Russell Edward ReinelCaptain
B CO, 1ST BN, 26TH INF RGT, 1 INF DIV
Army of the United States
08 August 1946 - 05 February 1969
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The database page for Russell Edward Reinel
This is to tell the story of a guy who was the Best Company Commander that I ever had.
Russell Reinel was my Commanding Officer in Korea in 1968. He was just a year older than I and most of the lower enlisted men in our company. He wanted to be the best he could at all times and expected his men to be the same. Was he a hard liner, not as could be expected, but had a humanity about him. If you screwed up he let you know, and then asked how he could help you be and do better. During the time we were assigned to the DMZ in Korea, the NK's tried to kill Park Chun Hee. We then had the Navy ship captured (Note: USS PUEBLO), it seemed that WW III was about to happen. His answer to the situation was just do our job and we'll come out all right, and we did. I lost track of him after he did his tour and went back to the states and to what ever he had to do.
Thirty-four years later while I was looking at a website for our old Regiment, I found the name of my old Platoon Leader and contacted him a few days later. When he was talking to me the first thing he told me was that our old CO, Russ Reinel, was killed in action in Vietnam in 1969. This took me back ... in 1986 I had gone to the Wall and did not find his name [never was a great speller]. I had written a paper on him in college and I figured that he by that time was out or the President of some company, big time. My Platoon Leader said that he and some others had tried to find Russ's wife, but could not. I was told that she was an Army Nurse and by looking on line and through many calls got an address from a girl that had gone to nursing school and been assigned to Fort Ord with her. I made a call and to my suprise I got lucky and found her on the first try. All those that had been in his company [in Korea] that found and I were able to help her know Russ more than she had ever before. She told me that through all these years that she always felt that he was trying to reach out to her and through us she was at last able to.
Joseph W . Herber
I wish to offer this tribute to my commanding officer Co. A 2/31 Inf.
It was my good fortune to serve as a commissioned officer under Lt. Reinel while stationed on the Korean DMZ. He took a very young man who had just graduated from North Georgia Military College and taught him much. His firm hand with a kind and fair heart was all I could have asked for. Many an evening he played his guitar and talked about the lot we all shared. His devotion to God and Country could not be questioned and even today we feel his loss. I remember the cold bitter nights when on patrol and his clear voice cracked over the PRC-25:
Today my eldest son is a First Lieutenant and has returned from Korea with the Army Commendation Medal and my second son will follow as he soon goes to the Citadel. I have told them both of Russ and his lessons. I have told them of his honor and his sacrifice. It is all I can do for a fallen comrade.
From a fellow officer and comrade in arms,
I was struck by the memorial comments about Russell Reinel. I was fortunate to have gone through Infantry OCS with Russell (63d Company). Although we weren't in the same platoon, we shared a lot of what any of us who went through the "Benning School for Boys" shared - late nights, early mornings and a whole lot of pain. Russell embodied the spirit of OCS, that of using our initiative and to succeed in making it through another day; we spent a lot time in the front leaning rest and throwing up supper after running up and down the hill toward Infantry Hall, but all in all, it was a growing up time for all of us, even those who didn't make it through the course.
Russell's platoon (to a large extent because of him) was seen by the rest of us in 63d Company to be across the board unafraid to take initiative to its limits. Many learned their first lessons in asserting themselves for the first time; they had a 19 year-old who, although a baby age-wise, grew up quickly. We were sorry to see him paneled, but at least he just went back a cycle and finally finished and received his commission later (he went on to win the Silver Star). I know Russell had a particular interest in him and wanted to see him succeed. Your post immediately took me back to how much Russell helped him.
I'm obviously very sad to have lost Russell and the six other members of 63d Company that didn't make it through RVN. But other OCS companies lost much higher percentages of their guys, so in my mind that speaks to the high level of quality guys I was privileged to go through OCS with. Russell was one of our best, and I particularly mourn his loss.
When they did the 60 Minutes piece and when Newsweek showed his name on the Wall on its cover, many emotions came up. But when I saw the comments on this site about Russell from his fellow troops, I'm convinced my initial impressions about him in OCS were right on, he was a winner and I'm proud to have known him.
From an Infantry OCS classmate,
Joe Herber and I got in contact through a website I posted my info on, hoping to reconnect with some guys I served with. I was glad to hear from him, but then he told me Russell Reinel had been killed in Nam in 1969, and I was very saddened to hear this. I worked closely with then-LT Reinel, our C.O. in Korea, in 1967, and was always impressed by this fine man. He was my superior, but he was also my friend, and the finest officer I ever knew.
My son has just returned from Washington, where he made a rubbing of Captain Reinel's name from the Viet Nam Memorial. I am putting this on a plaque to hang on the wall of my office, so that I might remember him every day, and so that when people ask me about this small tribute, I can tell them about Russell E. Reinel, an American hero.
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
a former member of his first Company,
Joseph W Herber
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 15 Sep 2002
Last updated 02/20/2008