This page was last updated on 19 January 2016.
You are listening to "Welcome to My World" as you read about my special heroes.
Although I was born in Schaghticoke, New York I lived in the northern part of Troy--known as Lansingburgh--during my school years. Many of my friends and classmates were sent to Vietnam during the war. Three of them didn't return alive. To me they will always be My Three Heroes.
Raymond W Tymeson Jr. was born in Troy on 29 March 1948. (Years ago I read that his birth date was 31 March 1948 but thanks to Bob Smith, one of Ray's other friends, I now know he was born on 29 March 1948.) His family was Catholic while mine was Protestant. Ray attended Catholic schools and was an altar boy in church. He loved sports especially baseball.
After graduating from Catholic Central High School in Lansingburgh he joined the Marines in 1967. After training he was sent to Vietnam in 1968. Doug Stewart met him in Vietnam. He sent me these photos of Ray that were taken at Phu Loc 6. They may very well be the last pictures to be taken of my friend.
Nine months after arriving in-country Ray's Company B, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division came under intense fire near DaNang and they were caught in an ambush. Ray was sent to knock out an machine gun. He was caught in enemy machine gun crossfire and shot in both of his legs as well as his neck. One of the bullets severed his carotid artery. Two medics tried to save him, one of them was killed also.
Ray was a 20 year old Lance Corporal when he died on 2 December 1968 in QuangNam Province. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star. His remains were returned to Troy where he was buried on Christmas Eve. Ray's name can be found on Panel 37W Line 22 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He is buried in St. Peter's Cemetery in Troy, NY. Bob Smith, who went to high school with me and was also Ray's friend, visited Ray's gravesite in June 2008 and sent me these photos of it--just click on them to enlarge:
Paul J Baker, born on 23 August 1948 in Troy, was also Catholic. He was the valedictorian from Catholic Central High School. He received a full tuition scholarship to Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But during his second year at college he quit and enlisted in the Marines. He was enroute to Vietnam.
The 9th Marines were north of DaNang in QuangTri Province. Paul's unit encountered the enemy and was in a running gun battle for five days.
Paul was a corporal at 21 when he died on 29 March 1969. His name is located on Panel 28W Line 78 on The Wall.
Catholic Central High School's Class of 1966 collected $2,000 to start the Tymeson-Baker Memorial Scholarship fund.
Peter M Guenette came into this world in Troy on 4 January 1948. He graduated from Catholic Central High School in 1965 and enlisted in the Army in 1967. He too was headed for Vietnam. For some reason I thought Pete went to LaSalle Institute, a military school in Troy, but a couple of folks have told me differently and thus I have made this update. I'm sorry for this error. Thanks to Bob Ashdown (CCHS-64) and Jack Berkery (CCHS-65) for verifying Pete's info. Bob lived across the street from the Guenette family, was in class with Pete's sister Linda and went to the prom with her and he knew Pete well. Bob even got to see Pete the summer before Pete went into the Army. Meanwhile Jack said that his wife was a good friend of Paul Baker--she was in the CCHS class of '66!
The 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) was in the QuanTanUyen Province. Pete was assigned to Company D of the 2nd Battalion (Abn), 506th Infantry, 3rd Brigade.
Trained as a machine gunner Pete was sent on a mission to assist a LRRP team. They were heavily engaged with a company sized enemy unit that had extensive bunker and tunnel system in the province.
Pete and his assistant gunner were laying down suppression fire to allow the rest of his platoon to move forward. Meanwhile two other soldiers joined Pete to help out. Suddenly an enemy grenade was thrown at them and landed next to Pete. He knew it would kill or wound all of them as well as disable his machine gun. Pete yelled, "GRENADE" and jumped on it. His body absorbed the blast. For his actions that day he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Pete's citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, Sp4c. Guenette distinguished himself while serving as a machine gunner with Company D, during combat operations. While Sp4c. Guenette's platoon was sweeping a suspected enemy base camp, it came under light harassing fire from a well equipped and firmly entrenched squad of North Vietnamese Army regulars which was serving as a delaying force at the entrance to their base camp. As the platoon moved within 10 meters of the fortified positions, the enemy fire became intense. Sp4c. Guenette and his assistant gunner immediately began to provide a base of suppressive fire, ceasing momentarily to allow the assistant gunner time to throw a grenade into a bunker. Seconds later, an enemy grenade was thrown to Sp4c. Guenette's right flank. Realizing that the grenade would kill or wound at least 4 men and destroy the machine gun, he shouted a warning and smothered the grenade with his body, absorbing its blast. Through his actions, he prevented loss of life or injury to at least 3 men and enabled his comrades to maintain their fire superiority. By his gallantry at the cost of his life in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, Sp4c. Guenette has reflected great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
There is now an effort to have a Medal of Honor marker placed on Pete's gravesite. Several folks became involved with this when it was made known that Pete's headstone was from a civilian company and not the military. I'd like to thank Don Morfe for sharing this photo he took of Pete's current headstone. Don and the others are searching for Pete's surviving family to get an approval for this to be done since the cemetery said it will gladly allow it but the family must approve it first. Don added this photo to the Find A Grave site--thanks Don!
Having reached the rank of Specialist 4, Pete was dead at age 20 on 18 May 1968. His name is on The Wall's Panel 62E Line 18.
I'd like to thank Don Morfe for continuing his efforts to get approval for the Medal of Honor marker for Pete's grave. He has been successful at last and sent me these two photos to prove it was done.
Some time ago Randy Adcox contacted me. His Uncle Sammy served with Pete and had some photos he wanted to share with me. Randy's note stated--
My uncle (Sammy Adcox) served with your friend Pete
Guenette in Vietnam. While going through some old pictures my uncle found last
week, we came across a "group" shot of several of the guys who served together
in Vietnam, and Pete was among the group. My uncle's name was originally left
out of the picture (since he was identifying everyone else), but I've since gone
in and edited the picture, and included my uncle's name in the picture. I also
did a "blow up" of Pete that's a little clearer than the image of him in the
"main" picture. One more thing.. I've also got a group picture of the entire
unit taken in Fort Campbell, KY just before they left for Vietnam in 1967. Not
everyone in the group has been identified, but Pete has been, and though it's a
rather larger file (app 2.5 MB) if you'd like a copy of it, I'll be happy to
send it to you. Lastly, I just want you to know that I've had the great pleasure
& honor of talking to several of the men who served with my uncle Sammy & Pete,
and I can tell you that they have nothing but the highest respect for Pete, and
it's been very obvious to me, that he was a well liked fellow by all who served
with him. I've also had the pleasure of telling "Pete's story" several times
over the last few months, and every time I tell his story, the result is always
the same - stunned silence for a moment, and then there's always some sort of
comment like, "WOW! What a hero!". I only wish I had the honor of knowing Pete
while he was alive - I'm certain he was the kind of fellow that I would've been
glad to have known! If you ever have the occasion to speak with any of his
family, please extend my sincere condolences for their loss, and my heart-felt
thanks for the service and sacrifices that Pete made for his country. He was
(and still IS!!) a great example of a trued American hero!
On the left is D Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry before they left Fort Campbell. Pete is standing in the 4th row from the bottom--5th man from the right!
The center photo is Pete's group of guys while in Vietnam. They are identified as Back row (L-R) Hudson, Sammy Adcox, Behrig, Daniels, and Petty while the Front row is Guptil, Pete Guenette, Boudreau (who passed away in 06) and March. Special thanks to an old friend of mine Jim Davey who informed me that the Boudreau in this photo was Dave Boudreau also from Troy. Dave and Pete joined the Army together under the Buddy System. Dave was about 30-40 meters from Pete during the fatal firefight. Until Dave's own death in '06, he always praised his friend Pete!
On the right is a close up of Pete from this same group picture!
Randy surprised Sammy by arranging a reunion of some of the company that Pete and Sammy served with in Vietnam. They gathered in Raleigh, NC for the first time in many years. Randy took Sammy to it and Pete's siblings also attended. Sammy passed away shortly after the reunion. I'm sure he is now partying in heaven with Pete!
I heard from John Ives who also knew Pete. He wanted to let me know something that I might not have known--and he was so right. I already wrote to a friend of mine at Ft Campbell in hopes that he or his wife can get me photos! BUT John wrote--
I would like to pass on to you some information about Peter that you might not know. During my military career, I had occasion to visit Ft. Campbell, KY. Are you aware that a building is named after Peter at Ft. Campbell? I discovered that while I was at Ft. Campbell. The building is the Peter Guenette Arts & Crafts Building. It is across the street from the base library on the road that leads to division headquarters. Also, Peter's picture hangs in the lobby of the base's army museum. I can assure you that it is an eerie feeling standing in front of a building on a military base that is named after someone you went to high school with.
CPT Marty Small and his wife Ivy has taken and sent me these photos--taken of the plaque showing that the building was named for Pete, along with his citation, his paratrooper photo and his photo which hangs in the museum. Now I can't wait to visit Ft Campbell again to see these two buildings for myself! Thanks John for telling me about this honor to Pete and special thanks to Marty and Ivy for taking and sending me the photos! Just click on each to see the larger and more readable plaque and citation.
In addition, over the past few months I've received notes from Ray's cousin, a couple who were best friends with his younger brother, and a couple of his friends including one I even remembered--some of whom knew all three guys. I feel really good knowing that I've been able to help these people remember Ray, Paul and Pete by honoring these three young men with this website. One of the many emails I received is:
When I visited The Wall in Washington, DC over Memorial Day weekend 2002 I spotted something very shiny laying on the ground. I stooped down to see what it was and spotted the words VIETNAM--TROY, NY. As I got closer to it I could see that someone had typed out the names of the guys from my hometown who died in Vietnam, pasted them onto a helmet and had it bronze-glazed. It was beautiful so I took some photos of it but sadly they did not come out as well as I would have liked but here they are:
The annual Memorial Day parade in Lansingburgh was held Monday 27 May 2013. SPC4 Peter Guenette was the posthumous Grand Marshall of the parade. To my knowledge this is the first time this has been done. What a nice way to honor Pete and his family! I tried to get there to watch it but was unable. It would have been nice to see his brother Michael again as well as other members of his family.
On 14 July 2002 I received an email from a Veteran. He had visited this site and wanted to share one of his poem's with me. I loved it and asked if I could post it here and he has allowed me to so please read this:
I Stand Before You
I stand before you all today
But not one eye can see my way
My time arrived, to leave this earth
A fact so planned, to every birth
It happened where I had to go
My torch for life was so aglow
I transferred while in uniform
Protecting freedom, through a storm
Should I resent I died for you
Not on my life, red white and blue
Please help my family through each day
Tell all my friends, try not to stray
And of the country I did love
Do think of me, through God above
Your memories, brought forth this day
Send love to us, who could not stay
©2001 Roger J. Robicheau
The Poetic Plumber
In 1970 my friends were honored when a marble monument was erected at the Lansingburgh Little League field where we all hung out as kids. I was at its dedication. Vandals destroyed it within a couple of years and the community removed what was left of it.
The Lansingburgh Boys Club became the home of a bronze plaque that was made in my heroes honor in 1988. BUT placed inside the building where only members could see it. I took part that day as a member of the Tri-County Council Vietnam Era Veteran's Honor Guard.
I was the keynote speaker in 1991 when a small plaque was unveiled to honor these fellows. The plaque was attached to a flag pole in front of an elementary school which had been built where our Little League field once stood.
In 1992, once again as a member of the Honor Guard, I attended the renaming of a street in Lansingburgh to honor Pete. The road entering the skating rink we all went to is now called Peter Guenette Lane.
My mother still lives in the area and in 1997 she sent me an article from the local newspaper. The bronze plaque was moved out of the Boys Club and permanently attached to the outside of the Veterans of Lansingburgh Hall--sometimes called the Lansingburgh Veterans Club. Now everyone can see it once again. However, according to a recent email I received from Joe Manupella, there is a replica of the plaque available at the Lansingburgh Boys & Girls Club for all to see--that's really nice to know--especially to also learn that the name of the club has been changed to include the girls.
Burgh Watch One of the guys from my hometown area created this website. Included in it are photos of the area as well as a section dedicated to the Lansingburgh Veterans Club. The webmaster is also creating a link to other individuals who were with the USO.
Ray, Paul, and Pete's names are embossed on The Wall, on plaques in my hometown, on the Rensselaer County Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and in the minds of all who lost these young men during the Vietnam War.
When I spoke to students in my hometown in the past few years I was upset because they didn't know anything about my three friends. I now challenge students everywhere to do research, to study the Vietnam War, and learn about the people from their locality who served our country. Many don't even know if their own parents or grandparents were ever in the military.
I challenge teachers and students to do this perhaps as an essay contest. I even offer to read students' papers and select the winner. That individual should then present it to the student body or at a PTA meeting. It would be a great investment for any organization to offer an award or scholarship to the winner. Most of all--it will get families and Veterans sharing with each other and others. We must pass along our legacy to others.
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