TRIBUTE TO MEDIC RALPH BLACKERBY

 

 

According to the 35th Inf Regt Assn profile on Ralph Blackerby, it lists him as being killed by friendly fire. It was the battle of Dien Truong.  "A" Co had been pinned down in an open rice field, "B" Company did a combat assault on a hill overlooking the village.  I had 4.2 mortar, 105mm howitzers, and perhaps 8 inch arty going into it.   I had the FAC put in 4 air strikes before dark. I recall that a Chinook came in and dropped a hook load of LAWs to shoot into the village.  "A" Company got out of the rice field when two napalms fell short.  That night we had Puff raking the village, we had the front line marked with trip flares, but I am sure Puff could not see it that well.  It sounded like a buzz saw when we were hit.  Ralph immediately put a field dressing on one of the guys hit in the arm, Ralph was saying, "you will be OK",  and calmed him down.  Someone said "Are you hit too, Ralph?"  Ralph felt his chest and said words to the effect, "God, I am hit too"; he then died, just like that.  He was a brave Cacti, looking out for his Cacti brother first. To me, he showed all of us what a true man was. I am told if you say a man's name, he will never be forgotten so Ralph, we all remember you.

Lt Don Keith

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