16 March 2012

Richard C. Schoenberg

His name came to me in another of those "wee hour revelations" as I was more asleep than awake...
Richard C. Schoenberg.

We were not supposed to lie, cheat, steal, or quibble.
This is the Officer Candidate's Creed.
But here I was, faced with a dilemma...
One of my "additional duties" as a candidate was to act as "Fire Marshal". The only thing about this duty that amounted to a hill of beans was that I had to do a monthly check of all the fire extinguishers in our company and insure their inspections were current and the CO2 extinguishers were properly pressurized. (Some of the extinguishers were of the old, water-filled type you had to pump.) Playing around, Richard was accompanying me on my rounds and had pulled one of these water-pump type extinguishers off the wall and had hosed me down with it.
It was inopportune that almost immediately after soaking me our Tac Officers called us to a company formation.

So here I am standing next to Richard, front and center of the platoon, looking like a drowned rat. The Tac Officer approached me and asked, "Who did this to you?"
And I lied...
"I don't know, sir."
Raised eyebrow... stern look...
"I'll ask one more time Candidate. Who did this to you?"
To myself I think, "Heck, here I am ALMOST finished with this torture and I'm gonna be forced out for lying over something so stupid?!!!"
"I'm not sure, sir."

Loyalty counts for something. This Tac was a good guy and realized he had backed me into a corner where I would have to rat on a fellow candidate. I fully expected him to ask me one more time, then tell me to pack my bags.
But he didn't.
He turned and walked away. I couldn't believe it.
Both Richard and I breathed a sigh of relief.

This is the memory that came floating back to me at about 0430 hours a few mornings ago.
And the name was clear... Richard Schoenberg.
I remember Richard SO well. He had been a (volunteer?) firefighter before joining the ARMY. He had a '61 Oldsmobile Starfire that he loved. He was amazed at the power of the American LaFrance fire truck he had gotten the chance to drive.
Odd memories of a guy I hadn't seen or talked to since 1967.

So I googled his name.

Sadly, this is what I found.


Rita said...

Online, there's no ability to express a bowing of the head as a sign of respect. Imagine there is and this is it.

Old NFO said...

Absent Comrades... All I can say... "Something" brought him up, who knows what/why...

CnC said...

hats of to a true American hero.

Ed Bonderenka said...

Of course, if you had not made that difficult decision, he might never had been able to pursue that path, that dream, that contribution.
If we honor his commitment, we should honor your contribution to the effort in this regard, (besides your own service).
We rarely find the consequences of our "minor" decisions to be so consequential.
Thank you.

OlePrairiedog said...

I remember Richard, He was one of the good classmates,and a pretty good guy. Thanks for sharing.

Greybeard said...

I think the penalty for what he did wouldn't have been a big deal Ed... horseplay was considered Esprit D' Corps. So I can't/won't take credit for protecting him and helping him graduate.
I'm just bummed to find another of my acquaintances, a great guy that had two tours in Viet Nam (and lead infantry units even though he went to Armor OCS), is no longer with us. How exciting it would have been to call him after remembering his name so clearly!