Rollie Lee Bolden

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
25 June 1942 - 17 November 1965
Albany, Oregon
Panel 03E Line 070

Combat Infantry

Bronze Star, Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Rollie Lee Bolden

03 Aug 2005

"But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!"
- Lord Alfred Tennyson -

Oh, Rollie - such a long time gone and yet always here.

I remember how young you were.

You were a child of the times - you loved Elvis, drove a fast car and would often strike a pose like James Dean. Mixed with all of this, you always had a quick wit and joke for everyone. The glow in your eyes showed an excitement about all the world. I cannot look at a young boy's face beaming with promise and potential without thinking of you.

I remember how curious you were.

The long good summer before you went away, Dad took us to the Atlantic Ocean for the first time and, for the first time, I got to spend a whole vacation with you, my older brother. We went along the beaches and wondered at the name of every shell, fish or creature we collected or saw. We went deep-sea fishing and tried to imagine the unseen giants below us. We went skin diving and rousted up a small shark from the reef. I still have the photo of you and I pretending to hold up the bent palm tree. I cannot look at the ocean today without thinking of you.

You had received a telescope the Christmas before you left and you had all of the stars memorized - so we would stay up all night while you pointed them out to me and, until dawn, we would talk of the meaning and purpose to life. I cannot look upon a starry night without thinking of you.

I remember how kind you were.

While you were in Viet Nam, you once wrote about helping villagers; you stopped to carry two huge baskets with the traditional shoulder yolk for a very elderly woman. When you lifted the baskets, you said your knees buckled and you quaked under the load. Your buddies howled and all of the little children of the village giggled as the toothless old woman laughed and simply lifted the yolk and tottered away. In your letter, you laughed at yourself, lamented about how difficult life was for these simple folks and wrote that someday you would like to work at helping people in general - it was shortly after that you said you would perhaps like to be a minister when you returned home. I cannot look upon an act of kindness without thinking of you.

When we learned of your death, it was of no surprise that the note accompanying your Bronze Star simply stated that you had been killed while repeatedly returning to help the wounded.

Oh Rollie, such a bright angel you must have become - so far away and so close at heart.

Your loving brother,

SP4 Rollie Bolden
died in the fighting in the
Ia Drang Valley
November 1965.

Visit the
Landing Zone X-Ray site

and The Virtual Wall's
Ia Drang Memorial

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his brother,
Paul L. Bolden
03 Aug 2005

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 11/22/2005