Rumors travel like wildfire.
The rumor I heard was troubling, believable, but false.
The truth... absolutely floored me!
I wrote earlier about attending Officer's Candidate School...
a very intense six month course intended to teach young men leadership skills, educate them on tactics and the equipment they'd use to accomplish their mission, while weeding out those unable to handle the physical and mental stress of combat. Candidates were VERY busy learning what they needed to learn while constantly being stressed in as many ways possible by the Tactical Officers. I think OCS, as was intended, turned out good leaders in a short period of time.
I'm not sure anyone made what could be called "close friends" during the course. Candidates formed alliances with guys they were comfortable with, but you didn't have time to sit and chat and learn another Candidate's life story. Going to school, physical fitness training, studying, polishing brass, shining shoes, and waxing and buffing the floor are the kinds of activities that took up most of our time.
We graduated and pinned on our "Butterbars", then went our separate ways. The ARMY is a small world so now and then you'd run into a classmate and catch up on his news, then share your news and what you knew about other classmates.
I liked Bobby Poxon but didn't know him well.
He didn't look old enough to be in OCS. (He was actually a few days older than me.) Blonde haired, handsome, brilliant smile...
To me he seemed quiet... didn't barge in where he wasn't invited, but would readily respond when prodded. He was an all-around good guy.
It wasn't long after I returned from Viet Nam that I heard he was dead. The rumor I heard was that he had been extracted from a hot LZ via McGuire Rig, and somehow he had fallen 1500 feet into the jungle below. The rumor was that his body was not recovered. It's another of those stories that make you shake your head about the waste of wonderful young men in a poorly managed war.
And now... "The REST of The Story"!
Once again it's through the internet that I learn the truth.
The Old Man sent me a link to "The Virtual Wall".
For folks interested in those that were killed in my war, there is enough information there to keep you occupied for a long, long time. Casualties are listed alphabetically by State and City, by last name, by date, by battle, and other ways.
It's truly an amazing site.
I entered "Poxon" there and found Bobby's name.
I clicked there, and what I found struck me like a thunderbolt.
Give me a while.
It'll take some time to make the adjustment from rumor to reality.