2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment 1967-68



There are two national memorials to the soldiers who served in the Vietnam War - The Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) and The Three Soldiers Memorial.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall).

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated to honor the "courage, sacrifice and devotion to duty and country" of all who answered the call to serve during the longest war in U.S. history. Inscribed on the black granite walls are the names of more than 58,000 men and women who gave their lives or remain missing. This photo of The Wall is taken from the Three Soldiers Memorial.

The Three Soldiers Memorial

This is what the artist intended with the Three Soldiers Memorial: “I see the wall as a kind of ocean, a sea of sacrifice that is overwhelming and nearly incomprehensible in the sweep of names. I place these figures upon the shore of that sea, gazing upon it, standing vigil before it, reflecting the human face of it, the human heart. The portrayal of the figures is consistent with history. They wear the uniform and carry the equipment of war; they are young. The contrast between the innocence of their youth and the weapons of war underscores the poignancy of their sacrifice. There is about them the physical contact and sense of unity that bespeaks the bonds of love and sacrifice that is the nature of men at war. And yet they are each alone. Their strength and their vulnerability are both evident. Their true heroism lies in these bonds of loyalty in the face of their awareness and their vulnerability.”

Bravo Company Troopers at Memorial Ceremony

The troopers of Bravo Company conducted a memorial ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C., on May 4, 2012.

It is a difficult task to describe our feelings about this very moving ceremony to honor and remember our thirty-seven comrades who were Killed In Action (KIA) in Vietnam during the period July 1967- August 1968. This was one of those rare experiences where it was not only a great honor, but also a great privilege to have participated in this ceremony. It was a humbling experience, it was a highly emotional experience, and it was one of those memorable experiences that we will never forget and always cherish.

Prior to the ceremony, each trooper received a card with the name of one our 37 KIAs for use in the Roll Call. Two of these cards were marked with an X and the troopers drawing them had the honor of laying our wreath at The Wall. To make it easy to locate the name of a buddy on The Wall, everyone received a roster with the names of our 37 KIAs listed on The Wall and including the panel and line numbers.

We formed a horseshoe formation on the grassy knoll at the center of The Wall with elbow space between each trooper and with wives positioned a little to their rear. Pete Genecki was located on the right flank, Gene Hedberg was in the center with our Guidon, and Jim Beck was on the left flank so that he could move around taking photos.

Invocation by Pete Genecki

The ceremony started with the following invocation by Pete Genecki:

“Heavenly father, as we gather here today at this Memorial which honors so many, who gave their lives long ago, we wish to pay special tribute to the men of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry of the First Cavalry Division. We humbly ask that you grant our brothers, who were taken from this life much too young, eternal peace in your blessed presence. Dear God, grace the families burdened by the loss of their loved ones over four decades ago very far from home.
We also ask you, Lord, to continue to bless those who survived this war, including those gathered here this day. Help us to treasure the memories of our fallen friends and nurture the bonds forged in combat that are known only by soldiers. Also, bless our families who gave us their love and support from the time we left the comfort of our homes, through our return, to the present time.
God watch over and protect us during the remainder of our time here, and during our journey home. Grant us many more years to share the friendship and love you have graciously bestowed upon us, so that we may continue to honor the memory of our fallen brothers.
I would now ask that we take a moment of silence so that we may individually reflect on those we lost.
For this we pray, Almighty Father. Amen”

Remarks by Peter O’Sullivan

At the conclusion of the Invocation, Peter O’Sullivan made the following remarks and a copy of this speech was left at The Wall:

“Ladies , Gentlemen and Troopers of Bravo Company.
This Wall stands as a symbol of America's honor and recognition of two groups of heroes: those soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War and the over 58,000 soldiers who died in service or are listed as missing in action. It is very important to remember that this Wall is a Memorial to all those American soldiers who served in the Vietnam War, both the living and the dead. Thus it is a Memorial to our fallen comrades and to you who fought with them. As one Vietnam veteran declared, this Wall also symbolizes "the parade we never got".

We all bear the burdensome scars of war and close combat. After a long and difficult journey since our combat tour in Vietnam during 1967-68, we the troopers of Bravo Company have finally gathered here at The Wall to honor all those soldiers who lost their lives in Vietnam. In particular, we are here to honor and remember the sacrifice of thirty-seven courageous young men - our fallen friends, our brothers - who were killed in action while serving with us in Vietnam. We're here today because of the special bonds that bind us all together, both the living and the dead, these lifelong bonds that were forged on the battlefields in Vietnam. This bonding is the reason why these fallen troopers are our brothers, it is the reason why they have constantly been in our thoughts since 1967-68, and it is the reason why they will always be remembered by us. Like you, they answered the call to serve and they selflessly sacrificed their lives while doing their duty, and some while rescuing or protecting their buddies. We know that these brave troopers demonstrated unflinching courage during numerous bloody battles and although many of their heroic deeds went unrecorded, we witnessed them and we will always remember their courage and their heroic actions.

Bravo Company had an average foxhole strength of around 120 troopers and this included attached personnel. Thus 37 casualties represents a loss of over 30 percent of our unit during a period of one year. One reason for our many casualties was due to the fact that we were an airmobile company of the 1st Cavalry Division. As you all well know, the 1st Cavalry Division was the fire brigade for the northern region of Vietnam and we moved frequently to different areas to combat large-scale enemy units. Another reason for our high casualty figures is that we served during the peak of the Vietnam War and fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the war that included; the Battle of Dak To in November 1967, the Battle of Tam Quan in December 1967, the Tet Offensive starting in January 1968, the A Shau Valley Incursion during April and May of 1968, and the operations in the vicinity of the notorious and infamous Landing Zone Carol during July and August 1968. It was during these battles that we lost our 37 comrades whose names are engraved on this highly polished black granite Wall.

For combat veterans like you, this Wall serves as a place of healing. It is a place where we honor and remember our brothers who were killed in action. It is a place where you can say hello or goodbye to them, where you can shed a few tears, say a prayer or whisper a message. And let me close with this message from all of us to our 37 fallen brothers and this message is based on a note that President Reagan left at this Wall twenty-four years ago:

"Our young friends -- yes, young friends, for in our hearts you will always
be young, full of the love that is youth, love of life, love of joy, love of
country -- you fought for your country and for its safety and for the
freedom of others with strength and courage. We love you for it. We honor
you. And we have faith that, as He does all His sacred children, the Lord
will bless you and keep you, and give you peace, now and forever more."

The Three Soldiers

At the conclusion of his remarks, Peter O’Sullivan started the Roll Call of our 37 heroes, our 37 brothers, by reading the KIA name on his card. This was the cue for Pete Genecki to read his KIA name, then the next trooper and so on down the line to Jim Beck.

After we completed the Roll Call, Jim Beck passed the wreath to the trooper on his right and it continued up the line to Pete Genecki. The wreath was carried forward and placed in front of The Wall by Jim Bakich and Steve Gordon.

A beautiful wreath of red and white carnations, representing the cavalry colors.

After the wreath was laid in front of The Wall, Bravo troopers saluted and the bugler played Taps. Taps caused many damp eyes because the melody is both eloquent and haunting, and moves all who hear it.

The Bugler, Sergeant Todd Taylor

Following our memorial ceremony, Jim Smith gathered the Blackfoot troopers to honor and remember their two platoon comrades who were killed in action during the A Shau Valley operation, Dempsey Parrott and David Shultz. In particular, Jim Smith repeated the following words that he had used on that fateful day, May 4th,1968, before the bodies of Dempsey and David were evacuated by helicopter:

I am only one, but I am one
I cannot do everything
But I can do something
What I can do, I ought to do
And what I ought to do
By the grace of God I will do

Jim Smith went on to say how the deaths of Dempsey Parrott and David Shultz had deeply troubled him throughout his life and in memory of these two heroes, he read the above to his graduation class every year with the hope that they would also be inspired by these powerful words.

Jim Smith’s Blackfoot Ceremony at The Wall

Finally everyone received a carnation for laying beside the wreath or at The Wall panel of a buddy. After spending 45 minutes at The Wall, you could see 37 carnations spread out at all the panels containing the names of our fallen comrades.

Gary Stine, John Casey, Gerry Larson, Holly and Bob Hall placing carnations at The Wall

Jim Beck placing carnations and copies of invocation and speech at The Wall

The Wall and Washington Monument at Night




This site is powered by http://www.milonic.com http://www.milonic.com/removelink.php