13 Jan 47 -- 10 Sep 67

2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon, India Company
3rd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.

"For the Fallen" September 1914 Robert Laurence Binyon Your eternal friend, Mike Rummel

Note: Readers interested in knowing more about the battles which occurred in "Ambush Valley" from 7-10 September, 1967, near Con Thien, Vietnam, are invited to read:

"Ambush Valley," by Eric Hammel, Presidio Press (1990), particularly Chapters 12-18.

"Lima-6," by Colonel R.D. Camp Jr. with Eric Hammel, Pocket Books (1989), particularly Chapters 11-16.

My high school buddy, PFC Woodrow "Woody" Charles Cronkrite, USMC, at the age of 20, was killed in action (KIA) at about 1600 Hours, 10 September, 1967, near Con Thien, Vietnam. He was a member of 2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment.

I was a transfer student from Pennsylvania in the Fall of 1960 when I first attended 8th grade at Suitland Junior High School, Suitland, Maryland. I knew no one except a cousin, a year younger.

I met teachers and students through the normal course of the school year. Woody learned of me from a mutual teacher. He approached me, befriended me, helped me feel welcomed, and became an unofficial sponsor of sorts for the remainder of the year.

We were never more than casual friends, but that simple act of kindness stayed with me through the years. When I learned of his death, I was shocked and saddened. Ever since, my mind has returned often to our first meeting and our last class together in Mr. Jack's Senior English at Suitland Senior High School.

Woody wanted to be a writer. His writings were destroyed in a fit of anger at his death, an understandable, but regrettable act. Over the years, Woody, for me, has come to symbolize the loss of so many promising youth from our generation, who gave their lives in service to their country. I am reminded of the 19 May, 1991, "Funky Winkerbean" cartoon strip, wherein the following monologue takes place as two alumni look at class pictures on the wall of their alma mater:

"I was just thinking about a couple of kids from our school who
went over to Vietnam and never made it back.

"I remember one in particular who was a pretty talented artist with
a promising career in front of him ...

"and I began to wonder how many paintings will never be seen,
songs will never be heard, and books will never be read ...

"because of wars yet to come ..."

Woody was with 3/26 only a few weeks before his death. Most of his time in-country was with MAG-16. His return addresses were usually:

MAG-16, Zulu Company (Nov 66 - early 67)
MAG-16 Forward, Khe Sanh, MATCU 62

(about May 67 until his transfer to 3/26 on 30 Aug, 67)

Semper Fidelis,
Mike Rummel

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