1st Lieutenant Frank A. Rybicki, Jr. - Platoon Leader

A Company, 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry, 2nd Brigade

Bien Hoa Province - May 9, 1967

Alpha Company | Page 1 | Page 2

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Message to Milt Estralla and Bill Reynolds from Dino Barkema - May 28, 2001 ...

Thanks to both of you for helping me get through this Memorial Day.  Just got an email from James Rybicki, Frank's younger brother.  First time I have heard from him. He must be about 45 years old now. Last time I saw him he was about 8 years old.  I thought I would pass his e-mail on to you two.

Thanks again,

        Dino Barkema

Message to Dino Barkema from James Rybicki - May 28, 2001...

As this Memorial Day wanes, I thought I'd send every one of my special friends a warm greeting, a heartfelt thanks to those who took part, or participated in even the most minute way, in the day's events.  I, also, wanted to share with all of you some very meaningful words I came across that made me stop, ponder and remember.....

God Bless All of You,

          Jim Rybicki

The things they Carried....

They carried P-38 can openers and heat tabs, watches and dog tags, insect repellent, gum, cigarettes, Zippo lighters, salt tablets, compress bandages, ponchos, Kool-Aid, two or three canteens of water, iodine tablets, sterno, LRRP- rations, and C-rations stuffed in socks. The carried standard fatigues, jungle boots, bush hats, flak jackets and steel pots. They carried the M-16 assault rifle.

They carried trip flares and Claymore mines, M-60 machine guns, the M-79 grenade launcher, M-14's, CAR-15's, Stoners, Swedish K's, 66mm Laws, shotguns, .45 caliber pistols, silencers, the sound of bullets, rockets, and choppers, and sometimes the sound of silence. They carried C-4 plastic explosives, an assortment of hand grenades, PRC-25 radios, knives and machetes.  Some carried napalm, CBU's and large bombs; some risked their lives to rescue others. Some escaped the fear, but dealt with the death and damage.

Some made very hard decisions, and some just tried to survive. They carried malaria, dysentery, ringworms and leaches. They carried the land itself as it hardened on their boots. They carried stationery, pencils, and pictures of their loved ones - real and imagined. They carried love for people in the real world and love for one another. And sometimes they disguised that love: "Don't mean nothin'!" They carried memories for the most part, they carried themselves with poise and a kind of dignity. Now and then, there were times when panic set in, and people squealed or wanted to, but couldn't; when they twitched and made moaning sounds and covered their heads and said "Dear God" and hugged the earth and fired their weapons blindly and cringed and begged for the noise to stop and went wild and made stupid promises to themselves and God and their parents, hoping not to die.

They carried the traditions of the United States military, and memories and images of those who served before them. They carried grief, terror, longing and their reputations. They carried the soldier's greatest fear: the embarrassment of dishonor.  They crawled into tunnels, walked point, and advanced under fire, so as not to die of embarrassment. They were afraid of dying, but too afraid to show it.  They carried the emotional baggage of men and women who might die at any moment. They carried the weight of the world.

THEY CARRIED EACH OTHER!

                              Author Unknown

Memorial by Sr. Therese Ann Ridge (AKA Mary)...

I remember Frank from my early childhood years and into high school graduation.  I remember in St. Mary's School the day that Frank went to Albrook AFB.  He had won a contest and I believe he got Armistice Day off. He had a very loving and jovial spirit.  Frank, I recall, was very intelligent.  Someone said that Frank had put together a ham radio.  He himself was a "ham"! I remember when he led a group of us across the football field in Coco Solo one night.  He had made up some catchy tune.  Besides the guitar, I remember Frank played the harmonica - highly gifted and used his gifts!  Frank was a leader in many ways. He set high standards for himself and we knew it. Frank became an officer and was always a gentleman.  1966-67 I was working for the U. S. Army at Madden Wye when I heard of Frank's death. It jolted & rejolted me. I teared my way through the Memorial Day Services at Corozal, and when the dedication of the street in Cardenas came, I was there too. Oh, my God, how could I absent myself from this honor!!  I recall another dear friend who attended that  day - Barbara Coy.  It was moving and I appreciated that they paid him that honor.

And now as a hospital chaplain in McAllen, Texas, I never meet a veteran that I don't pause to thank them and tell them the special place they own in my heart. Sometimes they are patients, other times they wear a cap which gives them away. And of course, I think of Frank and others I don't know who may not have made it back that shared our child and teen-hood days.  I still remember our BHS '62 Motto: "Onward ever, backward never. In ourselves our future lies."

Frank trusted in God as he lived out his faith.  Christian faith says WE WILL SEE FRANK AGAIN AND WE WILL ALL REJOICE!!

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