In Memory of
Terrence Joseph Kudro
Terry and I became good friends when we met at Ft. Lewis, WA prior to shipping out for SVN. In fact, we were even bunk mates...he had top bunk, I had the bottom. We spent a lot of time together, finding out about each others lives, families, friends. About as much as you could find out in a month.
On 10 July, 1967, we shipped out of Oakland harbor on the troop ship, the USNS Barrett for a 23 day "cruise" across the Pacific Ocean, with a stop in "beautiful" Subic Bay, Philippines. Terry and I had some great times on the ship. We became good friends with the Navy medics on board and they were our hosts in their quarters amidships. We played a lot of cards, ate a lot of good Navy food, got great snacks when others were hungry, and generally had a good time. I think between the 2 of us, we took a good share of the Navy's money.
After finally arriving in Vung Tau, and boarding LSTs to go ashore, we were in-processed and told we were going to be with a unit of the 25th Division, a regiment called the 4/9th Infantry (Manchus). Of course, at the time we had no idea what a "Manchu" was. After boarding a convoy from Vung Tau, we were sent to Cu Chi, home of the 25th Division and assigned to our new company, Delta, which was also a new addition to the 4/9th, having only had 3 companies until that time. Many veterans were moved from A, B, and C company to complement the many newbies arriving to form Delta. Many of the new guys were assigned to the other companies to take the veterans places.
Terry was assigned to be the Company Commander's Radio/Telephone Operator (RTO) and I was assigned as Delta Company Clerk. Terry's job was to maintain the radios in the rear while the company was on patrol and handle any and everything the Company Commander needed done. After having attended jungle orientation and getting qualified with the M16 as well as many other new weapons most of us had never seen, we became a unit.
On or about 28 August, 1967, Terry received a very upsetting letter from his girlfriend back home. It was the typical GI "Dear John" letter. She decided that after about 3 months of waiting, she could wait for him no longer and had found someone else at home. Terry was devastated. Soon after, the company was notified that they were to take part in an operation in an area known as the Horseshoe. Terry talked to the CO, and asked if he could join him in the field on this operation. He thought if he got away, he wouldn't have to think about his girlfriend at home. Since it was only supposed to be a short mission, and into territory that was presumed fairly safe, the CO told him yes.
Well, the rest is history. On 30 August 1967, Delta Company was ambushed in the Horseshoe, with many casualties, including my best friend Terry Kudro. How unfortunate the circumstances of his death. Especially since he didn't even have to be on that operation. Terry's body was recovered and it was my duty to identify him at Grave's Registration. What a detail that was. I also had the uncomfortable duty of sorting through his personal affects, sorting out military things from personal things to send home. Having to read personal mail (both to and from him), making the hard decision as to what could or should not be sent home. (This duty came into my hands far too many times during the year I was there).
I will always remember Terry as a fine person. Who always had something good to say and a smile on his face when he said it. Plus, he was a fine soldier. One I am proud to say I knew. And in the finest Manchu tradition...he lay down his life in the service of his country. There are many who ask the question "why"? The time will come when we all will understand. But, until that time, we can only be assured that he is looking down on all of us, and smiling. Knowing that he is remembered, and that all of us are dealing with our lives the best we can.
Terry, I love you man.
Your best friend