Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Day 158, July 3

My thoughts as Independence Day approaches are, for some reason, focused on the Viet Nam era.  I came of age during that era and was shamefully ignorant about what was going on.  In an effort to atone for that, I found the following information.  Perhaps you will find it as interesting as I did.

Two groups of soldiers serving in Viet Nam stood out:

The Marines of Morenci  led some of the scrappiest high school  football and basketball teams the little Arizona copper town of
Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of  Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service  began on Independence Day, 1966. Only three returned home.

The Buddies of Midvale  included LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales, all boyhood friends.  They lived on three consecutive streets in  Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field ... and they all went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the  fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was killed assaulting  the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

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