03 February 2010

The Light Blue Ribbon. The One With All The Stars..

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.


jinksto said...

Wow. I've only seen one CMH recipient in my life and I didn't know him... just saw him. It's an amazing experience even meeting guys like this. I can't imagine what it would be like to have served with one.

jinksto said...

Thanks for the reminder. I actually met a Medal of Honor recipient once... for about 30 seconds and had the extreme honor of saluting his medal. Very very cool.

jinksto said...

Apparently I shouldn't post comments before 0600. Sorry about the double post. :) Ouch and I called it a CMH too. I blame lack of coffee.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Medal of Honor. Wow.


cj said...

I am constantly amazed by the people who win the Medal of Honor. Their actions are unbelievably heroic yet, if you were to ask them, they would say it was nothing. Anyone would do it. It's my experience that no, 'anyone' wouldn't do it.

I'm glad you went looking, GB.


clint said...

What an AMAZING story.
Thanks for sharing GB. It is so humbling to know what guys like this have done in small God-forsaken countries for the sole reason that it was their Duty.

I'm humbled.

Flamingo 91 said...

Take a long while Greybeard. Bobby's courage and sacrifice will never be forgotten. I've visited the Virtual Wall also, and feel your pain. No words can express...

emily said...

If only I have the courage to lead from the front if ever given the opportunity. There is a reason we honor our heroes.