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THE REASON

Many people realize why we memorialize our fallen friends, but few understand the bond that is formed by men in combat. Mike Norman, a former Marine, wrote a book called "These Good Men" about his search for the men who served in his platoon in Vietnam. His thoughts about why we gather to honor our fallen and to be together once a year are as follows:

"I now know why men who have been to war yearn to reunite. Not to tell stories or look at old pictures. Not to laugh or weep. Comrades gather because they long to be with the men who once acted at their best; men who suffered and sacrificed, who were stripped of their humanity.
I did not pick these men. They were delivered by fate and the military. But I know them in a way I know no other men. I have never given anyone such trust. They were willing to guard something more precious than my life. They would have carried my reputation, the memory of me. It was part of the bargain we all made, the reason we were so willing to die for one another.
As long as I have memory, I will think of them all, every day. I am sure that when I leave this world, my last thought will be of my family and my comrades.......................
Such good men."


To some they were old men of twenty-three or thirty-two, to others; they were kids, much too young to be warriors on the field of battle. When duty called, they, like all of us, answered. They have in their ranks Radio Operators, Cooks and Cannoneers. All of us gave something, they gave all.
We remember them, frozen in time, as they were on the day they died; lives ended at an age too early, hopes remaining no longer and growing no older as we have. They shared our burdens, our hopes, aspirations, letters from home, pictures, C-Rations, water and fears. We shared their joys, sense of humor, shade on a hot day, honesty, courage, guidance and their last can of warm beer.
They are known as "Buddies," a word that is difficult to describe to a layman until they have shared a life. Named to the right, and hopefully soon with pictures, are the Spirits of our friends and buddies as we remember them in our minds, Heroes, One and All.



The men listed to the right died in a foreign land in service to their country. If you have a photo of one of the men honored here, please contact the web master. Many more have died that had connections to the 30th Field Artillery Regiment. Some of them died as a result of exposure to "Agent Orange", others from depression caused by PTSD, or what was formerly known as "Shell Shock".




This column remembers their sacrifice and salutes those who died, whether with other units or after Vietnam. These are their stories, they are not forgotten and their spirit lives on. We invite your contributions. As with your photos, please send a short written article about your buddy to the web master.


Two walls were constructed at the end of the Vietnam Conflict. The first one was erected in the minds of many veterans. This wall served to protect the inner psyche of a person too young to have seen and experienced what they did in Southeast Asia. They forgot the names of their friends or could only remember their nicknames. Every man was given or earned nicknames because to know their real name was to get too close to a person that might be killed tomorrow. They started building this wall while still in Vietnam to blot out the everyday tedium and terror. When they returned to civilian life small chinks began to develop in that wall while they slept and allowed memories to creep through. They still awaken, covered with sweat, with the sound of 82mm mortars or 107mm rockets echoing in the recesses of their minds. Echoes that they had been able to suppress during the day. They built a wall that shut out those memories and sometimes they also shut out their families and loved ones.

The second wall was erected in Washington, D.C. Etched on that wall are the names of all our buddies who died during the war in Vietnam. It is the one place where we can all gather to remember and honor them. Their bodies lie in cemeteries across the breadth of this nation, but their names and memory are alive, for they are still alive, in spirit, within our minds.





This area is for Hard Chargers to remember those men. Poems, thoughts, memories, pictures and anecdotes about them should be sent to the web master for inclusion in this page.




In the heat of battle one hardly has time to stop and think about how well things might be going. In a struggle for survival, valuations are reduced to a simple standard: good is alive; bad is dead or wounded. Then, too, nearly everyone was simply too busy and too involved to allow the luxury of such reflection. The only thing that was really clear was that there was a hell of a fight going on.
To the trooper who has lost a buddy, no amount of figures will be able to make it appear that the battle was a success. For all of us the carnage and wreckage of a bitterly contested battleground is not the atmosphere for exultation, even if the carnage all belongs to the other side. No matter who you are, you cannot help but see mothers and wives in the face of a dead enemy.
Captain John Hottell, Historian
1st Air Cav

CPT Hottell died along with MG George Casey in a helicopter crash en route to Cam Ranh Bay to visit Skytroopers in the hospital.





For The Fathers

Build me a son O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; One who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, but humble and gentle in victory.

A son who will know thee, and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Send him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort but the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge; here let him learn to stand up in the storm, here let him learn compassion for those who fail".

Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master others; who will learn to laugh, yet never forget to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past, and after all these things are his, This I Pray, enough sense of humor that he may always be serious yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength;

Then I, His Father, Will Dare to Whisper, 'I HAVE NOT LIVED IN VAIN'.


Douglas MacArthur, General of the Armywhose goal will be high;



A Big Man In A Small Package

Captain John J. Fleming was the Battery Commander of A/1/30 when, on April 4, 1968, they were inserted onto a ridge near Khe Sanh with 2/12 Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division. LZ Wharton occupied a ridge that looked out across the surrounding mountains and on toward the besieged Marine Combat Base at Khe Sanh. The NVA greeted them with intense artillery fire. Tactical air support and ARA were able to eliminate most of the artillery positions, but several guns continued to hit the base. On the morning of April 5, the battery came under fire from the NVA artillery.

Physically, John Fleming was not very tall, but he made up for his lack of height with sheer guts and determination. He exposed himself to enemy fire by standing on the trail of a 155mm howitzer to observe the smoke from the NVA guns. From this position he directed fire upon the NVA positions that were attacking his battery. He proved that he was "King of the Hill" by quickly silencing the enemy guns. The final score was A/1/30 1 - NVA Zero.

For his actions on 5 April 1968, Captain Fleming was awarded the Bronze Star with "V", the first of two he was to earn. The picture below is of LZ Wharton. A similar photo was taken by Larry Burrows, a photographer from LIFE magazine. It appeared on page 83 of the 19 April issue
.
Captain Fleming stayed in the Army and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. In May of 1997, John J. Fleming, LTC (R) passed away from cancer caused by exposure to Agent Orange during his tour in Vietnam. He rests in good company at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA, remembered fondly by many Hard Chargers.




LZ Becky

The night was an unusually black one. The moon was in its dark phase on 11 August 1969 and the sky was overcast. Visibility was less that 12 meters and the troopers of 2/8 Cav manning the bunkers could barely make out the first string of wire. It was a night that was made to order for the sappers assigned to the 95C Regiment. The barefoot sappers had only made their way through the outer string of wire when they were spotted.

When the bunkers opened up the base of fire elements of the NVA began pelting the base with rocket and mortar fire, and an assault by an estimated two companies of NVA infantry. The 0300 attack was driven back at a cost of 4 KIA and 14 WIA, 7 of the WIA were from A/1/30.

Back at the battery rear in Tay Ninh, SSG George E. Snyder had just returned from R&R when he heard about the attack. When he learned that another attack was expected he began rounding up replacements for the wounded in A Battery. Another A Battery NCO, SSG Samuel Abrams, Jr. was also at Phuoc Vinh. SSG Abrams was due to return to the states in two days. When he spotted SSG Snyder, he told him, "You aren't going to go out there and get yourself killed without me". Both men and the replacements boarded the helicopter to FSB Becky.

The statement turned out to be prophesy. At 0340 on the 12th of August the NVA hit Becky with a storm of mortar, rocket and RPG rounds. The over 400 rocket and mortar rounds caused most of the casualties sustained by A/1/30 that night. When the battle ended, 1SG Tom Vernor was the ranking man still on his feet although he had been wounded twice. The battery had suffered 9 KIA and 19 WIA. Among those listed as KIA were SSG Snyder (Chief of Section, #2 Gun) and SSG Abrams (Chief of Section, #3 Gun). Greater love hath no man.


"...For those who manned the battle line the bugle whispers low---

and Freedom has a taste and price the protected never know..."

Author Unknown




WHO IS THE DEALER?
Ronald W. Carter

In the eighteenth year of my tender life,
Little did I know of war and strife.

At an age I should have been starting a career,
Being at home with my family and friends so dear.

Awakening to life, I found myself amidst a war
That definitely would change my life forevermore!
Like others, I was maiming and killing an enemy
With faces and names not known to me.

My comrades are yelling and falling all around,
Someone hollering, "A medevac chopper is on the ground!"
They try to save both life and limb,
Giving hope, even when hope is dim.

Oh, how the winds of war did blow.
Sights of life not even my imagination would know.
What a price this nation and mankind must pay,
A heavy price, yes, for freedom we enjoy today.

Back at home, there's another knock on the door,
A sad report of another soldier that is no more.
Whether it's a mother, father, sister or lover,
The brokeness of their hearts will never recover.

Hurting, they try to reason out why
Their soldier, so special, had to die.

"LZ Becky" it was given a name,
A place only select soldiers came.
Many lives had the cold enemy claimed,
So "Hot LZ" it was rightfully renamed.

One late night, while I was on patrol,
I observed the VC trying to take control.
Loud, shaking the ground, a rocket blasts here!
Lighting the night, a mortar made seeing clear.

My eyes see the flash, my ears hear a definite thud,
Awakening, I find myself face-first in the mud.
Wait! Something is wrong. My side and my arm,
Blood, lots of blood, my senses are in alarm.

The pain and anger are mixed as one,
I ask myself, "What have they done?"
Confused, I want to cry or yell,
Most of all to run like hell!

I hear voices --- could it be VC?
No, because that's English they're talking to me.
It wasn't a dream, I'm all banged up.
They're flying me to the rear to get patched up.

The wounds within and on the outside are bittersweet,
Three weeks in the rear --- with a grating feeling of defeat.
I must hide the damage from my folks at home,
What will I say? "Nothing is wrong." or "Leave me alone."

Thoughts are confusing me as they pass through my head.
Even now I think, "I could very well be dead."
The guilt of surviving while others had died
Is always, always eating away at my pride.

Thoughts are better as I get letters from home:
They love and miss me, I'm not alone.
Visions of mountains and prairies so green.
Oh, this jungle, I so wish I'd never seen!

Life back home just has to be so serene,
Now to me, it's only just a dream.
Remote from the horror, their minds couldn't perceive.
Confused now, I don't know what to believe.

We are all heroes! Oh, how we can fight!
Yet our blood runs both day and night.
"For what, for what?" my spirit cries out!
No government official can respond to the shout.

"What atrocity?" you'll hear them ask.
In disbelief or disconcern their response will bask.
Their pockets are full from the wages of war;
Content, they close their ears to more.

At last, I can see some sparkling of hope,
Only a mere thirty days! Can I cope?
Home at last, but can't they even see
The pain and anguish hiding within me?

"It's okay, just leave it behind.
Get on with life and into the grind."
I feel tenseness and even guilt to bare
When an employer asks, "Were you over there?"

I served my country, well and with pride,
But now I feel like I must hide.
I'm not alone, many more have served.
Please be gentle, with judgments reserved.

Like you, we are people who have done a task.
Don't let our self esteem melt is all we ask.
We just want acceptance, for the life we've felt,
It's a bad hand we've been dealt.

With brotherly love, admiration for his courage, and a very deep sense of loss: to my best friend, Richard J. "Richie" Zisko, CPL, A Battery, 1/30 Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division, KIA 12 August 1969, LZ Becky, Tay Ninh Province, RVN.

© 1999 Ronald W. Carter



In the Trenches
by Stu Weber
You've probably heard the powerful story coming out of World War I on the deep friendship of two soldiers in the
trenches. Two buddies were serving together in the mud and misery of that wretched European stalemate (one version even identifies them as actual brothers).

Month after month they lived out their lives in the trenches, in the cold and the mud, under fire and under orders. From time to time one side or the other would rise up out of the trenches, fling their bodies against the opposing line and slink back to lick their wounds, bury their dead, and wait to do it all over again. In the process, friendships were forged in the misery.

Two soldiers became particularly close. Day after day, night after night, terror after terror, they talked of life,
of families, of hopes, of what they would do when (and if) they returned from this horror.

On one more fruitless charge, "Jim" fell, severely wounded. His friend, "Bill," made it back to the relative safety of the trenches. Meanwhile, Jim lay suffering beneath the night flares. Between the trenches. Alone. The shelling continued. The danger was at its peak. Between the
trenches was no place to be. Still, Bill wished to reach his friend, to comfort him, to offer what encouragement only
friends can offer.

The officer in charge refused to let Bill leave the trench. It was simply too dangerous. As he turned his back, however, Bill went over the top. Ignoring the smell of cordite in the air, the concussion of incoming rounds, and the pounding in his chest, Bill made it to Jim. Sometime later he managed to get Jim back to the safety of the trenches. Too late. His friend was gone.

The somewhat self-righteous officer, seeing Jim's body, cynically asked Bill if it had been "worth the risk. Bill's response was without hesitation. Yes, sir, it was,
he said. My friend's last words made it more than worth it. He looked up at me and said, 'I knew you'd come.




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, though you may or may not have always. Take 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 heroes you left behind.

MAJ Michael O'Donnell
KIA March 24, 1970
Dak To, Vietnam




"It is, in a way, an odd thing to" honor those who died in
defense of our country, in defense of us, in wars far away.

The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our mind as old and wise. We see them as something like the Founding Fathers, grave and gray-haired. But most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives, the one they were living and the one they would have lived.

When they died, they gaveup their chance to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers.

They gave up their chance to be revered old men.

They gave up everything for our country, for us. And all we can do is remember.

" --Ronald Reagan




BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling.

Really?" she heard "whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much!" were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam, and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature. The church was packed with his friends.

One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. She nodded a "yes". He said, "Mark talked about you a lot."

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

"We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded, and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

"Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it."

All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home."

Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album."

"I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary."

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her purse and showed her frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued, "I think we all saved our lists."

That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so great that many times we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be. So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important.

Tell them, before it is too late...

CPL EDWARD WARDYNSKI

550TH FA Battalion
KIA Germany 08 MAY 1945
(The last day of WW-II in the ETO)
Interred 14 SEP 1948
Rock Island National Cemetery, IL
Plot DO 190

SP4 RAYMOND CARL DAVIS
B/1/30


Lemay, Missouri
03 April 1947
03 February 1967
LZ DOG
Lam Dong Province
Panel 14E - Row 111

SGT HAROLD EUGENE LEE
B/1/30

Madisonville, Tennessee
14 October 1945
03 February 1967
LZ DOG
Lam Dong Province
Panel 14E - Row 112

1LT MORTON ELMER TOWNES, Jr.
B/1/30


Mobile, Alabama
31 October 1941
03 February 1967
LZ DOG
Lam Dong Province
Panel 14E - Row 115

PFC RUSSELL OLE LEDEGAR
B/1/30


LaCrosse, Wisconsin
14 June 1947
16 March 1967
Panel 14E - Row 093

1LT DARYL LEE LIGONS
HHB/1/30


Los Angeles, California
11 November 1944
26 December 1967
Helicopter Crash
Lam Dong Province
Panel 32E - Row 064

SP4 DAVID RUSSELL BOSWORTH
C/1/30


Skowhegan, Maine
10 October 1947
20 February 1968
Near PHU CAT
Binh Dinh Province
Panel 40E - Row 036



PFC JAMES WALKER GUEST
C/1/30


Levittown, Pennsylvania
07 April 1946
20 February 1968
Near PHU CAT
Binh Dinh Province
Panel 40E - Row 040

PFC DENNIS ERVIN MUSSMAN
SVC/1/30


Denver, Colorado
11 May 1949
23 February 1968
CAMP EVANS
Binh Dinh Province
Panel 40E - Row 077

SP4 JOHN SPURLOCK
SVC/1/30


Pekin, Illinois
28 October 1948
23 February 1968
CAMP EVANS
Binh Dinh Province
Panel 41E - Row 004

PFC WILLIAM HENRY WHITE
A/1/30


Chicago Heights, Illinois
06 July 1946
23 July 1968
DANANG
Binh Dinh Province
Panel 51W - Row 04
6

CPL JESSE BARRERA MONTEZ
A/1/30


San Antonio, Texas
14 February 1948
23 February 1969
FSB GRANT
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 31W - Row 013

SP4 THOMAS JOSEPH ROACH, Jr.
A/1/30


Royal Oak, Michigan
08 June 1949
08 March 1969
FSB GRANT
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 30W - Row 080

PFC GLENN ROBERT STAIR
A/1/30


Akron, Ohio
04 January 1948
08 March 1969
FSB GRANT
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 30W - Row 081

PFC ROY DEAN WIMMER
A/1/30


Whitewood, Virginia
22 April 1948
08 March 1969
FSB GRANT
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 30W - Row 083

SGT STEPHEN HARDER
HHB/1/30


Indianapolis, Indiana
18 November 1944
11 March 1969
LZ THOMAS, NUI BA RA
Phuoc Long Province
Panel 29W - Row009

SP4 ROGER EDWARD DENNY (Doc)
A/1/30


Mayna, Louisiana
13 July 1946
11 March 1969
FSB GRANT
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 29W - Row 006

PFC WHITNEY T. FERGUSON, III
A/1/30


Vernon, Connecticut
28 March 1946
11 March 1969
FSB GRANT
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 29W - Row 007

PFC MICHAEL JEROME GRUENWALD
A/1/30


Redfield, South Dakota
24 November 1943
11 March 1969
FSB GRANT
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 29W - Row 008

SGT JOHN RICHARD JACKSON
A/1/30


Paintsville, Kentucky
19 April 1949
11 March 1969
FSB GRANT
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 29W - Row 010

PFC TOMMY LEE ROBINSON
A/1/30


Daytona Beach, Florida
05 June 1949
11 March 1969
FSB GRANT
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 29W - Row 013

SP4 GERALD FRANK COULTHART
B/1/30


Hamilton, North Dakota
05 June 1947
28 April 1969
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 26W - Row 069

CPL DARRELL ELMER HARTMAN
A/1/30


Sioux Falls, South Dakota
01 October 1948
11 May 1969
FSB GRANT
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 25W - Row 049

SSG JOHN MARSHALL MOORE, Jr.
HHB/1/30


Emporia, Virginia
31 August 1936
09 June 1969
CAMP GORVAD
Binh Duong Province
Panel 22W - Row 004

SSG SAMUEL ABRAMS, Jr.
A/1/30


Tampa, Florida
25 June 1941
12 August 1969
FSB BECKY
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 19W - Row 007

PFC GREG ALLEN BARKER
A/1/30


Belleville, Michigan
11 May 1951
12 August 1969
FSB BECKY
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 19W - Row 008

SP5 JEREMIAH MICHAEL HAYES
A/1/30


Bay Head, New Jersey
19 July 1947
12 August 1969
FSB BECKY
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 19W - Row 015

PFC GARY LEE HOSKINS
A/1/30


Chouteau, Oklahoma
07 January 1949
12 August 1969
FSB BECKY
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 19W - Row 016

PFC WILLIAM THOMAS SMITH
A/1/30


Summerville, South Carolina
30 June 1948
12 August 1969
FSB BECKY
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 19W - Row 024

SP4 BOBBY LEE BEVARD
A/1/30


Santa Clara, California
20 April 1948
12 August 1969
FSB BECKY
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 19W - Row 00
8

SSG GEORGE EUGENE SNYDER
A/1/30


Ferndale, Michigan
12 July 1940
12 August 1969
FSB BECKY
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 19W - Row 024

CPT DONALD HERBERT WHITE
A/1/30


Lafayette, California
03 April 1937
12 August 1969
FSB BECKY
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 19W - Row 02
7

CPL RICHARD JOSEPH ZISKO
A/1/30


North Olmsted, Ohio
15 November 1947
12 August 1969
FSB BECKY
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 19W - Row 02
7

PFC FRANK CHARLES ARMIJO
A/1/30


Albuquerque, New Mexico
20 May 1951
15 August 1969
FSB JAMIE
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 19W - Row 043

PFC CHESTER LEON GOINS
A/1/30


Pasadena, California
24 May 1948
15 August 1969
FSB JAMIE
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 19W - Row 044

PFC FREDERICK HARRY BARRETT
A/1/30


Granada Hills, California
11 October 1949
06 September 1969
FSB JAMIE
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 18W - Row 045

SGT CHARLES RAY MOORE
A/1/30


Ferndale, Arkansas
21 January 1946
06 September 1969
FSB JAMIE
Tay Ninh Province
Panel 18W - Row 049

PFC ALBERT CHARLES POWELL
C/1/30


Luverne, Alabama
29 December 1944
24 April 1970
Binh Duong Province
Panel 11W - Row 047

CPT FRANK MARIO PASCARELLA
C/1/30


Chicago, Illinois
12 May 1938
28 July 1970
FSB ANDY, Quan Loi
Binh Long Province
Panel 08W - Row 062

SP4 LEWIS STEVEN HALL
C/1/30

Saratoga, California
18 July 1948
10 January 1971
Long Khanh, RVN
Panel 5W - Row 037

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