Rocky Pearson O'HamSpecialist Four
HHC, 1ST BN, 77TH ARMOR, 5 INF DIV
Army of the United States
18 August 1951 - 08 May 1970
Kinston, North Carolina
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The database page for Rocky Pearson O'Ham
ROCKY O'HAM, a name that seems to have a special ring to it. A name I will never forget, yet it belongs to a person I really never got to know. You see, Rocky transferred to the 5th Infantry Division from a unit in Germany, if I remember right he said he volunteered for the transfer. He ended up in the HHC Scout Platoon. I was working on my second tour in Vietnam, my first year was spent with the 1st Infantry Division. Rocky and I were around the same age, in the same platoon, involved in the same mission. That mission turned out to be fatal for Rocky and life threatening for several others. Rocky had just arrived at Headquarters Co., it seems he couldn't have been there more than a few days when we were given the assignment to take a patrol out near the village of Quang Tri.
It was extremely hot that day, we never really knew what the temperature was most of the time other than it was well into the 100s. I guess we never really cared, we were there and would deal with it. We were a mechanized infantry platoon and for most missions we were mounted on M113s, a tracked vehicle. That day we would travel to an area with suspected enemy activity on our tracks, dismount and patrol on foot an area along a small stream. The terrain was rolling hills, somewhat dry, except for the growth along the stream bank. It didn't appear that we were following a well traveled trail or an area that we would be suspicious of any type of ambush. There was some distance to cover before we reached an area that we thought might be a good area for enemy concealment. The column was about 8 or 10 of us spread out several meters apart. I was in the middle of the column carrying the radio for the Lieutenant. Rocky was up front with the first 2 or 3 along with our Kit Carson scout, a local Vietnamese from the area who never liked walking point. It seemed several had passed by the point of the explosion before it went off covering the front 5 or 6 in the patrol with shrapnel, dirt, and each other's blood. I remember the person behind me was hit and the LT in front of me. The blood I was covered in did not belong to me, I did not receive a scratch. The medic worked his way to the front of the column, when I got there he was working on Rocky. If I remember right he began giving him CPR, which makes me think the instant of the explosion was fatal for Rocky. Because we were just outside of Quang Tri the medivac choppers arrived in a matter of minutes. I remember helping load Rocky and I think 3 others on the medivac. I finished out my tour with the Scout Platoon never hearing from anyone on the other's condition.
I gave the Army and the people of Vietnam 11 more months after that incident. Rocky gave them everything, forever. I made it home with a Purple Heart, several bronze stars and lots of memories. It's strange how you spend years trying to forget about an experience. And years later for some reason, you think those memories might give someone a moment or two of comfort, and you thank GOD you're able to bring them back, one more time. THEY WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN.
While attending a reunion for the 1/77 Scout Platoon last Memorial Day weekend (2007), several of our members drove to Elm City to present a plaque and some other items to Joyce and Charles (Cotton) O'Ham.
We were neighbors and we grew up together, went to school together.
I can still see you walking down the sidewalk from your house to Mike Outlaw's house. You were such a good looking young man, a kind young man, a compassionate young man, a fun loving young man ... we all still miss you and love you just as much as we ever did! I will never forget our times together!
My Love To You, Rocky!
Vicki Poole Hines
The photo is from our 1968 Grainger High School Annual, Kinston, NC.
16 Apr 2006
I am thinking about you today, Easter, April 16, 2006. Both of my parents are now buried in the cemetery where you have rested for so very long. Way too long! So you're all close to each other as when we were doing our very best to try and grow up on Darby Avenue. I miss you still and visit your site here quite often.
We shall never forget you, Rocky! We all still miss you so very much after all these many years!
We know that you are still with us and watching over us, protecting us still, as you did when you left to go to Viet Nam to serve our country.
What a price you had to pay!
I Love you, Vicki
From a VERY close friend!,
Vicki Poole Hines
Rocky and I went to high school together and even dated some. He was a wonderful person. Ten years after Rocky was killed my baby girl died and she is buried in Kinston right in front of Rocky's grave. It was almost a relief to see that. I feel like he's watching over her. I still miss him very much.
Joan Conner Walker
I often think of those who stayed behind
They'll not feel their mother's pain
A lover's love they shall never taste
A walk along a sandy beach
They stayed behind so we might go
I'll not forget the price they paid
The list grows long and longer still
Some say it was only God's will
Dedicated to Hughie, Rocky O'Ham, and Carlos Chavez
May they rest in peace
I never knew Rocky, but I would like to share a poem I wrote long after returning from Vietnam:
An old man kneels in Silent Fields
His thoughts fly back now to his youth,
Those friends have made their final peace,
His nation called when he was young
For when they called he was so young,
I didn't know Rocky but I knew many young men like him. May he rest in peace.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 28 Dec 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009