Raymond Thurl TalburtSergeant
B CO, 1ST BN, 501ST INFANTRY, 101 ABN DIV
Army of the United States
26 October 1944 - 07 June 1969
Panel 23W Line 107
The database page for Raymond Thurl Talburt
I knew Ray for only a few days but he has been with me for the last 37 years. I think he came from Missouri or Kansas with a National Guard unit. Because of the Tactical Military Emergency that had been declared by the Americal Division our battalion from LZ Sally was ordered "down south" to help out by taking the offensive against a well entrenched NVA force. Our battalion got orders for Tam Ky on 15 May 1969 and were in it up to our necks within a few days. Ray's Guard unit was not supposed to be used as front line replacements but with the TME - the Army called his number. He had a lot of time working with the M-60 and when our unit came up short 40 or so men in less then a week one could see why the REMFs found Ray a natural fit. Besides, it was only going to be for a few weeks and then he would be sent back to a rear security company.
On the 28th of May, I rejoined B Company 1/501st 101 Airborne in the field after a week in a Chu Lai hospital. That is when I met Ray and I was assigned to be his assistant machine gunner. He was a Buck Sergeant then and it gave me great comfort to be working with an older guy that seemed to know his way around the M-60. As I recall, we made contact with the enemy every day but most of us did not get much action individually. After about a week in the field and despite his rank no one would make him Squad Leader so we had a Spec 4 filling in that role. On this day in early June, our squad drew point. We were on a well used trail; even saw some telephone wire running down the side of it for a few hundred meters. The jungle was very, very thick in this area and we were really not able to cut through it fast enough for our boss's boss. Down the yellow brick road we go until we find what the CO was looking for, a little contact. Two were down immediately when the call was to "bring up the gun". We were five or six men back (15 meters or so) - Like a flash, Ray jumps up with my last words yelling to "Get off the trail" but that's when I have his head handed to me. It turned out that I was literally the last man standing and none of the others in front of me got out. We found each and every man in my squad laying dead on the trail.
I hope this doesn't sound cold - three months in Tam Ky was more than enough to let one lose his perspective. I wrote the above so you could grasp the below:
RaymondI knew him just a week
A relief guy but not meek
He toted a gun
Reserve guy I think
He jumped to a call from the blue
From a Squad Member.
A Note from The Virtual WallOperation LAMAR PLAIN was directed against NVA forces in Base Area 117, to the west of Tam Ky. In early June the 1st Ballation, 501st Infantry engaged in a series of bitter fights on and around Hill 376 about 12 kilometers west-southwest of Tam Ky. On 07 June three of the 1/501's companies were engaged, with the loss of seven men:
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 30 Jun 2007
Last updated 08/10/2009