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View a eulogy for David Reynolds Wilson, USMA '66, who passed away on March 30, 1968.

David Reynolds Wilson

West Point, 1966

Be Thou At Peace

Posted by Ed Wright on May 10, 2009:

Wils is long gone from our veil of tears. For two years as cadets in A-4 we shared our trials, travails and small triumphs before we graduated from the Cadet Gray of West Point into the "real world" of Army Blue/Cami's,and imminent commitment to the combat raging in Vietnam. Wils always seemed to me the unlikely warrior. He consistantly deflected unpleasantness with a self-deprecating chuckle and followed by a funny story, never in my recollection, to the expense of anyone but himself. To think of him as an infantry lieutenant in the raging combat of Tet '68 is anomalous; such a realization actually drives my thoughts to wonder about what his adversaries, the VC and NVA, thought; if in other times they might have shared a Vietnamese beer or small swig of rice wine in some tiny hamlet with Wils. Even now I cannot reconstruct their perceptions, but I would begin with Thomas Hardy's similar effort as a guide post to understanding in "The Man He Killed," but then, I might have questioned why I went to war so easily:

'HAD he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have set us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin!

'But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.

'I shot him dead because--
Because he was my foe,
Just so: my foe of course he was;
That's clear enough; although

'He thought he'd 'list, perhaps,
Off-hand like--just as I--
Was out of work--had sold his traps--
No other reason why.

'Yes; quaint and curious war is!
You shoot a fellow down
You'd treat, if met where any bar is,
Or help to half a crown.'


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