0 Years ago next month I returned home from a 13 month tour of duty in Vietnam.
It was a bittersweet homecoming because a year earlier on May 6, 1968, the night before I
left for Vietnam, I learned that my childhood friend and neighbor Bob Leska, a Sergeant in the
US Army, had been killed in action the day before.
Trumbull was still a very small town back in 1968/1969 and everyone seemed to know every
one else. Six young men from Trumbull would give their lives in the service of their country in
Vietnam and I knew nearly all of them. But Bob Leska’s death hit me especially hard. We had
attended grammar school and high school together, we played sports with all the kids in our
neighborhood less than a mile from here, we double dated and we even enlisted in the service
about the same time.
Bob was engaged to be married to a neighborhood girl, and his hopes and dreams
were very much like that of any other 19/20 year old at that time.
None of us ever thought for a minute back then that some of us would not return – such was
the naiveté of our youth, a naiveté that was forever erased for me that May evening, 41 years ago.
Over the course of the last 41 years not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about Bob
Leska and all the men I served with who didn’t come home. I’m truly grateful to all of you for taking
the time here today to remember them and all of our fallen heroes.
Together, let us honor their memory, let us honor their service, and most of all, let us honor their sacrifice.
Raymond G. Baldwin, Jr.