The year was 1968
The Vietnam War was in full force. soldier was just turning 21 years old.
It was only 1 short year ago that he had graduated from high school in Winston Salem, NC.
He got a summer job at Hanes Knitwear and sang in a garage band.
He had a girlfriend.
He was a member of the local Urban Street Baptist Church.
But, he knew all of this was temporary, the letter would come. Just as it had come to all his other buddies.
And soon it did. Uncle Sam needed him in the Army.
Basic Training, AIT and now he was in The Military Police stationed at Camroon Bay in the country of Vietnam.
It was dangerous to be sure, but not the most dangerous in the military. Days were spent
standing guard over prisoners. Walking the perimeters, boarding boats and searching huts looking for contraband and riding patrols.
In a war like Vietnam, you are never sure which side the locals are on.
The friendly face of an old woman may be hiding the stash of weapons that will be used to kill you tomorrow. The smiles from the kid you gave the candy bar to could be hiding an IED or smuggling the stuff to make a land mine that will blow your legs off.
On this particular evening, the job was riding night patrol. There was extra tension in the camp because of a step up in the raids and fire fights. But somehow you get used to that too.
The soldier prepares to go out; two men in a jeep, one driving one at the gun on lookout, ready for whatever happens next. But, an interuption, a fellow soldier whom I'll call "G" comes up and asks if you will switch patrols with him. He'll ride my husbands place tonight, Don will take his place in the morning patrols.
So, G is in Don's seat tonight and Don will take his place tomorrow am.
Cool, extra time, hangout, read letters, listen to music, catch some zzzzz's.
Hey, whats going on, Whats all the excitement" An Attack? Land mines? Calling the patrols in? Someone was blown up? Did he die? Which one? Who? Who?
It was "G". My husband couldn't believe what had just happened.
"G" had died. He was riding in Don's place on Don's patrol.
No one but God could have known what would happen that day.
It wasn't Don's fault, It wasn't G's fault.
It just happened.
But today I will remember "G" and Thank God for Don !