Bobby Lynn EatonLance Corporal
I CO, 3RD BN, 3RD MARINES, 3RD MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
06 March 1947 - 07 August 1966
Panel 09E Line 108
The database page for Bobby Lynn Eaton
I was at work when I opened the local newspaper and saw where Bobby was killed in Vietnam. I was overwhelmed. Bobby was the first of my age range to be killed in Vietnam that I knew. Suddenly the Vietnam War was real and not something I saw on the news or read in the paper. I remember I dismissed myself and went to the bathroom and really broke down.
I had known Bobby since junior high school. We both played in the band at Bowie Junior High School. When we started high school, he went to Permian and I to Odessa High.
Bobby was a gentle guy, auburn red hair, buck teeth, quiet and unassuming. He never bothered anybody and from the first that I knew him, I knew he wanted to be a Marine.
He joined right out of high school, June 1965. I ran across Bobby just before he went to Vietnam. It was in a pool hall. He came over to me and told me he was headed to Vietnam. He wasn't the first of my friends to go, but he was the first not to come back.
I am 56 years old now, a month younger than what Bobby would have been. I have no more tears for my old friends who died there and I am not bitter. I am empty, a void that I feel for those that didn't come home, who never had a chance to find love, to have families or to complete a life. I served in Vietnam in 1968-69 in the U.S. Army. I came home.
When Bobby died, I had the honor of being a pall bearer. It was terrible. Bobby's mother took it really bad. I remember the Marine Honor Guard/Escort, who told me later he would rather go back to combat that to serve as a escort again. Bobby is buried at Sunset Memorial Gardens close to the other Odessan's who died in Vietnam. He is within a few feet of two Medal of Honor recipients, one a classmate of his at Permian, Marvin Rex Young and also near Alfred Mac Wilson, a fellow Marine and recipient of the Medal of Honor.
Bobby has younger twin brothers that I have known since his death. One of the twins has never talked about it and avoids it. I was only able to get his other brother to talk about it a year or so ago, when I ran into him. He now lives out of Odessa.
From a friend and home-town acquaintance,
I became friends with Bobby Eaton in the 10th grade when we both became charter members of Interact Club, a Rotary Club sponsored club at Permian High School in Odessa, TX. Bobby was an energetic and warm human being. He loved his family and Permian and enjoyed the civic projects our Interact Club performed. One of these included projects was a renovation of Prairie Pete Public Park in Odessa. We also alternated with Key Club in raising and lowering the US Flag during school days and we also assisted in the Color Guard at home football games.
Bobby enjoyed life and had a good outlook on his future. He had a strong desire to make a difference and was very patriotic. He had decided to join the Marine Corps upon graduation from Permian at a time less than one year after the Gulf of Tonkin incident. We really didn't know a lot about Vietnam during that time and I can't ever remember it being discussed in school. During the summer of 1965 when Bobby was in training, President Johnson made the first big commitment of troops. Bobby and his fellow Marines in training were some of the first to be called for the troop build-up.
During that same summer, I joined the Marine Corps and started training in the fall. Bobby was at my graduation from boot camp in November, 1965 and we spent the afternoon together. He told me then how proud he was to be a Marine and to have the chance to help provide freedom to the Vietnamese people. He also told me that should he not return alive he wanted his family to know that he loved them, his country and the Corps. He was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice if necessary.
I had just married and was in school in Memphis when I got the news from my parents that Bobby had been killed in Vietnam. The Marine Corps would not let me escort Bobby home from Vietnam to home or let me go to Odessa for the funeral as I was in the middle of aviation electronics school in Memphis and they were trying to fill troop requirements for Vietnam. I went to Vietnam in November of 1967 and returned home in December of 1968. In 1969 I stopped in Odessa and visited with Mrs. Eaton, Gerald, Barry and Larry. They were all gracious and warm in receiving me. Wearing my Class "A" uniform, I went to the cemetery where Bobby was buried, left some flowers, and rendered a final salute to my friend and fellow Marine who will always be a hero to me.
From a friend,
God Bless. Thank you. Rest in peace.
Captain William F. Lee
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
a friend and home-town acquaintance,
Billy M. Brown
4015 Melody Lane, Odessa, Texas 79762
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 8 Jan 2004
Last updated 07/10/2006