By: William L. Reynolds
Greetings, it’s an honor to share this stage with men that I genuinely admire. It’s with somber affection to be before this magnificent Memorial Wall, and before you, this fine community, my family – my beautiful Mom – and so many wonderful friends. But for the Grace of God, my name would be inscribed on this black granite wall along with so many of my fellow buddies.
Many thanks to Chuck Morris and Mayor Bob Kellar for their outstanding leadership in bringing this Wall to the City of Santa Clarita…. thank youCity and all of the wonderful volunteers who are making this happen.
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Becoming a combat Veteran began that earth-shattering day on April 30, 1966, at age 19 when I received a life changing letter. Greeting: You are hereby ordered for induction into the Armed Forces of the United States, and to report to the Los Angeles Examining and Induction Station on May 17, 1966 at 7:30am. Can you imagine young men today receiving such a letter?
So with nervous anticipation I entered the Army along with hundreds of other fellas from this region, some are here today. We trained together and six months later we arrived in the combat zone via a WWII troop ship.
Throughout 1967 during numerous patrols in the Mekong Delta’s treacherous swamps, rice paddies and jungles, we constantly dodged enemy bullets, rockets, land mines, and booby traps. If the enemy didn’t get you, the stinking rotten terrain and harsh climate surely would.
It was on June 19, 1967 that my closest call came…. we were pinned down by heavy automatic weapon and sniper fire. Men were hit all around me – several med-evac helicopters were shot down. While firing my grenade launcher, a sniper’s bullet blasted a hole through its barrel narrowly missing my head. Tragically, our heroic medic, Bill Geier was mortally wounded next to me while tending to our wounded – I desperately tried to save his life but it was not to be. After being pinned down all day our company commander ordered us to assault enemy positions across a narrow stream which finally ended the battle.
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When it was over, 250 Viet Cong fighters lay dead however it was extremely costly for we had lost 47 brave troopers that one horrific day along with countless more wounded.
Our exploits are documented in “The Boy’s of ‘67”, a book by Dr. Andrew Wiest which tells our extraordinary story… additionally, National Geographic is creating a 2 hour HD documentary for TV, “Brothers in War”, which is based on Dr. Wiest’s book and it’s due out in March 2014.
We never forget our fallen and to honor our June 19th heroes I will now read their names – 47 brave soldiers, so please bear with me in silence.
Source: Santa Clarita News