Just A Little Walk In The Woods

with the Delta Raiders

Company D, 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile)


 

COPYRIGHT 1991 MICKEY SUSANNE ROBERTSON

 

    Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: "The only gift is a portion of thyself." I have recently received a gift which not only fulfills the requirements of Emersonís definition, but which has an added poignancy. It was given across the barriers of time and death, and was intended to be shared. In order to receive this gift, I had to experience a process of personal growth. It began with a current event which caused reflection on a past event.

    Many Americans seem to agree that the recent Gulf war has brought a new interest in the Vietnam war. One legacy of the Gulf War may very well be our retrospective understanding of the people involved in the Vietnam War.

    Although the Vietnam War ended a long time ago, it is still not over for many people. The real human cost of that war, a terrible price that was paid at the time by over 58,000 people, is a price that is still being paid by their families, and by the men and women who returned. I believe that we need to remember them, and that the recent war somehow gave us something we needed to begin to do that.

    The Gulf War was indeed a contributing factor in bringing me a new understanding of the people who were involved in the Vietnam War. Another factor was something I would never have expected could be so powerful in itself. Something which first appeared to be simple and silent, but which turned out to be profound and able to speak eloquently. That something was a list of names: names from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

    In a book about the Wall, I read a note that someone had left there. It said: "I came down today to pay respects to two good friends of mine. Go down and visit them sometime.. I think you will like them." I wish that I could tell the writer of that note that I have visited them, and I do like them, very much. I have come to care about them, all of them. I have come to know some of them, and in coming to know them, I have a different awareness of each one.

    During the Vietnam War in 1968, a boy I didnít even know was going through the worst year of his life, and his experiences in Vietnam would later be a continuing thread in our life together. That thread would also contribute to my encounter with the war, 23 years later, and to bringing about my new perception.

    For many years my husband had an ongoing desire to locate the family of his "best buddy", Henry, who had been killed in Vietnam in 1968. We hadnít had any luck in our rather sporadic locating efforts.

    Then came the Gulf War, and its reality hit me as Vietnam never had. I was seeing war from a totally different viewpoint this time: that of a mother with two teenage sons. During this war, I came to realize that, regardless of my personal feelings about war, and about my own sons, every person over there in the Persian Gulf area was someoneís child. And so, equally, came the unbidden thought: "Just like they were in Vietnam." I really began to think about that.

    Our stateís "Welcome Home Troops" ceremonies this past July included an exhibit of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving wall. This smaller scale replica of the original Wall in Washington D.C. travels the country and allows many more people the opportunity to experience the Wall.

    The Wall begins and ends in the center. Here is the beginning of the war, and the name of the first person who died. Walk right, the East Wall, all the way to the end. Then go to the beginning of the left side, the West Wall, and walk all the way back to the center starting point. Here is the end of the war, and the names of the last person who died. It is a long walk and gives a definite emphasis to how many names there really are.

    In May 1985, the National Geographic Magazine featured an article about the Wall. At that time, they wanted to publish all the names on the Wall as part of the article. They had to abandon the idea when they discovered that, in their normal size type, the names alone would fill 230 pages.

    Maya Lin, the designer of the Wall, said that she "wanted a memorial which was honest about the reality of war." All these names are the reality of the Vietnam War.

    I had a somewhat different feeling at the Wall this time than on past visits. I had always been effected by seeing Henryís name, and the names of my husbandís other friends, but this time there was a feeling of shock at the enormity of all the names. I donít think I had ever fully grasped this before, in a conscious way. Visiting the Wall is always a somber experience, but this visit had an added element. I canít really explain what happened there that day. Events may have combined to bring me the thoughts that made me receptive to the Wall. Maybe it was the power of the names themselves, which I was seeing in a different way. Maybe it was all of these, and also something else.

    While the Wall is a memorial, and not a grave, many people feel an aura about it. It seems strange to attribute human qualities, or even supernatural qualities, to a monument, but maybe they are there, present in the surroundings of the Wall. The reactions of the visitors to the silent stimulus of the memorial may combine in some unaccountable way to produce a unique atmosphere. The imprint of all the emotions that the Wall evokes is a very powerful force. Maybe this reaches us in varying degrees depending on the alignment of our emotional channels at a given time. While I canít explain what it was, it would be a catalyst to my experiences in the months ahead.

    That visit to the Wall also had one more thing to offer. As we were leaving, a veteran of the Gulf War came over and talked to my husband. That he did so was very gracious and meaningful, and also symbolic of the connection of one generation to another, and of one war to another. Seeing this young man in this place filled me with thankfulness that the Gulf War was not allowed to exact a similar toll from our country in this generation.

    After that visit to the Wall, I was inspired to begin searching for Henryís family in earnest. It was almost as if fate had decreed it at this point in time, because we soon located them. That was very special to us all. We didnít know it until then that they had also tried to locate my husband, and that Henryís mother had written him a letter years ago, which had been returned because we had moved to another state.

    Locating Henryís family caused my husband to restate his desire, and that of the other men in his Army company, to locate the families of all the men who were killed in their company. They were planning a reunion in July of 1992, which was only about a year away, and they wanted to locate as many of the families as they could before then. I decided to try and help in their efforts.

    I would be working mostly to locate the families of the men who were killed in action (KIA Families), but also, to a small degree, to help locate other men who had served with the company. I was given a list which contained the names of 18 men who were killed in 1968. (Since my husband was in Vietnam in 1968, I would be working on the list of men from that year. Other people were working on similar lists for other years of the war.) I had no idea of how that list would change my life.

    The story of the men on the list could not be complete without learning something of the nature of the war itself, of the outfit the men had served in, and of the men they had served with. I began my work by attempting to do this.

    I learned some interesting things at that time. I learned that their company: Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army---known as the "Delta Raiders"---was somewhat unique. Some of its men had been working for years on locating efforts. They were attempting to locate every man, and every KIA Family, in their company, throughout all the years the company was in Vietnam. This was a huge undertaking, as it included the years from 1967 to 1972, and numbered approximately 700 men. An association had been formed: DROVA: Delta Raiders of Vietnam Association, which had about 30 members in 1984, and which now is over 300. They publish a bi-monthly newsletter, and hold a reunion every two years. They also publish a copy of their "company roster" which lists the names of all the men who ever served in the company, and is regularly updated as to which men have been located. An interesting personal note in this roster is the inclusion of the nicknames by which many of the men knew each other while in Vietnam. These names are rather amusing: "Pork Chop", "Rabbit", "Tennessee Slick", "Raider 6", "Gunship", "Cool Willie", "Raider Rob", "The Kid", "Snoopy", "Broadway Slim", "Rat", and "Red" are a few examples. The medics were all known as "Doc", and one Raider from the state of Hawaii was known as "Pineapple".

    As I talked with some of these men, I noticed that they all have strong feelings about the company, and that they felt that the Raiders are "a family". Bonds formed in Vietnam between these men have been renewed, and friendships have developed among the wives, children, and other relatives of the Raiders.

    The 1992 reunion will mark the 25-year anniversary of the Delta Raiders. The company was formed in 1967 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The Raiders of my husbandís year, 1967-68, were the first: "The Original Raiders". They left Ft. Campbell in December, 1967, scheduled to spend one year in Vietnam. They arrived there shortly before Christmas, in time to see the Bob Hope Christmas Show.

    1968 turned out to be a year distinctive in the Vietnam War, and in Delta Company. In one day alone, the fifteenth of February, 6 Raiders were killed and 26 were wounded. My husband spent the full year there, and when he left, he was the only Original Raider left in his platoon. Although some of the other Original Raiders had been transferred to other units, most of the others had been either killed or wounded to a degree of severity which required their earlier release. The new men who arrived to take their places were known as " replacements", a term I personally find abhorrent, when you think it through. One of these "replacements" was only there 4 weeks when he himself was killed.

    The Tet Offensive of 1968 was a major turning point in the war. It also began the period of some of the heaviest fighting in the war. The Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded 58 times for action in 1968, more than any other year of the war. The 1968 Raiders were privileged to have two Medal of Honor recipients in their company: Joe R. Hooper, one of the most decorated soldiers of the Vietnam War, and Clifford C. Sims, my husbands squad leader.

    The Original Raiders happened to be the first, but the men of the later years continued the tradition of the Raiders as a special group. Regardless of what year any of the men may have served, they are all equally Raiders. The original Raiders owe a great deal of gratitude to the Raiders of the later years, as some of those men have done much of the locating and other work of the association. One man who is special to the Raiders is the father of a Raider who was awarded the Silver Star and was killed in Vietnam in the Battle of Hill 805 in 1970. The efforts of this father to locate surviving Raiders who knew his son provided the impetus for the present association. He remains a vital part of DROVA, and last year published in the newsletter a letter which he addressed to "The Delta Raiders Family". His words show the unique bond of all the Raiders. He wrote: "You and your families have become for me, in a strange but deeply consoling way, a living substitute for my lost son, Terry, and the family he never got to have.

    As I learned more about the company, and worked with the list of names of the KIAs, those 18 men began to become even more real to me. I was not able to think of any of them as just names, they had become real people. The realization grew that each of them was a person, a unique individual who was gone forever.

    The list containing the names, hometowns, and dates of birth and death of 18 men in Delta Company in 1968 yielded some information about the group. Harold was the first who was killed, and his death took place on Valentines day. Arthur was the last, and he died on December 2nd. One man died in the month of June, which was the midway point of the Original Raiders one year tour. Four of them had been born in the month of June, while none were born in February, a month in which eight of them had died.

    Robert, at 18, was the youngest man who died; John at 26, was the oldest. Of the 18 men, 12 of them (2/3) were age 21 or younger. Six of them (1/3) were 19 years old, and the same number were from the state of Florida. Three were from California, and two each were from Georgia and Pennsylvania. One each were from the states of Alabama, Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas. About a third of them were from major cities, while about two-thirds were from either smaller cities or small towns.

    Two had the same last name, but were from different states, Ohio and Georgia. Three had the first name of Robert, while two were named Clifford. Two had David as a first name, while it was the middle name of a third. One had a name who's meaning in Hebrew is "God with us". Harold was one manís first name, and anotherís middle name. Sadly, "Jr." followed the names of four of the men. The names on my list were also, of course, on the Wall. On one panel alone are the names of seven 1968 Delta Raiders.

    These pieces of information further expanded their individuality. While the information was really statistical, it added to my interest in these men and their lives. It was as if this basic information, when added to the names, was enough to further encourage me. Almost as if the men were somehow choosing to slowly reveal their lives to me, and offering the elusive prospect of still further revelations about themselves.

    I began to think of them and their families as "My KIA Families." I would sometimes put the list away, thinking of leaving them alone for awhile, and would work instead on trying to locate surviving Raiders. But I would soon feel compelled to return to "my men and their families".

    Some of the Raiders in the association had learned of my interest and efforts and were, understandably, keenly interested. These men offered me still further information about some of the men who had died. Many of them also called to express their appreciation for the work I was doing. They even offered to help pay for the costs of the work! (While the library research using multi-city phone books and city directories is free, and the costs of sending letters is nominal, the expenses of long-distance telephone calls and newspaper ads can quickly become oppressive. I was touched and appreciative of their offers, but I was somehow unable to "put a price" on this work.) At one low point, when none of the leads I was following was bringing any success, one of the men happened to call, and he gave me the boost I needed. His words were: "I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you are doing for us."

    One phone call which was rather a shock to me came in response to a letter I had written seeking information about one of the men on my list. A relative with the same name phoned me. It was a momentary shock to hear someone say, "This is---", which happened to be the exact same name as one of "my men". I was pleased to hear from him, but thinking of my own shock, I was relieved that my husband hadnít answered the call. It would have been a tremendous shock to him to hear someone identify himself by the same name as a person whose death he had personally witnessed.

    The men of Delta Company also unknowingly told me something else: that life and time inevitably continue. I had seen pictures of most of the men on my list. I perceived them in my mind as they were in 1968. Because they had remained forever young, the contrast with their living friends was acute. Some of the surviving raiders were now grandfathers, who had graying hair and talked of retirement plans. The contrast they unwittingly provided exemplified all that "my men" had been denied.

    One benefit my work has given me is that it has brought to my attention the overall goodness present in most Americans. I have reached many wrong numbers in the telephone part of my work. People with the same last name frequently turn out to not only not be relatives of one of "my men", but to have never heard of him. Yet, many of them are interested, and ask questions, and have offered to try to help! They have requested my phone number, and called me back later, at their own expense, with what they hope may be useful information. That they would do this, on the basis of a wrong number, indicates the level of their concern about these men.

    I have also received long distance calls, again at the callersí expense, in response to newspaper ads. People have called to tell me that they read the ad, and while they donít have any information, they wanted to call and simply offer encouragement. Sometimes, they also call to tell me that they read the ad and they are going to investigate and call me back if they discover anything useful.

    That this effort would receive such a response from completely uninvolved strangers that they offer to spend their time to help, and their money to make the calls, has been heartwarming to me. I believe it is also an indication of our country and its caring about the people of the Vietnam War.

    At this point, we had begun to locate families of some of the men. To be able to talk with, and sometimes even visit, the families of "my men" was like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! Now I was learning things that would make these men forever real to me. Things I could never have learned from a list alone, or from the Wall alone, but which were crucial pieces to completing the puzzle and really knowing them as individual people.

    The list couldnít tell me, for instance, that Harold had loved photography, excelled in several sports during High School, and was a Native American of the Navajo Nation. Or that Paul had sometimes left notes for his mother in the form of pictographs, which she had to decipher in order to find out where he had gone. The list did reveal that Henryís nickname was "The Round Man", and that his birthday was New Year's Eve. But not that, as a small boy who wished to wear his cowboy boots all the time, he had tried to convince his mother that he just couldnít walk when wearing shoes. Or that, as a child, instead of "playing school", Henry had "played church", gathering neighborhood children in his garage, where he then presided over "services", and informed them of his intention to be the first American Pope! The list also didnít tell me that his funeral, at the age of 19, was held on his motherís birthday.

    By studying the information on the list, I had discovered that Wade had died exactly one month to the day after his twentieth birthday. But not that he played football and was good at mathematics. The list couldnít tell me that a friend would remember Bobby as "the life of the party", or that Arthur, and only Arthur, always wore his "boonie hat", even under his helmet. Or that Lawrence was an "RTO", meaning that he had carried their radio communications equipment. The list certainly didnít divulge one piece of information that was perplexing: that through a strange anomaly, one casualty had originally been incorrectly identified as my husband.

    The list revealed that one Robert was from Pennsylvania, but not that he was engaged to be married. Or that Eulas Fay had twin sisters. Or that one of the Cliffords had sacrificed his own life to save the lives of his friends, an action for which he had been posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Or of the surprising coincidence that of these 18 men, two had had sisters who were Roman Catholic nuns.

    The list couldnít tell me about the families of these men, either. Of how it felt to meet Haroldís mother, who speaks no English, and yet, as I hugged her and looked at pictures of her son, I realized that we could communicate in the most universal language of all: human caring. The list couldnít tell me of the sense of tragedy and closeness I would feel with her, when I learned that she has endured the deaths of her husband and two of her sons. She is a woman of great dignity and quiet sorrow.

    Surrounded by her other children, Haroldís brothers and sisters and their families, I felt as if I were among old and valued friends, not people I had just met. Although my husband had known Harold, of course, it was sometimes hard to remember that I had not. One of his sisters bore a remarkable resemblance to a photograph I had seen of him. My exclamation: "You remind me so much of Harold, you look just like him!" must have seemed strange, until we talked of my work, and she understood how often I had pored over pictures of these men. While they were all special to me, a few had seemed to become closer to me than others. Harold was one who had gently reached me in a special way.

    Henry was another. My husband has never wanted to have another "best buddy", and he still becomes emotional when he hears a particular song which says: "He was my friend, and I miss him so."

    The list couldnít tell us that one of Henryís sisters has a voice that can sing Ave Maria so beautifully that it inspires a sense of awe, even though we ourselves happen to be Protestant! When she sang a song in Spanish which has a special meaning to the family, we could feel their strong emotion, even before it was translated to us as a song about someone never being able to come home again.

    The list didnít reveal that Henryís mother would be a truly delightful lady who somehow reminded me of Rose Kennedy. And that, in spite of the tragedy in her life, she would retain a highly developed appreciation of humor, and her eyes would, at times, sparkle with joy, as well as with tears. That she seeks and savors what she refers to as "joyful moments".

    We would never have expected that one of Henryís brothers would bake and decorate a huge sheet cake which read: "Welcome", followed by our names! As we sat and talked and looked at pictures around the large kitchen table, with Henryís nieces and nephews running in the back door from playing outside, it was as if we were among family. Because of a friendship 23 years ago, this warm and wonderful family was encircling us with their love.

    The list couldnít show us into the homes of these men. To see the pictures of medals lovingly displayed, all the letters of condolence carefully saved. To hear the questions asked of my husband, questions which had remained unanswered for these 23 years: "Were you there with him? What really happened? How did he die?" To see the look of a motherís heart in her eyes, as she holds her sonís medal and asks, "What price glory?"

    The list couldnít take us to the cemetery, to talk with Haroldís brother. A brother who told us of having driven 250 miles to gather a certain kind of stones, to build a low wall around the grave. Who spoke of how his family and friends miss him, and of his desire to make his final resting place into a beautiful and special place. We saw the enclosing wall, lovingly built stone by stone, the helmet displayed, and the American flag flying, and we heard of his plans, after 23 years, to make still further improvements here, for Harold.

    The lists donít tell about the two week agony these families endured. I never knew that it had taken two weeks after the family was notified of the death, for the mensí bodies to be returned home. Some families suffered additional grief because their son was first reported to be "Missing in Action", and the days of uncertainty and dread had preceded the arrival of the notice of his death. It is impossible to truly know how hard those days and weeks must have been to live through.

    I wished that I had known these men, each of them on the list. As I learned more about them, it was, to me, as if they were alive again, as if they were new friends I was just getting to know. The sad reality was the fact that my "friendship" with these men could never grow beyond a clearly inalterable limit. The events of 23 years ago had deemed that it could never be fully developed. It would have to be enough as it was: enough for me to accept knowing them only to a degree, and enough for them, to know that they had not been, and never could be, forgotten.

    As I pondered the thought of knowing these 18 men and their families, that thought one day grew and reached out to include all the people on the Wall. 58,132 of them, and they were all real, each of them, just as real as Henry, or Clifford. I felt stunned with the reality of the people, and the lives, represented by the names on the Wall.

    Most of the people on the Wall had parents, brothers and sisters. Some were married, and had children. Even if each of them had only one person to care, the Wall would still represent over 58,000 broken hearts. I can never again look at the Wall without knowing not only the reality of each name, but also feeling all the broken hearts associated with the names. Most of the names had far more than just one person to care. They not only had their relatives, but also those who served with them in Vietnam.

    As I came to know more of the men from Delta Company who had returned from Vietnam, I realized the toll taken on each of them, and the memories they must carry. Those of us who were not there cannot conceive what the experience was really like. We can, and we should, try to understand, but we who did not actually live it cannot ever fully do that.

    How many of us have ever been standing a few feet from a friend and seen that friend decapitated when a round of artillery came in? Which of us has ever helped to carry the body of a dead friend for several hours? Or carried the charred bodies of the victims of a helicopter crash around with us for two days? Or fought for several hours within sight of the body of an American, and found out after the battle that the body was that of our best friend? One indelible memory of many Raiders is indicative of the inherent horror of war. They remember how they watched helplessly as a helicopter containing one of their wounded friends was shot down. While the injury he had already sustained was relatively minor, he was severely burned in the resulting crash. His friends consider it almost miraculous that this man is still alive today, although he had to spend over a year in a hospital burn unit.

    The scope of these experiences is almost completely out of the realm of our comprehension. Things like this just donít happen to us. In our lives, death is, of course, present at times. But we ourselves donít have to deal with the bodies. We can take some time off to adjust to the death of someone close to us. In Vietnam, they would help their wounded friends to board a helicopter, and then often never know if that friend lived or died. I have heard my husband talk to men recently who were amazed to learn that one of their badly wounded friends is still alive. In all these years, they had never known if he had lived or died. In Vietnam, they would help to carry the body of a friend who was killed, and never have even a moment to mourn him, because the war went on. Most of these people are still grieving for their friends who died, in part because they had no opportunity to do so at the time. When I talked on the phone with a newly located Raiderís wife, and she told me that this was his first contact in 23 years with anyone from Vietnam, and that he had become pale, I realized again the depth of feeling these people carry from the Vietnam experience.

    Yet, what they have experienced seems to have increased their capacity to empathize with others, and to more fully appreciate anything done in their behalf. They remember and have strong feelings for those who cared for them when they were wounded. They often speak of the medics, who were highly respected. They also recall the nurses, who treated them with skill and compassion. My husband believes that the nurses must bear a heavier burden from service in Vietnam because, while the troops in the field saw injuries and death at times, the nurses saw it on a daily basis.

    I canít really put into words what working with the KIA names has given me. Getting to know these men's families has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. All of "my men" will always be a part of me, and all of their families will always be in my memories. However, my relationships with these families as a whole share a factor which is common to all our many human relationships. While we care about all our friends, we have varying degrees of closeness with each particular friend. Since our original contact, I have no further contact with some of the families, and have had friendly, but sporadic, contact with others. But my relationships with two of these families have continued and grown into close friendships. I believe that these will be very special friendships for the rest of our lives.

    My work has also taught me that through these men's friends, the living Delta Raiders, these men do live on. And the living Delta Raiders, in remembering and honoring their fallen friends, also draw strength, and love, and even joy, from one another.

    At their reunions, they hold a beautiful memorial service for their friends who were killed. Some of the relatives of the men who died also attend the reunions, and this is very special to the Raiders. They feel strongly about including these men's families, and letting them know that their relative has not been forgotten by the men he served with.

    A unique innovation of the group is that DROVA has created a personal company version of the Wall. It is called "Our Special Wall". It begins with the names of the Raiders who were killed in the war, in the order in which they died, just like the real Wall. Haroldís name will always remain the first on this Wall. But at the end of the names of the men from Delta Company who were killed in the war, the names of raiders who have died since the war are added, also in the order in which they have died. One of the names on this Wall is that of Joe Hooper, the second Congressional Medal of Honor recipient from Delta Company, who died in 1979. In a speech during the memorial service at the last reunion, it was pointed out that, since it is updated whenever any Raider dies, unfortunately, but inevitably, "Our Wall will continue to grow."

    The Raiders visit and reminisce with one another, both at the reunions, and by phone and sometimes personal visits, in between. They come from many places to attend the reunions. Located Raiders and KIA Families reside in almost every state, as well as Taiwan, Australia, and Puerto Rico. As many reminisce, they sometimes laugh, as they remember some of the times they experienced together, because then they were young, and there were some good times, even in the midst of war. Like the time a friendís bunker collapsed from a mortar attack, and he came out, unscratched and smiling, and they gathered around him and laughed together. But they also cry, as they remember what happened to so many of their friends. They remember that the same friend who survived the bunker collapse was killed in a battle the next day. And so they remember and share, both the good and the bad, of the most unforgettable year of their lives.

    I am still working on the names on the list. I have come to know a lot about some of them, but I know only a little about others. The information I have learned thus far about one of them, whose name was Walter, has led me to the distressing belief that he was his parentsí one and only child. Some of the men on the list havenít revealed anything of themselves to me yet. And maybe they never will. But I will keep trying, because I want to know them. I am also eager to meet their surviving friends, and their families, at the next reunion. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to know these special people.

    When we last visited the Wall, an incident occurred which really illustrated my own experience. A small boy and his parents approached the Wall. I donít know know what he had been told he was going to see, but this clearly wasnít what he was expecting. He looked up at the Wall, frowned, and said plaintively, "But these arenít people." My husband whispered softly, "Oh, but they are." Of course, the boy was just a child, and yet, he expressed what I believe may be the unacknowledged feeling that many of us have about all those names on the Wall. We know, in fact, that they were people, but they just donít seem quite real. So many names! It is easy to lose sight of the knowledge of each of them as individuals. And so, I wanted to share what I have learned. When we see the Wall, we may know in our minds that they were real individual people, but we donít really know it until we know it in our hearts.

    A list of names, men who died 23 years ago, have given me a gift today. They have spoken to me, and given me a portion of themselves by allowing me to see into their lives. In doing this, they have spoken not just for themselves, but for each of the 58,132. I am grateful that they spoke to me, and I am enriched for having listened.


Although this story speaks for itself, I feel compelled to say a few words about Mickey. I am the one who sent her the list when she requested all the information that we had on the family members of our KIA's. Mickey and I spent countless hours both on the phone and writing letters to each other during the time she was locating our family members. I know how much love, devotion and time she spent helping us locate our KIA families. There is no way to put into words what it means to us when the parents of one of our fallen Raiders comes to a reunion and pins their son's flower on the wreath during our Memorial Service.. All I can say is, "Thank you so very much Mickey... RAIDER!!" 

                                                                                                                        Blackie

 


below are links to more

Raider Writings

Hill 100  |  Delta Raiders Overrun Outpost  |  Infantry, Arty Chew Up NVA Unit 

Going Home  Heavy Fighting Near Bastogne  |  Hill 805, A First Sergeant Remembers 

The Introduction  |  Across The River & Into...  |  Raiders "Lighten The Load"

You should know Joe Hooper  |  Most decorated soldier dies  |  The List

Airborne Trooper Saves Girl  |  Flashback  |  Night Sweats  |  'Grunt' More Than A Name 

Delta Raiders Ambushed Near Firebase Bastogne | To My Dad on Veterans Day

 


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