Memorial Day?

This is the place to remember those who died in their youth in Vietnam in service with the 6/31st and those who have died since. Family members are encouraged to post here. All death notices and information that the site acquires from whatever sources will be posted here as well.
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Niner Alpha
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Memorial Day?

Postby Niner Alpha » Sat May 25, 2002 10:59 pm

My wife gets the day off. My son gets a day off. I have to work and glad of it because my sales are off this month and I need the extra chance. Most people I know don't remember anybody who died in a war, and that is good. Most people lump it in with Labor day, and consider it a less significant day than the 4th of July and a lot less significant than Christmas and New Years.

When I actually think of Memorial Day I think of a kid who was about 20 years old on the day he died on the 8th of May, 1970. I had known him as part of the FDC at Delta Battery 2/4th both at Can Giouc and Ben Luc. He had been incountry since the end of 1969 and had volunteered to go to an FO team with D 6/31st about March of 1970 where he humped a radio. He also had ambitions as a recon sgt. and had enough FDC experience to know what it was about.

He landed with an element of Delta Company at Chantrea in Cambodia on the day that he died. On that day Alpha had been there a while, unlike the book, and were out in the dry paddy blocking for a change when Delta came in. This guy, as I understand it from his FO and Delta CO, had volunteered to go with this Delta element as acting FO. After the choppers landed, the platoon started into the village. It came into contact and this guy I knew was shot dead by an NVA bullet.

I learned of his death listening to the PRC25 radio. The artillary battery called asking for details. We had none, so Lt Holderness, 9er Alpha at the time, and the last officer FO, got the information through infantry radio contacts and passed it on. This dead soldier's name was John Londesdale. You will see him mentioned in the book, Into Cambodia. He was young and intent on "proving himself". I can still see his young face in my minds eye. I remember some beer we drank together at Tra Cu after he had first come to the field. I remember him helping me my first day of the very few I spent with the battery early in January of 1970. I remember him being the one I talked to on the arty radio every day when he was the battery RTO before he went to Delta Company.

What I remember on Memorial Day is all of the 32 years of life I have had that he didn't have the chance to live since. If we multiply all of the unlived lives of all the men who died for their county in various wars, that is a lot of life unlived and cannot be actually felt by an individual as simple as myself. But when I think of John Londesdale and the life he, as just one individual casualty, didn't have, I get a small grasp on what the day should mean.

Come Monday, as I have at times in the past, I will make it a point to remember a certain short blond headed kid I new once a long time ago. It's the least I can do.

Do you remember anybody?
chosin31st
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2002 9:04 am

Re: Yesterday was Veterans Day

Postby chosin31st » Thu Nov 14, 2002 9:27 pm

Hello niner alpha. I marched in the Veterans Day Parade. My buddy from the Chosin carried the American Flag in front of the Arizona chapter of the Chosin Few, made up of Marines and Army veterans of that bettle. I marched behind him and the flag was almost hitting me in the face. I was proud every time a man in uniform, including Police and Firemen saluted the flag as it went by. A few civilians stood up. Most just sat on the curb.
chosin31st
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2002 9:04 am

Re: Yesterday was Veterans Day

Postby chosin31st » Thu Nov 14, 2002 9:38 pm

I knew two Special Forces men, one a Captain, and one a PFC who was the radio operator. The operator and I became good friends since we both were in the MACV radio net. He had his special way of sending morse code to me, ending it with two Dots after the transmission was finished. The Captain just had hemmorhoids cut off his butthole. He had two weeks to recuperate, but chose instead to go back into the field with his team. This was in Quang Ngai Province. My memory evades me as to the date in March or April of 1963 that I got a call on the radio that the Captain and the PFC were killed in an ambush by the VC. The PFC took six rounds in the chest and the Captain took a round in the head. Right after that I was on my way out to the airstrip to identify them for MACV. When the chopper landed I looked at them and they looked like they were sleeping. I thought at any minute they would speak. But they were turning a pale yellow color and their lips were swollen and didn't look like theirs. I didn't feel a deep emotion at the time. I told the MACV Captain who they were and I left. Everytime I operated a morse code radio for years after that, the PFC came to mind. His name was Neil MacIver and the Captains name was James Brodt. Their names are inscribed on the Vietnam Memorial on the first panel on line 23. (The 1959 panel) Later that night I drank in my room and mourned for them.

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