Delta Company 1/20
Delta Company, 1st Of The 20th, 11th Light Infantry Brigade
Since I do not have the e-mail addresses of all the individuals named below, I would ask that someone who may have them please forward this appropriately.
On June 3rd, 2005, my significant other, Susan Hayes and I met with Joe Lupo, Richard Culver, Duke Davis, Kenny Quayle and Jan Winter in Washington, D.C. Although some of these men had not seen each other in many years, and some had not yet been to the Vietnam Memorial, they were incredibly gracious in spending the entire afternoon and evening with us, helping us to better understand the Delta Co. experience, and particularly, helping us understand what my cousin, Larry Fanella, a Sargeant in Delta Co., killed in action on June 3, 1969, had meant to each of them.
Even on the most "surface" level, sharing facts, photos and stories of their (and by connection, Larry's) experiences in Vietnam, they were incredibly helpful to us, putting me in a position where I can now synthesize this information for my family, and especially for Larry's aging parents. But, this remarkable group of men went far beyond the "surface" level. Their candor, frankness and, when necessary, delicacy, were extraordinary. I firmly believe that no American who lived through the Vietnam era came away unmarked in some way by that war, and Susan and I both work with and have friends who were Vietnam combat veterans. Yet, no discussion I have ever had has helped me as much to understand what it was like, for instance, to know almost nothing about man's first steps on the moon, or the cultural phenomenon that was Woodstock. They talked with wonderful honesty about all the "classic" topics we think of in regard to the Vietnam war, from the constant heat and lack of equipment, to the reactions they encountered upon coming home, to the stresses their service put on marriages and relationships. But, they did not stop there. They were in complete consensus that this experience they had shared was the hinge on which the rest of their lives had swung. And, whether they think about that experience frequently, or daily, doing so for more than 30 years has given each of them a pretty solid attitude toward wars, and sending Americans to fight them. And, although those attitudes are not all the same, they certainly run down parallel lines. As with the rest of the discussion, this too was helpful to hear.
Finally, to stop being descriptive and become more direct: Joe, Richard, Duke, Kenny, Jan, please understand that Susan and I can never truly express to you our gratitude for your time, for extending yourselves to us, and for showing us what real heroes look like. If you are representative of the other men of Delta Co., and I must assume that you are, then I can truly think of no finer group with whom Larry could have served. I sincerely hope we did not intrude unduly on some of you first coming together after so much time, and that you were able to carry through on your other plans on the 4th. For us, the time was, and will always be, just golden. Once again, our most sincere gratitude.