Richard Allen ThursbyStaff Sergeant
D CO, 4TH BN, 12TH INF RGT, 199 INF BDE
Army of the United States
06 April 1946 - 01 April 1969
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The database page for Richard Allen Thursby
One of the first people I met when I entered into D Company 4th Battalion 12th Infantry 199th Light Infantry Brigade, in the northern parts of the MeKong Delta Region of Vietnam, was my new Squad leader for 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon, SGT RICHARD ALLEN THURSBY. SGT Thursby was probably one of the most knowledgeable people I've ever had the opportunity to meet. SGT Thursby for the most part was a good survivalist, he taught us how you could actually see an incoming mortar round during a Viet Cong mortar attack. As soon as you heard the marking round go off in the tube, you got down and rolled over, looked up in the sky, and for just a split second, at it's arching point you could see a black spot up in the sky, then you could get a rough idea just where that mortar round would land. Anything after that arching point would become invisible to the naked eye as it descended.
He taught us how to walk in the mud that no western human being had words to describe. "Don't get your legs together," he'd tell us, "It will form a vacuum around your legs, and you'll never get out, the more you work to get lose the deeper you're gonna go. If your boots aren't tied right, it will also suck them off your feet, so be careful how you tie your boots." He showed us how you had to wrap the extra laces around the top of the boot then tie them in a square knot, this method would keep that extremely deep mud from pulling the boots right off your feet.
He taught us how to lean forward into the "chopper" wind, so as to not get blown over.
He was a pretty good thinker in time of an emergency, for one time he stepped flat footed on a tripwire on a booby-trapped rice paddie dyke. Realizing what had happened he froze and said, "Get off the trail and get down, I'm flatfooted on a tripwire and I'm apt to go 'Boom'. I'm not going to wait all day for this either, so I hope this M-60 machinegun ammo can will be heavy enough to hold this wire in place."
He slowly lowered the ammo can off his shoulder and very carefully, very gingerly set it down on the booby trap wire, then slowly and carefully lifted his foot up and off the tripwire. It worked, he saved his life that day. Then he had us take a ball of twine he had us carry and tie it onto the canvas strap of the ammo can, unravel the twine, get down behind the dyke and pull the string pulling the ammo can off the tripwire and blowing the booby trap in place.
Yes, SGT Richard Allen Thursby was one of the best Squad Leaders I've ever had the opportunity to meet. He was a very good person with an equally good sense of humor. Unfortunately, SGT Richard Allen Thursby and two other men were very tragically killed in a grenade accident.
May he now rest in peace in the golden light of eternal light and eternal Love, from now and for evermore.
Your friend and comrade in arms,
A Note from The Virtual WallThe other two men who died as a result of the grenade accident were SP4 William DeBates and PFC James Earl Bouyer.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 11/13/2010