I remember a Sunday afternoon in the barracks and a discussion of the
movie "Cool Hand Luke" starring Paul Neuman. We debated the Egg Eating Feat of
Luke and decided to put his accomplishment to the test. Could our
hero (slightly modified rules) eat 20 hard boiled eggs in 30 minutes? Tom
assured us that he could. We approached the Mess Sergeant who agreed to supply
the eggs on the condition that he be present. Wagering was Heavy!
Twenty plus minutes and 14 eggs later Tom was forced to call for the
Wastepaper basket.--Good Try Tom, valient Effort!
After graduating we were all assigned to Basic Training Companies
for OJT as NCO's. When I read down the list of names of class members of 80th
Company Class 7-69 (Supplied by Leonard Russel NCOC Locator Web Page), The
only men I can remember are the ones that were subsequently assigned to the
same Training Company I was at Ft. Gordon, Ga.. I see of course Tom and myself
but also Sgt. Paul L.Gow, Sgt. David R. Hutto, and Sgt. Irvin F. Otto Jr.,
additionally I remember two other NCO's from Class 3-69 who were at Ft. Gorden
with us. They were SSGT. Willard J. Dufresne Jr. and SSgt. John Anthoney
LaPolla. Sergants Dufresne and LaPolla graduated at the top of their class and
were made Staff Sergants right out of NCO School. They also went to Jump
School as well and were "Airborne" the rest of us were "Legs". We were all
Platoon Sergeants except John LaPollo who was assistant to the Company First
Sergeant and as such was our immediate superior.
We worked long hours at Ft. Gordon but after hours we were free to go
where we pleased. Occasionally we would get together at the NCO club and kick
up our heels. On one occasion Sgt. Otto and I walked over to to the Club and
were joined later by Tom, and John. We all stayed longer than we should have.
Sgt. Otto and I left first and went back to the Company Area. A couple hours
later John came to my room to get me to help him with Tom. Tom had gotten sick
and was totally unable to walk. I remember well the two of us getting Tom out
of the car and helping him into the shower. We sat him up in the corner and
turning the water on. David Hutto I believe, was in the same barracks with Tom
and got him over and into bed. The next morning Tom was fine and there were no repercussions.
I recall Tom had a Volkeswagon Beetle that I drove on at least one
occasion. I had never driven a Beetle previously and have never driven one
since. I also remember meeting Tom's wife but I no longer remember her
I remember Tom as being an immediately likable fellow. Not big in
stature but a man that stood out in a crowd ... a guy you didn't forget.
I recall the shock and sadness I felt the day, in the jungles
of Tay Ninh, when I read Tom's name in the Army Times listing of KIAs.
Staff Sergeant John Anthony LaPolla had been killed the previous month with
the 82nd Airborne and Staff Sergeant Willard Dufresne Jr. was killed
five days after Tom. Sergeant Irvin F.Otto was a member of my Batalion in
Vietnam and was WIA the Summer of 69 before I could make contact with him.
I believe he is living in New Jersey. I hope to contact him soon.