Wow. After my post/column appeared on theHuffington Post about the death of Randy Campbell and Carl Wenzel, a marine who served with them left this long message on the site. What surprised me was that after the column appeared I heard a lot more from from veterans of the Vietnam and both Iraqi wars than from cancer survivors.
Here is the message/post left by Wayne Bradley:
"Murray, My name is Wayne E. Bradley. I served with Randy Campbell in Vietnam in 1965. On the day he was killed I was the one to find his body the next morning.
"It was true that his hands, his feet, chunks of legs, chest, and face [were gone.] He was laying on his bag when i found him covered in maggots.
"To this day I believe that he jumped on the grenade and not tripped it by mistake but John Chambers who was with him at the time he died thought for 20 years that he had shot his partner to death with an M14. 20 years later I told him there were no bullet holes in his body which relieved his mind.
"The story I was told by John Chambers was that they were done setting the grenades and Campbell had told Chambers to go get the guns. At that time Chambers heard some noise and looked back. There were 2 Viet Congs, at that time they threw 2 grenades 1 at each person. I believe that Chamebrs rolled away from his grenade and got fragments in his back. At the same time I believe Randy either had the grenade land by his and set off both, or he either jumped on the grenades at the same time.
"I don't know if there will be a way to prove what happened that day.
"However, I believe that it was an heroic act that they tried to do to set up an early warning system and again, its good to hear Steve Carlson's name because he was in my fire team in Vietnam. He was a good marine. We are going to have a reunion in San Diego on September 20th of 2006, this year. I have been looking for Campbell for a long time. And I think of him many days. He was quite a person. And a good friend.
"Yours Truly, Wayne Bradley."