Zisko, Richard Joseph, CPL

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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Field Artillery
Last Primary MOS
13A10-Field Artillery Basic
Last MOS Group
Field Artillery (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1969-1969, 13A10, A Battery, 1st Battalion (Cadre) 30th Field Artillery Regiment
Service Years
1968 - 1969


One Overseas Service Bar

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Home State
Year of Birth
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Casualty Info
Home Town
North Olmsted , OH
Last Address
North Olmsted , OH

Casualty Date
Aug 12, 1969
Hostile, Died
Multiple Fragmentation Wounds
Tay Ninh (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Calvary Cemetery - Cleveland, Ohio
Wall/Plot Coordinates
19W 027/Section 64, Lot 1004, Grave 2

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Vietnam Veterans MemorialThe National Gold Star Family Registry
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  To My Best Friend
Feb 5, 2002

Last Updated:
Aug 29, 2018

To My Best Friend

Ronald W. Carter
In the eighteenth year of my tender life,
Little did I know of war and strife.
At an age I should have been starting a career,
Being at home with my family and friends so dear.
Awakening to life, I found myself amidst a war
That definitely would change my life forevermore!
Like others, I was maiming and killing an enemy
With faces and names not known to me.
My comrades are yelling and falling all around,
Someone hollering, "A medevac chopper is on the ground!"
They try to save both life and limb,
Giving hope, even when hope is dim.
Oh, how the winds of war did blow.
Sights of life not even my imagination would know.
What a price this nation and mankind must pay,
A heavy price, yes, for freedom we enjoy today.
Back at home, there's another knock on the door,
A sad report of another soldier that is no more.
Whether it's a mother, father, sister or lover,
The brokeness of their hearts will never recover.
Hurting, they try to reason out why
Their soldier, so special, had to die.
"LZ Becky" it was given a name,
A place only select soldiers came.
Many lives had the cold enemy claimed,
So "Hot LZ" it was rightfully renamed.
One late night, while I was on patrol,
I observed the VC trying to take control.
Loud, shaking the ground, a rocket blasts here!
Lighting the night, a mortar made seeing clear.
My eyes see the flash, my ears hear a definite thud,
Awakening, I find myself face-first in the mud.
Wait! Something is wrong. My side and my arm,
Blood, lots of blood, my senses are in alarm.
The pain and anger are mixed as one,
I ask myself, "What have they done?"
Confused, I want to cry or yell,
Most of all to run like hell!
I hear voices --- could it be VC?
No, because that's English they're talking to me.
It wasn't a dream, I'm all banged up.
They're flying me to the rear to get patched up.
The wounds within and on the outside are bittersweet,
Three weeks in the rear --- with a grating feeling of defeat.
I must hide the damage from my folks at home,
What will I say? "Nothing is wrong." or "Leave me alone."
Thoughts are confusing me as they pass through my head.
Even now I think, "I could very well be dead."
The guilt of surviving while others had died
Is always, always eating away at my pride.
Thoughts are better as I get letters from home:
They love and miss me, I'm not alone.
Visions of mountains and prairies so green.
Oh, this jungle, I so wish I'd never seen!
Life back home just has to be so serene,
Now to me, it's only just a dream.
Remote from the horror, their minds couldn't perceive.
Confused now, I don't know what to believe.
We are all heroes! Oh, how we can fight!
Yet our blood runs both day and night.
"For what, for what?" my spirit cries out!
No government official can respond to the shout.
"What atrocity?" you'll hear them ask.
In disbelief or disconcern their response will bask.
Their pockets are full from the wages of war;
Content, they close their ears to more.
At last, I can see some sparkling of hope,
Only a mere thirty days! Can I cope?
Home at last, but can't they even see
The pain and anguish hiding within me?
"It's okay, just leave it behind.
Get on with life and into the grind."
I feel tenseness and even guilt to bare
When an employer asks, "Were you over there?"
I served my country, well and with pride,
But now I feel like I must hide.
I'm not alone, many more have served.
Please be gentle, with judgments reserved.
Like you, we are people who have done a task.
Don't let our self esteem melt is all we ask.
We just want acceptance, for the life we've felt,
It's a bad hand we've been dealt.

With brotherly love, admiration for his courage, and a very deep sense of loss: to my best friend, Richard J. "Richie" Zisko, CPL, A Battery, 1/30 Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division, KIA 12 August 1969, LZ Becky, Tay Ninh Province, RVN.
� 1999 Ronald W. Carter
Posted by: Ronald W. Carter
Relationship: We served together
Tuesday, February 5, 2002

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