On Sunday (Memorial Day weekend) our Preacher asked me to tell about any veteran that I knew that had been killed in combat. I told the congregation about the greatest Mess Sergeant the Army ever had---SFC Pearce, B Btry 8/4. He was not a "Dining Facility Manager" running a "Dining Facility"! He was a Mess Sergeant!! Some of you will remember him and his story. Close to the end of his tour, he took a re-enlistment leave (he had a new grandchild he had never seen) and went home. The Army told him that since he did not have enough time left in country, he would not return. SFC Pearce told them that they did not understand-----he had his troops to feed and his replacement was not on board yet---he made his re-enlistment contingent upon returning to VN, which he did.
My tour was at end (and my replacement was on board). LTC Kulick deadlined my jeep the last week I was there (too many stories about mines blowing up people the last few days they were in country) and told me I could use his helicopter to visit all the Batteries and tell the troops goodbye---he knew I had the best jeep in the the Bn, thanks to my ace jeep driver, Spoon Thompson, but he wouldn't listen to me. So I took the chopper to the batteries---visited B Btry at C-1 (or 2) last. The troops had built SFC Pearce a "Mess Hall" with sand bags, etc----he asked them to do it----it was, of course, for them. I hugged SFC Pearce and thanked him for taking such good care of his troops (he was Papa, Mama, and Mess Sergeant to them). I left.
Shortly after I got home, I got a sad letter from the Bn (I think the S-1, Cpt. Art Mulligan) that just days before SFC Pearce was to DEROS, a rocket scored a direct hit on the Mess Hall and killed SFC Pearce and the new B Btry 1st Sgt Pedro De Hererra (8 kids as I remember). SFC Pearce is the kind of soldier I always think about on our holidays.