"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff



Wednesday, October 13, 2010

PETE MANUGUERRA: Vietnam

As an introduction, I'm Pete Manuguerra. I just spent two weeks with Doug's brother, Denny Kempf, on a Mediterranean Cruise. During our chats on board, he told me about his brother, Doug, who was killed in Vietnam in 1969. I, too, am a Vietnam Veteran.

I was a grunt from April 1969, to May 1970, and I shared with Denny the ongoing support we now get and, more importantly, our 35th Infantry Regiment Association is dedicated to honoring our fallen heroes.

I also mentioned to Denny about the dedication I attended in Bay Village earlier this summer. The High School Class of 1965 was having their reunion and they honored one of their classmates who was killed in Vietnam in 1968. I attended with other members of the Unit. For your information, here is a link to this web site: 

Cacti 35th Infantry Regiment

I told Denny I would be sure to look up information about his brother, Doug, when we returned from our trip together. This is how I found you at this Memoirs From Nam web site.

Thanks for caring. I am still amazed when I attend our annual reunions, at how many people are still looking for closure after more than forty years.

Pete Manuguerra
Cacti Forever 1969 - 1970


Excerpts from email 10-12-10

Dear Pete,
Thank you for taking the time to write to me and for your thoughtful comments -- yes, there are many who still look for closure after so many years, me included ..........

............ I would be both proud and honored if you would allow me to post your letter on Memoirs to share with the community. Welcome Home Pete.

Once again, my most sincere thanks and respect to you,
CJ (Kempf) Heck


Email 10-13-10

Yes, no problem to post my letter/note to you. Thank you for your kind words. I do agree, Denny is indeed a special person and he still feels the hurt. I am still amazed at all of the caring after so long of a time has passed.

Earlier this summer, I found a posting on our Cacti Website. A history teacher from Dearborn, Michigan, was so "moved" by this year's Memorial Day event that she wanted to find out and document stories about the men who were killed in Vietnam from her home town.

One of the names she posted was my platoon leader who was KIA'd on May 12, 1969. I was there and saw everything and even had pictures of the firebase where this incident happened. Never thought that I would ever need to share what happened over forty years ago.

People do care and it is heartfelt. Now we gotta give the troops our support who are fighting this war on Terror. The 2nd 35th Infantry are going on their 3rd deployment to Afghanistan sometime the spring of 2011. A year ago, they returned from a deployment from Iraq. I've met some of these new "heroes" and we gotta love and continually support them.

Pete Manuguerra

My deepest appreciation and respect to you, Pete, for taking the time to share your memories. Please, always feel free to write and share here at Memoirs. Welcome Home.
CJ


“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale


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2 comments:

  1. Welcome Home Pete,
    I was a combat writer and photographer for the 101st Airborne Div.(1970-1971). High School classmates with Cathy and Doug. Cathy is a wonderful person and Doug was a great guy.
    Cathy has done a wonderful thing by putting this site up. If it doesn't heal, at least it brings people an understanding maybe of what it was like 40 years ago.
    Again,
    Welcome Home
    Craig Latham
    former 101st Airborne
    Phu Bai

    ReplyDelete
  2. Craig,
    Thank you for your kind words. You realize, you were one of the very first contributors here on Memoirs, and thus, I see you as being instrumental in the very foundation of our community. I value your input almost as much as I do your wonderful friendship ... thank you!
    Always,
    CJ

    ReplyDelete

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