Monday, May 31, 2010

A Personal Dedication This Day ...

Growing, I had a best friend who's life was cut short
while serving in Vietnam. Today, Woodsterman,
dedicates this page to him. From age 11 to the time
Vietnam separated us, you never saw one of us 
without the other.

At the time of his death, I was in advanced training
at Fort Ord, California. My sister called to inform me
of his death and passed on a request from his parents
that I be a pallbearer at his funeral. I did so proudly
in uniform.

During my own time in Vietnam, there was not a day
I didn't think of him. We also had some wild 
conversations during that year.

Below is his information obtained from the Vietnam
Veterans Memorial Wall - Virtual Wall. This site is
dedicated to the Memorial in Washington DC. You
can visit this site if you are unable to go the real one in person.

Click the photos to enlarge.

Above are photos I made of Bill's Page at
the Virtual Wall. If you want to see the real
thing and can't make it to Washington, this
is a must see. Below is a link to the Virtual
Wall and one to Bill's Page.


  1. I have tears streaming down my face and know there are no words that I can express for your lost of an inseparable friend. It is something that is in the heart.

    Thank you for your service to our country.

  2. Thank you Sonia for reading about Bill and our friendship. That is what this day is about.

  3. its really hard to lose a friend :(

    life is just a strange thing and we never know when it is going to end... but lets remember all who left us in good memories..


  4. Ali, I wrestled a lot with myself whether to post this or not. It isn't typical of the fun you usually find here. I just wanted Bill to have his day here.

    Woodsterman goes back to silly tomorrow.

  5. Hi Odie. You are such a good friend to your Hero Pal, Bill. This is a very sad day of loss and Remembrance.
    I know he and his family were lucky to have you in their saddest days. God Bless you and America.

  6. Thank you Bunni, I'm going to need a funny break tomorrow.

  7. This is a wonderful tribute. Deeply moving. Thank you for sharing his memory in this post.

  8. Lady, Thank you so much for reading it.

  9. "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

  10. LL, agreed. You know, being Navy, they don't just give those Navy Crosses to anyone.

  11. Thanks for the excellent tribute to our friend Bill. You were a true and loyal friend to both of us brothers through all of our misadventures. It is of interest that The name of James Cruse is mentioned... he was a corpsman who saw Bill get killed. He was so enraged that he grabbed a grenade and ran into the jungle to get the sniper. He was also killed.

  12. I am so sorry that you lost a very good friend, Odie. That was an excellent tribute to Bill. This must be a sad day for you. Thank you for serving and protecting our freedom, Odie. You are a brave hero. God Bless.

  13. Odie, Bill was one handsome man. With a knowing look in his eye. I wish I had known him.

    You are a good friend never to forget.

    Bill gave his all for us.

  14. Ode to Odie. Readers of this blog may see Woodsterman as the lunatic woodcrafter of Truckee. Bill and I saw past the rough grain to see his his fine inner core. He was my best man, and I his. As for Bill, his last heroic acts were almost exactly like the Vietnam scene from Forest Gump where Forest goes back into the ambush to save and carry out many wounded Marines, ignoring orders to retreat.

  15. I'm grateful that such a man existed, and I'm proud to know the man who won't let his memory die. Thanks, Woody.

  16. Thank you Van, I hadn't heard that part of the story about James Cruse.

    To those of you that hadn't figured it out yet, Van is Bill's younger brother.

    Van (Hurricane), Huh.

  17. Thank You Teresa. I never considered myself a hero, just a guy that was happy to do want his country asked.

    I often wonder what Bill's life would be like today. He did seem to enjoy hospital work ... maybe?

  18. Opie, You are so right. He was one of those guys that would give a friend his all almost to the point of leaving him lacking ... thus the story of the end of his life.

    That's who he was and I saw it often.

  19. Again ... Van (Hurricane) ?

    Thanks again for the visit my friend.

  20. Thank you for visiting Nickie. I always enjoy your visits. I wanted to do something special for Memorial Day. I though something personal might be in order. Bill, Van, and I and our friendship was indeed personal.

    God Bless you Bill and I know does!

  21. Odie, as a kid, I was inspired by the rotating arms fighting technique of Alfalfa in the Little Rascals. I believe that it was you who nicknamed me "Hurricane" (also Wildcat). I can see from your blog that your early exposure to the literary excellence of Mad Magazine and Playboy have inspired you to be the great editor in chief that you are today! Odie, you truly are a legend in your own mind...I mean time.

  22. Well put (I think) ... Hurricane(Alfalfa)

  23. I wanted to add that the name Richard Murphy is listed. Murphy was the last Marine that Bill was trying to save. His brother Brian has gone to extremes further honor his brother, and to the corpsmen who lost their lives attempting to save him...Doc Mercer and Cruz. Brian even spearheaded a campaign to have Bill's portrait painting on display at Mercer Hall (mess hall at San Diego Naval Base) restored by the origional artist.

  24. Odie,

    Van answered my well wishes for Memorial Day with a link to your blog and a suggestion I check it out. My brother Dick Murphy was the "other Marine" that the Mercer's often wondered about. It is my understanding that Dick, Thibault, Lopez, Mercer, and Cruse were all felled by the same sniper.

    Van found us a few years ago on Memorial Day and I was able to connect him with Doc's buddies that survive today.

    These guys do not forget the ones the lost. Nor do you.... God Bless you for Keeping the Memory of Doc Mercer alive.......

    PS you appear to be a nut, but a good nut.

    Brian Murphy - Norwood, MA

  25. Thanks Van, as you see, below, he commented. I saw that original portrait when the Mrs. and I were at the dedication.

  26. Brian, thank you for contacting me. It's great to be able to fill in some more of the story.


  27. This is a wonderful post, Odie. Thanks to people like you and Bill people like Nancy Pelosi get to wake up and do evil on the rest of us. And I'm okay with that. Because she's just as American as you and I and deserves the chance to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

    Well...not that she would know anything about those three vital virtues. But. Hey, our enemies deserve freedom just as much as we do, as long as they can produce their birth certificates. Right?

    All snarking aside, Odie. Thank you. Thank you very, very much.

  28. Snarky, Thank you for reading this. By reading it you celebrate Bill's Life.

  29. Great one Wood Man. I never served back in the day but being raised military, I have a dear uncle who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service in the Air Force in Da Nang. One of the few non commissioned officers to receive the honor. He is still with us and I learn from him yet today. Bless the fallen and the suffering returning vets.

  30. Thank you, Scott, for remembering our Heroes.

  31. Odie, This is such a Great Post~ Thank You..I'm also sorry for your loss of such a great friend.
    I'm glad I got to read it.

    A BIG Thank you for your service to our Country

  32. Thank You so much Stopsign, It was a real Memorial Day post. I was choked up the whole time getting it together.

  33. I must have missed this in years past, but I read it today. What a great memorial to your friend, Bill. I had a brother serve in Viet Nam, and he came home broken. Over the years, he's gotten better, but it is still in his mind. I don't think anyone can ever get over being in a war, and neither can their families. Jim's wife, Barb, is a saint, and loves him with her whole being. Thank you for your service, and we are remembering those who gave their all.

    God bless you!

  34. I hadn't read this before Odie. I didn't know. I'm so sorry you lost a lifetime friend at such an early age. May he rest in eternal peace.

    God bless all those that gave their all. ☺

  35. Linda, thank you so much. Bless all those who gave it all.

  36. Sandee, I posted it quite a long time ago. Thank You for finding it. Bill and All who have died are near and dear to our hearts ... God Bless Them All.


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