John Charles Odle

Private First Class
United States Marine Corps
30 August 1950 - 24 February 1969
Litchfield, IL
Panel 31W Line 038


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for John Charles Odle

09 Jan 2004

I wrote this story, knowing that if he could have written this letter this is what it would have said.

Dear Mom and Dad,

We went out on patrol last night. The whole patrol was scared this time, we had heard that Viet Cong were making a stand at the river and they wanted us to go find out. As I walked thru the jungle my thoughts kept turning to all of you at home.

I think we all were thinking of the same thing. Soon we all started talking about what we all were going to do when we got home. My buddy Frank said we all should open a bar together when we get back to the world. We all joked about it as we walked, and it seemed to make us all feel better.

None of us saw it coming, it was just a pop, not very loud, like a firecracker.

I looked over at Frank to ask him what it was and I saw Frank lying on the ground, he wasn't moving. God someone help him, but it was too late. Frank died on that piece of ground in Vietnam.

Frank was 19 years old, all he wanted was to go home and open that bar. A few minutes later we heard more of those firecrackers it seemed to be coming from all around us, no one knew what to do. We all started firing back shooting wildly, hoping to just get out of it alive.

I'm so sorry Mom and Dad all I wanted was to make you proud of me. I didn't mean to do it, I didn't mean to I'm so very sorry please forgive me.

I didn't mean to die on that piece of ground in Vietnam.

This story is dedicated to my cousin John, and to all the Johnnys that didn't come home. May God keep you in his arms.

When you think of of them, think of them with honor and respect. They didn't ask to die. All they wanted was to come home. Support our fighting men and women, for the job they do, they do for all of us. FREEDOM AND LIBERTY. GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.

Brian Forrester
Written April 18, 2002
Copyrighted 2002

Taken from

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009