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View a eulogy for Gordon Talmage Kimbrell, USMA '66, who passed away on June 11, 1970.

Gordon Talmage Kimbrell

West Point, 1966

Be Thou At Peace

Posted by George Crocker on March 29, 2013:

Gordon was my classmate, my dear friend, my Ranger buddy and fellow Infantry lieutenant in Vietnam. I think of him often and shall forever miss him. He was always calm in the face of adversity and inspired confidence in his men and those around him. He was unshakeable despite the challanges of Ranger 3-66 or the horrors of Vietnam. He was a true friend, loyal and forgiving; fun loving and dignified in all he undertook. I often sought and took his counsel on a variety of subjects.

Our "Ranger Buddy" picture taken in the field in Florida has a prominent place in my home. I look at it daily and recall those tough yet happy times. We were two skinny kids sleep and food-deprived, yet almost able to smile. He was wearing his trademark horn-rimmed glasses and his expression seemed to say "Are you kidding me-a photographer in the patrol base?"

Once in Florida "Ranger Kimbrell" and I fell asleep around an allowable "tactical fire"; Gordie must have rolled into the coals, as he was awakened to find his patrol cap half burned away and missing a large chunk of hair. In typical fashion he made a wise crack and went back to sleep.

During our first tour to Vietnam Gordon was in Bravo company 3d Battalion 47th (Riverine) Infantry, 9th Infantry Division; I was in Charlie company. On a daytime sweep we took machine gun fire from a hooch in open rice paddies. His platoon and mine happened to be adjacent, on line behind the same rice paddy dike when his company commander, Capt Minter, called in gunships. The lead ship overflew the hooch, confirmed the target with a red smoke. Then, to our amazement, the B-Model Huey gunship rolled in and strafed down the friendly rice-dike line in Bravo company's sector. Several of Gorden's soldiers were wounded by mini-gun fire. He calmly and efficiently evaced the wounded, consolidated, resumed action as we eleminated the hooch and its enemy soldiers.

On another occasion, we listened in horror as Gordon's lone ambush platoon was surrounded and under attack by a large force but was saved by Gordon's directing fire from an AC-47, callsign "Spooky 41".

He had been directed to stop in daylight and "bait" the enemy by appearing lax; taking off shirts and helmets, appearing to sleep and playing the MACV music radio station loudly. Idea was to tempt the enemy into attacking an easy target. Come dark it worked-the enemy took the bait.

Having the old radio series, the AC-47 required a PRC-25 to be in the squelch-off mode in order to communicate. None of us knew that until that night. After a few very tense minutes, comms were established, the enemy's attack was broken. We were all in awe of Gordon's calm radio direction and actions. There was never a doubt he would prevail.

None of us will ever forget the man, the friend, the leader and the officer's officer. He was killed leading infantry soldiers as a company commander on his second tour during the infamous Parrot's Beak cross-border operation in June of 1970. I pray he "found a soldier's resting place beneath a soldier's blow-with room enough beside his grave for all of us in the spirit of Benny Havens, Oh" May God Bless and keep Gordon T. Kimbrell.


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