In Memory of SGT. Richard V. Bedolla........2nd Platoon & 326 Charlie Med
A Good Friend to all, a Battle Buddy, and "Currahee Brother" which made it home from Vietnam. Married his long time dreamgirl, Marcia Labruyere , and raised a loving family. Richard passed away of a heart related issue in August of 1995.
Richard V. Bedolla, SGT E5 .... Died August 5, 1995 in San Bernardino CA Born: November 13, 1948 Survived By: Wife, Marcia Son's, Randy & Sedrick and Daughter, Shannon
Richard Bedolla was a good friend, and he was quite a "character". Loud, wild, and fun-loving crazy would be putting it mildly. He didn't have any problem in telling you exactly where he stood on something. But he was also deeply devoted to his friends. Let me give you a little background story....
In mid 1969 many men were drafted into the Army because of the on-going Vietnam War. Against all odds, a small group of four guy's managed to serve together for our entire tour of military service. Richard Bedolla, Bill Stokoe, Randy Parmley (Me), and Richard Stewart were all from Southern California. And as "SoCal Boy's" we quickly formed a bond of friendship. Together, we all went through Basic Training & AIT at Fort Ord CA, the NCOC School at Fort Benning GA, OJT back at Fort Ord and finally in late June of 1970 our tour in Vietnam. It would be a very gross under-statement to say that we were just good friends. We were almost like a group of new age "Four Musketeers". We laughed our way through all kinds of mischief, madness, and rivalry during our training phase's. If one of us was in trouble, we were all in trouble. On-base and off-base our crazy times continued. The stories could fill a book. We loved to have a good time. Fortunately, we all made it home in one piece. Even after our Vietnam tour of duty, we were close for a period of time. I was the "Best-Man" at Richard's and Marcia's Wedding. And later, I was honored when they named their first son after me (Randy Bedolla). But as day-to-day life would start to catch-up with the young families, we all drifted apart and now haven't seen each other for more that 35 years. But lets get back to Richards story in Vietnam...
Once we arrived into South Vietnam, we were all assigned to the 2nd Battalion of the 506th Inf, 101st Airborne at Camp Evans. Richard Stewart was assigned to Delta Company, and Richard Bedolla, Bill Stokoe, and Randy Parmley (Me) were assigned to Charlie Company. Bedolla and I joined the 2nd Platoon and Stokoe joined the 1st Platoon.
When we first got there, the 2nd/506th was right in the middle of the "Seige of FSB Ripcord" and Charlie Company had just been ripped to pieces on Hill 902. The rements of Charlie Co. were extracted to FSB O'Reilly where we joined them on July 13th or 14th. The Company Commander, Tom Hewitt had just been killed on Hill 902, and Captian Jeff Wilcox was temporarily assigned to re-organize and pull the unit back together until Captian Ken Lamb joined Charlie Company. Most of this new Charlie Company was made-up of brand new (Cherry) replacements. The few Old Timers that we had were very apprehensive about going back into the battle with new guys. Our group of cherry NCO's listened very closely to what the Old Timers had to say and their instruction to us. We flew back onto Ripcord and walked off it into "Hell's Kitchen" several times. Our mission was to suppress the incoming mortar, rocket propelled grenade (RPG), and small arms fire by eliminating enemy positions. Our young Officers would call-in Artillery and Bomb Strikes on spotted enemy positions that we couldn't reach. On July 23rd, 1970 it was decided that FSB Ripcord was to be closed down and all equipment and forces extracted. Alpha Company was securing the firebase perimeter. Delta Company was assigned to rescue Bravo Company who was pinned down in a heavy battle on Hill 1000. And Charlie Company had been moved back to Camp Evans the evening before and was the designated stand-by Ready-Reaction force. We were told to load-up heavily with smalls arm ammo and frag's. At the chopper pads at Camp Evans, we stood ready to leave at a moments notice if needed to redirect the enemy's attention in support of the extraction. It was an absolutely unbelieveable day as we sat next to the chopper pads watching the events unfold. The scene was like something straight out of a old war movie, with waves of Chinooks and Hueys carrying in returning equipment and troopers in from FSB Ripcord. Many of the choppers were all shot-up and damaged from mortar fire while making their pickup's of troops on Ripcord. The Battalion Commander, Col. Adrea Lucas was killed that day along with many other killed and wounded US casualities. All the troops of 2nd/506th were great soldiers on that day. Luckily Charlie Co. was not deployed out that day. After the extraction of FSB Ripcord it was bombed with B-52 strikes (Arc Lights) day & night for a two weeks straight. We deployed out several days later and spent a lot of time checking out the bombed out targets around the area. We had a number of firefights, but most the NVA forces had pulled back over the ridgeline into the Ashua Valley refuge area. The North Vietnamese Army had suffered very heavy losses during July of 1970.
Over the course of the next several months, things were a lot quieter than our first two weeks in Vietnam. Richard had the respect of the men in his Squad, and was well liked by almost everyone that he met. His colorful character kept us all laughing. We continued to work in the mountianous jungle terrain with sporatic contact from time to time. Richard had several bad infections of cellulitus and he was finally pulled out of the field and assigned a rear job at the 326 Charlie Medical Unit at Camp Evans. This worked out very well for Richard because he had some medical training before being drafted into the Army. It also worked out well for the guys in Charlie Company because Richard quickly became our "Go-To Guy" in the rear area. We would chat together on the radio late at night and Richard would take care of many rear area problems for the men of Charlie Company while we were stuck out in the field. You see, Richard never forgot what it like to be a "Grunt" stuck out there in the field. He jumped at the chance to help out any Charlie Company guy that he could. At times, when we were being pulled out of the field for a Stand-Down, just a early radio call into Richard would have a party ready for us when we arrived. He was great at putting together a good time! He served out the rest of his tour with the 326 Charlie Med at Camp Evans. And many of the men in C/2/506th will never forget his service to them.
It is only now, during my search to relocate Richard, that I find out that he passed-away in 1995. What the hell!! That's 15 years ago, he was only 46 years old! We only lived about 50 miles away from each other. You can't imagine how saddened and bad I feel to learn of his passing. If you are reading this memorial story today...let this story be a lesson to you. If you haven't talked with your old buddies in a while....pickup the phone "now" and give them a call. We never know what destiny has in place for us tomorrow....
My deepest appologies old buddy, for not keeping our friendship close and alive.
Randy Parmley, a friend and old "Nam Buddy" of Richard V. Bedolla
Richard & Randy...Young new cherry NCO's on FSB O'Reilly
Richard, out in front of Charlie Med
Shep, Richard, & Jeff Hudson "SG"
Parmley, Richard, & "Shep" (Shepard)
"Thank you brother for a job well done". Until we meet again my friend ..... "Currahee"......"Stands Alone"
Send your comments, write-ups, and info for posting to ... firstname.lastname@example.org