Dave R. Kingsbury, KIA Vietnam

May 19, 2019

 

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old; age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.  At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them."

  - R.L. Binyon, Sept. 1914, written for the fallen

 

Jeannie Morrison was a blonde, pig-tailed six-year-old when she first met Dave Kingsbury who was a handsome teenager.  She called him Royce, his middle name, because his father was also named Dave.  She remembers that he gave her horseback rides and let her ride in his jeep.  She felt like he "hung the moon."

 

Dave Royce Kingsbury is remembered by many in San Luis Obispo because he came to Cal Poly, first as an ROTC student in 1952, with a major in Animal Husbandry, and later returned as an instructor.  He was a member of the first ROTC graduating class at Cal Poly in 1955.  As a student, he was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity.  

 

Dave, who was always called Royce, was born in Ventura, CA on August 13, 1931 to Dave and Ruth Kingsbury.  He was raised in Long Beach until his family moved to Oklahoma.  His home of record - the time of his enlistment into the Army- was Sunset Lake, Oklahoma. 

 

After college graduation, Royce left for officer's basic infantry class in Benning, Georgia, then had two tours of duty in Korea and Germany before returning to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, as an instructor in the Military Science Department. While in Germany, he met and married his wife, Heidi.  They had three children,  Dana, Reid and Dean. 

 

At Cal Poly, Royce was advisor to the ROTC drill team and was promoted to Major. For some reason, I guess because he was a dedicated military man, he chose to leave Cal Poly and volunteered to go to Vietnam, arriving there on July 30, 1966. He was the Operations Officer for HHC, 2nd Battalion, 12th Calvary, 1st Calvary Division. He almost made it home. His tour of Vietnam duty would have ended 19 days after he was killed on July 11, 1967. He was a passenger (not a crew member) on a UH-1D helicopter when it crashed into a mountain in Kontum Province, South Vietnam. There were no witnesses but enemy fire was suspected. He had given 12 years of service to the Army. His death, at 35 years old, left three children fatherless and his wife, Heide, a widow.

 

The father of my friend, Peggi Carscaden, was a Colonel in the same department at Cal Poly as Royce and taught alongside him. It was a sad loss to him when his co-worker was killed in Vietnam.  Afterwards, Peggi remembers that  her mother was a support to Mrs. Kingsbury since she had no family here; her family was in Germany.  Peggi remembers when Mrs. Kingsbury would come to their house with the youngest boy while the older two were in school. 

 

His former students remember him this way: dedicated, determined, knowledgeable, caring, motivating, had a can-do attitude, gave good advice, and was an excellent military history teacher.

 

One of his students remembered,  "he was small in stature but very big in personality and professionalism." Another said,  "...if his life hadn't been lost, he would have been a great military leader."  

 

Dave Royce Kingsbury, people still mention your name here in San Luis Obispo. You are not forgotten, you were a brave soldier.  Rest in peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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