Juan N SedilloCorporal
H&S CO, 1ST BN, 9TH MARINES, 3RD MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
30 January 1948 - 08 April 1968
Mc Nary, Arizona
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The database page for Juan N Sedillo
Following is the article written by Don Dedera in "The Arizona Republic". I do not have an exact date for this, but I believe it was in late April of 1968. My comments follow this article.
The above article was sent to me by a family friend who wrote to tell me of Juan's death. At the time, I was in my freshman year of college in Virginia.
I grew up with both Juan and Ernie in McNary. They were fine young men, well liked, and from close families that raised their children with much warmth and laughter, from the kinds of families where the word "family" takes its real meaning.
When Juan and I were both just 13, special feelings developed between us. "Puppy love," one might say; and it is true that we were too young then to do anything about how we felt. But we promised each other that when we were older, we would do something about those feelings.
So, in spite of the fact that I moved far away a few months later, in spite of the fact that other romances captured both of us at times during our high school years, somehow the bond held. We stayed in touch with one another; and, ultimately, we kept those promises.
In June of 1967, Juan went to Vietnam and served with the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division until April of 1968, becoming head Battalion Radio Operator. In this position, he was Lt. Col. John F. Mitchell's radio op much of the time.
I mailed him "Care Packages" stuffed with Kool-Aid and cookies, shared the poems and stories I was writing, sent a lock of my hair in a baby-blue ribbon, and a silver St. Christopher medal. He sent me photos, Snoopy cartoons, samples of C-rats, a can opener to use for them, and his Lance Corporal chevron when he was promoted to Corporal.
We wrote, daily it seemed, speaking of our feelings, our hopes, and our dreams. By the end of 1967, he asked me in a letter to be his wife -- my answer was several pages long because I literally wrote "Yes" a thousand times. Out of consideration for our families, it seemed best to wait until his return to the States to formalize our engagement and think about a date.
Early in 1968, we heard the terrible news that we had lost Ernie, who had been Juan's best friend all his life. By then, Juan was enduring the siege of Khe Sanh; and I didn't know what I could say to him ... without Ernie, there would always be an empty place; and words weren't going to fill it.
And then Juan was killed. In five more days, he would have been home.
In his final letter to me, which I received on the same day I got the above article that told me of his death, Juan wrote,
Comments are welcome.
Barbara Ely Piatt
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009