done more to save you. We knew the sniper probably would not survive because of his
massive head injuries, but we knew you had survived the trip to the hospital. We were
shocked to hear a few days later that you had died. Not many of the guys were real
religious but I think they were all praying for you. I know I was.
I thought you might
want to know a little about what happened after that tragic day in 1970. Shortly after I
left Nam our Kit Carson Scout, Bong was killed as well. Truman Hall was wounded
and Doug Deacon lost both his legs. A few of the
other guys we knew were wounded but not so seriously. Mike Sorg died from cancer in 1989.
I am not sure about how the rest of the guys are doing today. The ones I have contact with
are doing ok although I can't locate most of them.
Here are some current
events over the years that may interest you. Our troops all finally came home in 1975
and then the NVA rolled into Saigon. It wasn't until 1985 that America finally paid
tribute to you guys with a memorial in Washington, D.C., called the Vietnam Wall. Your
name is on it. It is a very silent and eerie place to visit. There are some 58,000 other
names inscribed on the wall. I really think America, for the most part tried to forget the
Vietnam War but rest assured that those of us who survived will not let them.
You are not
going to like this but I think you should know. A few years after our troops had left
Vietnam all those who skipped to Canada to avoid military service were pardoned and
allowed back into the USA. That decision really upset all of us who served. I do think
there is now more interest in what we did over there than ever before. America has had
some military conflicts since Vietnam but none like it, Thank God.
We have a
communication device now called the world wide web that allows everyone access to a large
amount of information, including the Vietnam War. I have been able to contact some of our
buddies using these channels. It makes this world a little smaller place.
Well Jim I guess I
will close. I just wanted you to know that you are thought of. I do not have many pictures
of you and wish I would of taken more because my visual memory has faded over the years. I
have attempted to locate some of your family in Michigan but no luck so far. I will keep
trying. I know you are in a safe place now and that our Lord is taking care of you. Some
of the experts say that those of us who survived have what they call "survivors
guilt" and they may be right. I do ask myself why anyone had to loose their life
in that far away place but the answer is always the same. No one except GOD can answer
we meet again, and I sincerely believe that we will as God promised eternal life for those
of us who believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. I am counting on that
promise and then we can talk some more.