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View a eulogy for Robert Frank Serio, USMA '64, who passed away on April 17, 1968.

Robert Frank Serio

West Point, 1964

Be Thou At Peace

Posted by Ed Roby on March 18, 2003:

Whenever I read the name Bob Serio, I stop to think. I can't get anything done for a while. Ken Bloomfield and I had a brief chat about what might have been. It was during that reunion in September 1999. We were standing in front of Bob Serio's gravestone at the West Point cemetery in heavy rain.

Bob and I were friends. We come from adjacent neighborhoods in the Bronx. He attended the Catholic high school that was the rival of my Catholic high school. We were appointed by the same congressman. Even our families got to know one another through that West Point connection. At the academy Bob and I used to go over to the gym once in a while to wrestle, until he proved to me that he was a much better wrestler. That was the way with him. Actually, he was better than most people at nearly everything. It all seem to come effortlessly. You could only admire that talent.

The story Ken Bloomfield told about Bob's last St. Patrick's Day is a lot like a story I can share. I lost contact with Bob Serio in the few years after our graduation. The next time we met was March 1968 in the midst of the Tet offensive. I had Co. C, 2/2 Infantry. We were called back out of the field to protect the Big Red One forward command post at Lai Khe, which was being mortared and rocketed twice a day. Bob Serio's divisional unit, 1/4 Cavalry, had been put in charge of the defense of Lai Khe, basically a fortified rubber plantation with a Vietnamese village in the middle of it, so that when something happened you could draw fire from within and without. I was summoned to 1/4 TOC to get my operating orders for the next day. The guy giving the orders happened to be the deputy S3, Bob Serio.

During the next week we would meet like this regularly and even talk of old times. And Bob would tell me how lucky I was to have my company and how frustrated he was to be wasting valuable time in a staff job when he so desparately wanted to take command. I wished him luck and our units parted company. Bob soon got whatever it is they call a company in the cavalry. The next I heard was the sketchy report of that incident along the Song Dong Ngai in which a VC tank-killer team with RPG and AK47 sneaked up on Bob's unit and singled out the command track. I didn't want to believe this. Of all the people I knew, it seem like Bob had been destined to go on to do the very biggest things. I had believed that he led a charmed life. He was a guy I would have followed.

My mother and father went to the funeral at West Point. They passed on some poignantly sad descriptions: the closed casket, the desolate condition of Bob's beautiful fianc?who could not stop crying. In our family we've have often thereafter talked about the stoicism of Bob's mother and father and how this must have hit them. He had had such promise. It was plain for everyone to see. It must be true that God calls first those of us He loves most.

Len. do me a favor and send this along to whereever it is suppose to go. I can't write anymore.

Best regards,
Ed Roby

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