Saturday, April 18, 2020

Arizona XXVI

While visiting the high school in Bisbee, the Principal told me about one of their graduates who had been a sports star at the school. He went on to explain that they had a memorial of sorts to him over in the gym area.

He was killed in Vietnam.

His name was Leonard Carabeo and was a track star. In fact, his team won the New Mexico State Championship in 1967, not too long before he shipped off to Vietnam.

The memorial, just outside the gym, has his letter jacket and some medals.

A picture of the team, that's him holding the trophy

It also has this picture of him, perhaps in 'Nam.

I found a letter on the Wall of Faces tribute page. It was written be a guy he was in training with in the Marine Corps.

Here is an excerpt:

"Leonard loved to run. He would smile from ear to ear while we were making 3 mile runs with rifles and full combat gear. He told me he could have attended college on a track scholarship, be he decided to enlist to help support his family. Our Drill instructors hated to see anyone smiling. Smiling meant you were enjoying something and that was forbidden in Boot Camp. At the end of one of our daily runs, everyone in the platoon was sweating and trying to catch our breath. Everyone except Leonard, he was standing at the back of the formation just looking around and smiling. One of the Drill Instructors saw Leonard smiling and decided to teach him a lesson. He told Leonard "If you enjoyed that little trip, we can make sure you have more fun". He got another Drill instructor and told him to run with Leonard around the entire perimeter of the San Diego Recruit Depot. A while later Leonard came trotting in to the platoon area with a smile on his face and a puffing and panting Drill Instructor following behind. The Senior Drill instructor went berserk. He got another DI to run Leonard around the perimeter again. It wasn't long and Leonard was standing back in our area with a smile on his face. Now, the Senior DI decided to take charge. He changed into his utility pants and t-shirt, put on his Smokey the Bear hat and took off running around the perimeter with Leonard following behind. Soon, Leonard was back, but the Senior DI wasn't even in sight. Leonard stood around for a while and finally one of the other DIs just told him to get back to his squad. After that episode, the DIs didn't mess with Leonard when he smiled."

Sounds like quite a guy. Semper Fi, Marine.

Join me next time, on the 23rd, when we revisit California. Join me there at 9:00am, as always.

To see additional memorials from Arizona, or any other state, please click the state name on the left side of this page.

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