Gary Dale Templeton
Private First Class
A CO, 1ST BN, 502ND INF RGT, 101 ABN DIV
Army of the United States
24 January 1948 - 05 July 1968
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The database page for Gary Dale Templeton
25 May 1999
You were his best friend. You lived together there in the jungle, slept on the ground and shared each other's food. You counted on one another, you went there together. You covered for each other, trusted one another like few people ever can. You really knew each other. You told each other your lives' stories, shared secrets and wrote each other's family. You tried your best to get yourselves and each other home alive. You were also the one who broke his heart, who taught him to try not to make friends because most of you aren't going home. Even though we could never know the horror you guys lived with every day, I truly believe it was when he picked up your pieces that the reality of the war really hit him.
On July 5th, '68, you two heard a man calling - he had spotted some NVA. You guys found a bunker and he was about to blow it, already had a grenade in his hand. You told him to move out of the way because someone had thrown you a grenade and you had no place to put it because you did not normally carry them on you (he did). The bunker was booby trapped with a 250 pound bomb to blow up on impact. You were killed in action - blown to bits. He was close enough that it knocked him out and busted both eardrums. When he came to they told him he could not pick you up because the area was too heavily booby trapped and he told them he was going to anyway. They made him talk to Spieglberg (the company commander) who argued and then reluctantly sent him a prisoner to walk behind. He picked up what he could find of you with an entrenching tool. His best friend. Your arm, a piece of your chest, your heart (he never found the rest). Then the army sent your family a telegram that said you were MIA. He wrote them and told them he hated it but you were dead. They gave him hell and orders not to write again. So he had every man in the squad write them and tell them the truth. Sometimes I think about how close it was to being your kid writing this letter to him instead of vice versa.
I found some old letters (30 years old) at my granny's house and got an old address on that girl you were going to marry. We called her up (yeah after all this time) and we got to talk to your Aunt Rose too. We found out that Grandmother you thought so much of is still alive. Maybe someday we'll find her too. Daddy wants to let her know what a wonderful person he knows you were. You will live forever in his heart and mind.
also were killed in Vietnam,
and served with my Dad, Jerry Copeland.
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