Sunday, May 25, 2014

He Died While Serving Us All!

I am a graduate of Esther High School, Esther, Missouri. There were 53 people in my graduating class and about 300 in our entire school. I knew everyone in our graduating class, the entire school, and in some cases was related to them.

Out of those 53 students two were killed in Vietnam. I toured the Interactive Vietnam Veterans Memorial and found one of them, Delbert Reese, the boy who sat next to me in Mrs. Simmons' English class.

He was very shy, at least around me. He had a great laugh and a brilliant smile. I remember him as always being happy. We both belonged to the Scribblers Club, the club for writers, and had been in the school play together.

School in a small town during the sixties was very different than it is today. I remember Mrs. Simmons sent Delbert home from school with a note to his parents. He wasn't to come back to school until he got a hair cut. He was sporting a Fonzy hairdo and the twist hung down to his nose and covered his eyes. He went home, he got a buzz cut, he didn't object, his parents didn't object, and he returned to school. Could that happen today?

I looked back through my yearbook and wondered, "Was I ever really that young?" And then I looked at Delbert, who will be that young forever. For his sacrifice he deserves so much more than this simple blog post, so I am very grateful we have the Vietnam Memorial and that his name is there.

This is Delbert's yearbook photo and the activities listed for him:

Scribblers Club 2 yrs., Vice President 1 yr.
Science Club 2 yrs.
Paper Staff 1 yr.
Tennis 3 yrs.
Senior High Play 1 yr.
County Chorus 1 yr.

This is the photo of his name on the Vietnam Memorial

Full Name: Reese, Delbert Leon
Rank: Specialist Fourth Class
E4, Medical Specialist (ARMY)
Hometown: Esther
Home State: MO
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Baptist – Other Groups
Marital Status: Single
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 1947-08-21
Tour Start Date: 1967-08-ll
Casualty Date: 1968-02-02
Death Date: 1968-02-02
Age: 20
Casualty Type: Hostile, Died
Died of: Guns, Small Arms Fire
Ground Air Sea: Ground Casualty
Body Recovered: Recovered
Country: South Vietnam
Province: Not available
Service: Army
Enlistment Type: Selective Service
Years Served: 1
Major Command: 4th Inf. Div.
Company D Co.
Battalion: 1st Bn

All of your classmates miss you and are very proud of you!