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View a eulogy for Vichai Kongsuvan, USMA '64, who passed away on March 2, 2013.

Vichai Kongsuvan

West Point, 1964

Be Thou At Peace

Posted by LeRoy Graw on July 30, 2013:

Vichai Kongsuvan, the world will not be the same without you!! For I know no one who did not consider you a friend!!

Vichai came to the Class of 1964 with what most of us would consider a distinguished background in its own right. As a student at the Royal Thai Military Academy and a member of one of leading Military families in Thailand you had "Stars in Store" even before Superintendent William Westmoreland negotiated with our class on that "class motto".

Vichai was in Company L-1 his first two years at the Academy, and, like many of us, survived a rough and tough Plebe Year. His math skills were so vast, he tutored many Yearlings as a Plebe, an almost unheard of situation. He was a skilled boxer; fast feet, faster hands, and a bob and weave style that made him impossible to hit. He was the very best boxer in his Plebe Boxing class.

Vichai loved music. As a Yearling, when we were allowed to have a record player in our rooms, he played Broadway musical scores often. He loved singing to the songs in his native Thai language.

I was fortunate at West Point to have Vichai as a company mate in M-1 during our last two years at the Academy. I remember him as quiet, studious, and introspective. I also found him committed to his Buddhist religion, notwithstanding the fact he had to attend Protestant Chapel with us every Sunday! Vichai was ever ready to help those of us in need of tutoring, particularly since his mathematics, engineering, and physical science background exceeded ours to a major degree!

At West Point, Vichai had an innate sense of his destiny as a senior officer in the Royal Thai Army. During my discussions with him, he indicated an unswerving dedication to that duty and destiny. This vision precluded him from any act which would detract from his family's and his country's honor and reputation. Those of us "backsliders" in the class found him ever a model to emulate.

After graduation, I had two opportunities to see Vichai. In 1966 I took "R&R" in Bangkok and was fortunate to spend a few days in Vichai's "family home". It was then principally occupied by his brother's family while Vichai was posted to "Laos". Vichai was facing the same war we were facing in Vietnam but "from the other side of the border". Vichai had a few days to "show me around" in order to fortify me for my return back to Cu Chi and the 25th ID.

A few years later I saw Vichai when he was posted as attache to the Thai Embassy in Washington, DC. This time he was with his wife, Jintana and family, and my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with his family. Upon our departure from DC back to Fort Lee, Virginia, Vichai gifted me with a Thai doll that "scares the evil spirits away". There have been more than a few of those in the interim, and I am sure that doll worked it magic upon more than one occasion.

From the "Ward Book", we know Vichai retired in October 1999 as a (4 Star) General, Royal Thai Army. In the Ward Book he mentions he served as a Senator in the Thai Legislature for a short period after his retirement. Vichai has two surviving daughters and 4 surviving grandchildren.

From the Ward Book we learn that Vichai was most proud of his service in establishment of the THAHARN PRARN paramilitary force, which was instrumental in combating Communist forces in Laos, Cambodia, and Northern Thailand. Vichai believes this was one of the three key factors that "stopped Thailand from falling under the "Domino Theory" during the Communist War".

From those of us who had the privilege to know him well, we wish him "Godspeed" and may he rest in peace.

Dr. LeRoy H. Graw

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