Valle Vista man saw his squad leader die in Vietnam

Nearly 50 years later, Veradt stands with his squad leader’s family

Valle Vista’s Rick Veradt, center, stands with the brothers of his squad leader from Vietnam. Nearly 50 years ago, Veradt was there when his squad leader died in the conflict.

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Valle Vista’s Rick Veradt, center, stands with the brothers of his squad leader from Vietnam. Nearly 50 years ago, Veradt was there when his squad leader died in the conflict.

February 18th, 1968

I'm a scared 19-year-old firing at an enemy I cannot see and hoping I don't die. I hear my squad leader cry out, "Veradt! I'm hit!”

I shout for the medic, pull out a bandage and turn to help him, but it is too late. He closes his eyes. He is gone. I wave the medic away and continue the fight.

The next day I help load his body on a chopper, and he is gone.

I leave Vietnam in 1969 and close that period of time somewhere deep in my subconscious where it stayed for nearly 30 years.

Fast forward to 2010

I am looking for my squad leader on the website for the "WALL" (thewall-usa.com). I find him and see there is a place to leave comments. When I look, I have trouble believing what I see. It is a message from his sister with an email address. She wants to know what happened to her big brother. I am not sure what do, but I send an email to her.

After six months I have not heard from her. I send another email and she answers within hours. After a flurry of emails I call and talk to the sister and five brothers, who also served. A bond is formed and new friends are made without ever seeing each other.

Oct. 17, 2017

I finally make it to Washington, D.C. I am standing at panel E40 and looking at line 10 where the name of Staff Sargent Robert L. Mosley is etched. Standing next to me are John and Grady Mosley, Robert’s brothers. After nearly 50 years the circle is closed. Rest in Peace, Sarge.

Richard Veradt, Valle Vista, 19 Aug 66 to 26 Oct 69, Army E-5

Bronze Star with “V” device and Oak Leaf cluster, Purple Heart, Air Medal, CIB, Vietnam Service Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, Vietnam Campaign Medal with 7 battle stars among others.