Vietnam Veteran, William Carr Jr., Remembers a Fellow Soldier
Larry Shirk & James Fisher, courtesy of William Carr Jr.
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Date: 10/24/2005 3:42:20 PM Eastern Daylight I regret to inform you of the recent death of former "Redcatcher," William Condon. "Billy," as we called him, was formerly a member of our unit, 3d Platoon, C Company, 2d Battalion, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (Old Guard), 199th Light Infantry Brigade (Separate), at Fort Benning and in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. He was a member of Sergeant James Williston's squad. In case you did not know, he died this past summer of complications associated with a seizure, as I understand it, according to a woman who said she was his wife. Today at lunchtime, I called his home in Maine and a woman answered. I told her I was looking for William Condon; I had served with him in Vietnam. She said that her husband had died in either July or June of this year. (Sorry, I could not understand everything she said and I could not bring myself to question her too much about the details). Billy was a funny guy, as I remember him. Had a way of talking that amused me - anyway. A couple of things I will always remember about Billy. (1) He liked to sit down. I remember on one mission, we were searching .a village. Billy had a habit of sitting down a lot, or at least it seemed that way to me. So when I passed a Vietnamese "hooch" that apparently Billy had just finished searching and saw him sitting down on one of those mounds of hardened mud (you may recall the Vietnamese villagers slept on these in their houses,) I remarked (and I can recall it clear as day), "Billy, you are always sitting down," I said. "I'll bet if you ever get hit, you will get it sitting down." Just as I finished my sentence, I looked down and right beside Billy was a grenade. I don't know where it came from, it might even have been his, but I didn't wait to find out and neither did he. We assumed it had come from inside the mound, from a "spider hole," those mysterious holes in the ground that we use to throw grenades in to kill any Viet Cong that may have been hiding in them. Anyway, I yelled ".Look out Billy! grenade beside you!" and we both ran as fast away from that house and the grenade as we could get. We never knew if it exploded or not, but of course we were not going back to find out. (2). Another thing I remember about Billy was that he was always getting stuck in the knee high (sometimes waist-high) mud we always had to walk through in our combat missions in the rice paddies in the Delta of Vietnam. We would all be trudging through, pulling ourselves along and there would be Billy - dragging along slightly behind, with his buddy, Merrill Doyle. Usually, on average maybe once per mission, I recall, one of them would get stuck. Because of suction, or whatever, immobilizing their movements they could not walk. The unstuck member of the duo would have to help pull them out. Others of us in the squad would sometimes have to help, also. It's been almost 40 years since I saw him last and I don't recall more. I wish he could have attended one of our Redcatcher Association reunions. I called him about 7 or 8 years ago to get him to come, but he said he did not want to even talk about Vietnam at that point. Out of respect for his wishes, I never attempted to contact him again until today. Now I'm thinking maybe I should have called sooner. Sorry to have to bring this news to you this way, I know most of the guys who read this might have seen him more recently than I did, if you remember him at all. Many of us will never forget him. May he have eternal peace and may God forgive his sins. Regards and please pass this message along, Bill Carr Sergeant Major, Retired Formerly with 3d Platoon, 0/2/3/199 LIB Nov '67-Apr 1967. Photographs by SSG Larry Shirk and SP4 James Fisher courtesy of William Carr Jr.
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Original version: Collection with various creators donated by Bernie Weisz; Archival digital version: SLCC Digital Archives. IN COPYRIGHT.
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