Vaughn McIlrathq, Vietnam veteran
Monterey, CA, USA
This is from Nov. 1999:
Last night I indulged in the web and was cruising britannica.com and a site called "the wall on the web" -- a listing of people killed in Vietnam.
I looked for a guy from my Seabee battalion who was shot while driving a jeep. His last name was Comer, and I found his name and data.
While searching the "C's" I noticed "Cone, John Milton" from Independence, IA. We used to call him "Uncle Milty" because he was such a lumbering galumphus - a forestry major who lived in my dorm 'house' at Iowa State. He grew up on a chicken farm, and he caught grief for that. He was killed at the age of 26. Multiple fragmentation wounds. Tay Ninh Province, First Cavalry.
That shook me up.
Then I filtered the list for people from Iowa and scrolled through it. Got all the way to the "P's" and found "Petticord, Donald Glenn". He graduated with me as another of the first group of 8 or so to graduate in the Engineering Operations Construction degree program (later to become Construction Engineering). We studied together in several classes during about a three-year period. He lived for another seven months after I last saw him. He was 25 years. Small arms fire, Gia Dinh Province.
So here I am, sitting in front of my computer. I'm 55 years, alive, angry and sad. What a waste. I wish their lives had mattered for more.