buddy system, but we decided to wait for the draft because it was only a two-year
commitment. Jim and I were both drafted on May 17, 1966, went to Fort Ord for seven days and then to Fort Riley, Kansas as the 9th Infantry Division was reactivated for training and then service in Viet Nam. Jim ended up in A Company and I went to C Company in the 4th Battalion of the 47th Infantry. Jim really excelled in the Army and he immediately became a squad leader in Basic Training. He was still that when we disembarked from the troop ship, General John Pope in Vung Tau Harbor, South Viet Nam on February 1, 1967.
Patrolling near the rubber plantations outside of Camp Bear
Cat on February 21, 1967, Jim was killed by a Viet Cong booby trap. He was the first fatality of the 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. I can still remember that day so vividly. My platoon, the 2nd Platoon, was also on patrol when I heard about A Company casualties - it was my first operation as a Radio Telephone Operator, hence I was monitoring radio communications. When we returned to Camp Bear Cat that evening, a friend, Jim Weingardner, informed me that my life long best friend Jim had been killed. I was shocked!
Jim was such a great friend and an excellent, dedicated
soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. It's really too bad that more people do not recognize the sacrifices that were made in Viet Nam.
Jim's best friend forever,