Mike & H&S Companies
Third Battalion, Fifth Marines
PAUL O'CONNELLDear Scot,
I am sad to hear that Captain Burns has passed away. I would have given anything in this world to have been able to have sat with him and talked about Vietnam and what we endured. I have spent a life time since Vietnam searching for those I served with, especially those who helped me become who I am.
I will always have positive image of Captain Burns in my mind. He was so courageous, so gung ho, wanted so much to do what was right, and yet, Vietnam, the war, combat........ combat, the down and dirty, nasty, cruel, horror of combat left its mark on all who endured.
Yes, Pat lead one of the toughest fighting units in the marines in one of the toughest fights there was. And he made a tougher decision than anyone on earth would have to make, to sacrifice the honor of the marines not to leave their dead, made this decision which saved the lives of many.
I will write more later, but for now, I want to be silent and thoughtful. Yes, I will help you and the family of Capt Burns to understand what may have been inside his soul, locked away.
Semper Fi Captain Burns. I salute you.......... Peace.
Today just after noon time (EST) I went for a walk in the woods with my dog. The wind was cool on my face as I thought about your uncle Pat, or to me, Captain Burns. I thought how 30 years ago Mike Company was so deeply involved in the Vietnam war.
I talked with former Lieutenant Thomas Mahlum yesterday via the telephone. I hadn't talked with him since Vietnam. I told him Captain Burns had passed away. He couldn't believe it, said he was too young to have died. I agreed.
I hope many turned out for Captain Burns's funeral. I walked the woods praying for the soul of Captain Burns and the soul of those who died trying to carry out the traditions of this country and especially the Marine Corps.
I have to believe not only does Captain Burns rest in peace, but that he rests with his fellow marines, and they all are at rest. I don't care what this country ever thinks about the Vietnam war or those who fought in it, these men were heroes, never questioned authority, and never were afraid to sacrifice their life. I too, shall not fear death when it arrives, because I know the great men I knew in Vietnam will be in heaven to help show me the way.