Bruce Edward TeaguePrivate First Class
G CO, 2ND BN, 7TH MARINES, 1ST MARDIV
United States Marine Corps
26 May 1948 - 16 May 1968
Canoga Park, California
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The database page for Bruce Edward Teague
Bruce had a way of being in the wrong place at the wrong time - but always with the right stuff. He was up for anything, anytime, always good to go. And there was nothing shy about Bruce; if you were the only girl in the world for him you knew about it! He would walk right up, introduce himself, and tell you so - which is how I met him. We lived and went to high school in the West end of the San Fernando Valley, just a short drive on the winding canyon road to the wide-open Pacific - Surf City! It was a good place to be!
One thing about Bruce - he had confidence - more like brazen self assurance - solid brass. And he would need it - because he had fallen for the wrong girl! He was a difficult person to argue with, though, because he would preface almost everything he said with, "Well, pretty girl, it's like this..." I tried to discourage him but he would not be discouraged. He had an answer to every reason I didn't want to go out with him. Even though he was older than I was, he had committed the unpardonable transgression of being in the class behind mine. This was socially unacceptable! Bruce was unimpressed. "Big deal!" he said, "Thirty years from now, when you're counting our grandkids, it won't make any difference!" But I was unavailable, spoken for, taken, going with somebody! Bruce remained undaunted. "Fine!", he said, "Good thing you met me now, before you married the guy!" Bruce had decided upon the girl he wanted, and this is how it was going to be; he would accept no other outcome and he would have it no other way.
Another thing Bruce had was heart. He would never, ever give up. One day at a time, one display of kindness and affection after the next, one selfless and heroic act to rescue me after another, one more show of patience and forgiveness after the last, he became the safety net under my high-risk life. He saw me at my most unlovable, and kept on loving me anyway. I began to admire him for the things he could do and the talent that he had. I learned to respect him for the person that he was, and I appreciated the way he treated me. He truly did not care that I came from bad circumstances and bad people. He tried to compensate for it. I could depend on Bruce, and he never once let me down. I ended up wondering how I had ever gotten along without him. And I just couldn't help but love him back.
Bruce was very protective, and he stepped in between me and trouble every chance he got. I was a trouble magnet, so he had many opportunities. He liked being needed. I didn't attend school much, myself, and I usually had better places to be. Whatever and wherever, Bruce was good to go with me - what if there was trouble and I needed him!?! Sometimes there was and sometimes I did. He handled it. And it seemed to me that he invented the "No Fear" thing 30 years before anyone put it on a T-shirt. He was certainly MY hero!
Bruce had a thing for music. He could hear something once - and he had it. He could play a trumpet like no one else. He could sound crisp, clear and precise, or he could sound low and slow and rich, or he could sound soft and smoky - and he made it all sound easy, effortless, as if it were nothing. Sometimes he would look over the bell of that horn and wink at me, and smile with his eyes.
Bruce loved Zuma Beach at night. Zuma Beach was natural then. You just drove up Pacific Coast Highway until you got past other people, pulled off onto the beach, parked and got out! That was your spot! The next people passed you up, drove until they couldn't see your car, and that was their spot. It was nice.
Back then, every man in greater Los Angeles had a big, heavy, Pendleton-type shirt, usually plaid, worn like a jacket. Bruce was tall and thin, and looked good in one.
We would arrive and check out "our beach", and see if the surf was up. Bruce would crank down the windows and crank up the volume, so we could dance barefoot there on the beach, with the waves sometimes coming up over our feet. Bruce loved to slow dance best. And if I got cold, he would just open up that big, warm shirt, pull me in there with him, wrap it snugly around me, along with his arms, and just slow dance to everything. He was the perfect height to dance with - my head rested right over his heart, and his heart was the best sound in the world.
One thing about Bruce, he had manners. There was no privacy on the open beach. If you got your clothes soaked or just needed to get out of a wet bikini, your car was what you had between yourself and the highway. Of all the guys I ever went to the beach with, Bruce was the only one who stayed outside the car, turned his back and watched the highway, when I would change. For all of his pushiness in front of other people, in private, when it was just us, he was the sweetest and most considerate person.
Bruce liked Wolfman Jack on the radio, heard loud and clear along the coast from Mexico to Canada, once you got clear of the mountains. The Wolfman would play about 100 songs a night, and we knew them all. Bruce was happy then, with his girl to dance with, sing to, and hold warm inside his shirt.
In my mind, I still hear him sing like it was just last night.
He was pretty good! (I thought.)"When the autumn wind begins to blow,
Magic? The last whole night we spent on Zuma Beach, everyone else had gone to Disneyland. They could have it. We had the Wolfman on the radio, and the whole wide beach for as far as we could see, and the whole Pacific Ocean, and a huge sky full of stars, just for us."If you believe in magic,
By the summer of 1966, I was 17 and Bruce was 18. Vietnam became a major factor then. It would ruin lives and take lives, ours and those of our friends. We were too young and inexperienced to make the decisions we were forced to make - and some bad decisions happened. We ended up separated by a lot of miles, burning up the telephone lines by the hour. I would come back to the Valley as soon as I could. We had worked out some really good career plans and Bruce still just wanted his girl. But at least he had his buddies, and they meant a lot to him. He went with them one day, and they all enlisted in the Marines.
The last time Bruce managed to call, he said he had heard something new on the radio that he really liked, and he had rearranged it to sound good with just his unaccompanied trumpet. He decided to play it, just in case he didn't get to see me before he left the States. So he played it, low and slow and unhurried, with all his heart in it, the way he sounded best. It was "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye". It was the most beautiful thing I ever heard.
There will never be anyone like Bruce, and I just don't want him to be forgotten. Bruce would have been 55 years old on this Memorial Day, May 26, 2003.
Bruce would want me to mention that he was a US Marine. I think he was born to be a Marine. He was aggressive and determined, and he would back his buddies without reservation. He seemed fearless, and I guess he really thought he was indestructible. He had me convinced! You only had to ride with him through Topanga Canyon once...
Bruce was quick to smile and slow to lose his temper, happy and easy to please. He was close to his Dad, Bruce Senior. He loved music and was a gifted musician. He loved to drive fast and dance slow, and he loved the beach, especially at night. He was aggressive and reckless when competing for a girl that he wanted. But he was the most forgiving person, and the most good-hearted person, I have ever known. He loved his family, and his buddies, and most of all, for some reason, he loved me. He was honest and trustworthy, strong-willed and rock-steady. I could count on Bruce - he would love me forever. And wherever he is tonight, I wouldn't be surprised if he still does; because one thing about Bruce - I never knew him to break a promise.
Private First Class, United States Marines,
rests in Plot 273, 18/RX,
Los Angeles National Cemetery, Los Angeles, California,
among other men of courage and integrity.
I will remember Bruce on his birthday this memorial day weekend.
More than 10 years ago, my cousin Colonel Lorraine Dubois Goodrich, USMC, took me to the Vietnam memorial in Washington DC.
In search for another cousin who died in the Vietnam war, I discovered Bruce. That is when the war was brought home to me. Lisa's wonderful description of her relationship with Bruce brought him alive for me. I will forever be grateful to her.
I hope in my life I can honor him and the name we share.
Father Bruce Teague
Bruce was a man one could depend on, just like the day in November, 1967, when he didn't have to visit me, but did so on his last day before shipping out for Vietnam.
He spoke of his girlfriend, Lisa, how he loved her, how he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, the big family they would have together, how they would live happily ever after. He said he wanted to have 4 or 5 kids. I talked of the Corvette I would own some day. But Bruce said he wanted a comfortable car, so he could put his arm around his Lisa. It was his dream, the one he could see on his horizon, and one he would have fulfilled with her for the rest of his life.
He would have been my friend to this day for sure, and I still miss him very much. I will never forget his visit in my front yard, and what we shared in our talk of over 3 hours. I can still see him standing there in front of me. He didn't have to come visit me on his last day in the States, but he was there when I needed him, and at a time when I needed him most, just after I left boot camp. He didn't let me down, and he never let anyone down, ever. I will never forget him.
From a friend,
A Note from The Virtual WallThe 16 May fight for the fortified hamlet at Phu Dong was the first major engagement in Operation Allen Brook, aimed at clearing VC and NVA forces from Go Noi Island, formed by the confluence of the Ky Lam, Ba Ren, and Chiem Son Rivers.
At Phu Dong, three companies of Marines assaulted dug-in North Vietnamese Army regulars from the newly-arrived 36th Regiment, 308th NVA Division. By days' end the NVA had been forced from Phu Dong, leaving more than 130 dead behind. In addition to 38 wounded, the Marines lost 25 men killed in action:
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 6 Feb 2003
Last updated 11/13/2010