Let Us Not Forget.....
Andy Wahrenbrock was the medic and Eddy Schultz was the radio man, both California boys; they were together 24/7 in the jungles of the Dau Tieng area of Vietnam and became fast friends. It was the first months of 1968. They had survived the TET offensive. But soon after, on March 4th, my uncle only three years my senior, Edward August Schultz, was killed in a firefight, an ambush, in Hoc Mon.
Two days ago was Memorial Day, a day that Andy and I both always remember Eddy, not that I don't think about him at some point on most days. After all, I followed him around the farm most weekends and many summer days of my growing up years. He had the patience of a saint with his eleven nieces and nephews who weren't too much younger than he was.
Andy published the following compilation of quotes in a newspaper, The Bakersfield Californian, to commemorate Memorial Day and I'd like to share them here:
“We were the children of the 1950s and John Kennedy’s young stalwarts of the early 1960s. He told the world that Americans would 'pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship' in the defense of freedom. We were the down payment on that costly contract, but the man who signed it was not there when we fulfilled his promise. John Kennedy waited for us on a hill in Arlington National Cemetery, and in time we came by the thousands to fill those slopes with our white marble markers and ask on the murmur of the wind if that was truly the future he had envisioned for us.” — Joseph Galloway, from the prologue of his book "We Were Soldiers and Young," co-authored by Col. Hal Moore “I crawled over the bodies, all still. The 1st platoon just doesn’t exist anymore. One guy had his arm blown off. There was only some shredded skin and a piece of bone sticking out of his sleeve.” — PFC Jack Smith, son of noted ABC news anchor Howard K. Smith. LZ Albany, the IA Drang Valley, Vietnam, November 1965
“When you give death, you give your own life — every time.” — Janet Morris, author
“Dead Marines and NVA still littered the ground, lying in grotesque, macabre positions. Stiff cold hands could be seen raised toward the sky in supplication, asking to be taken to a place of peace.” — PFC Dave Gustafson 1st Platoon, M Co, 1st Marines at Bing Son, April 21, 1967
Einstein Once Said That God Doesn’t Roll Dice Those of Us That Have Walked Into the Ambush Kill Zone Know That in the Minutes after the First Shot Rings Out God and the Devil Himself Do — Andy Wahrenbrock, Bakersfield veteran and amateur poet
“I started out with 123 men, and by the time I got through the village I was down to 41.” — Capt. Jay Vargas, 4th Marines at Dai Do, Vietnam, May 1968
“You count up your dead, every one. Always. Recall them, each and all — every face, every heart.” — Janet Morris, author
“If you are able, save for them a place inside you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the place 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 left and what they may have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And in time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace these gentle heroes you left behind.” — Major Michael D. O’Donnell at Dak To, Vietnam, 1970