Cloyde C Pinson Jr

Rank:

E3

MOS:

Year(s) in Nam:

Unit:

Delta 1/5

Contact Info Available?:

No

Status:

KIA 05/12/67

Jr. was in my squad as I was close to rotating home in November '66. I would guess it was sometime in early October when we were on a hill overlooking the Ho Chi Minh trail coming out of Laos. It was a peaceful evening as we sat together on the edge of our hole just watching the sun set in the west. Talking about "the world" and life in general, plans for going home - the usual direction one takes to forget the war. All of a sudden, Jr. breaks down and sobs nearly uncontrollably. I was shocked. Then he said; "I ain't gonna make it when you old guys leave." I tried to reassure him that he'd be just fine.
Jump ahead now to sometime after my discharge in January 1968 - probably February, March. I return home to find the LEATHERNECK magazine in the mail. In the "mail call" section is a notice from a Cloyde C. Pinson Sr., wanting to hear from anyone who knew his son before his death on May 12, 1967. That was the first time I knew he was KIA. I anguished over contacting him for a few days before I got up the courage to call. Our chat was cordial although a bit tense. He wanted to know if I had any pictures of Jr. I told him I wasn't sure but would check and get back with him. It turned out I had no pictures but I lost the magazine and didn't keep his phone number. I thought, Christ, let it rest - go on with life. But it bothered me that I didn't return a call to him. Remember, this is 1968.
Now, jump ahead to 1994. I attend a 1st Division reunion in Indianapolis along with a friend who was with us and lived just 15 miles south of Indianapolis, Bill "Rudy" Rednour. Another guy, Nash Contreras, (wives included & my daughter) came down from Chicago. We all stayed at Bills house between the festivities and had a wonderful four days. Bill, Nash and I were in the same squad along with Cloyde Jr. One night, all the ladies had went to bed, we were looking at some of Bill's 35mm slides. All of a sudden up pops a picture of Cloyde Jr.!!!! I called a halt to the slide showing and told Bill I wanted every picture he had of Jr., relaying the contact I had with his father. Bill and Nash both said I was taking a long shot at trying to find him after more than 27 years. I knew that, but I also knew I had a promise to keep. If not to Cloyde Jr., at least to his father.
I took the slides (3 of them) home and had a photo shop turn them into prints. The came the task of finding Cloyde sr.
All I could recall was Dallas, Texas. I called information and they had a Cloyde Sr. in Irving - had to be him. When I called (nervous as hell), a woman answered. After explaining myself she said that she indeed was the mother of Cloyde Jr. but Sr. wasn't home at the time although he was expected any minute. She took my number and was certain her husband would want to talk to me. She didn't recall the conversation in 1968. I took the phone off the hook and told my wife, Peggy to leave it that way until I returned from the post office. I was going to mail the pictures and wanted to be able to tell Mr. Pinson that, after 27 years, they were finally in the mail.
We have since become good friends, I'm proud to say. He told me in a letter that he learned of his son's death on the car radio while driving home from work. When I read that, my wife and I both cried. How callous of the news media not to wait until all notification was verified? He said further on in the letter that he drove home in a daze and refused to believe it until he turned on the street to his home and saw far to many cars in front of his house.

Excerpts from a letter sent to me by Jon Johnson 01/20/01 
Q; Glad to get your email. I have all the proper equipment, but I'm a novice
at the computer. I'll try to scan some things to you, but may wind up mailing
it. By the way, you can add an "SR" to Cloyde's name, it's official as is the
SR on my name. I have looked over your site and I think its great! I am
copying Jon Johnson because he knew Cloyde Jr. in Vietnam, you may want to hook
up with him.
From Cloyde's Father 01/20/01
 

 

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