Vietnam claimed another life on December 19, 1998.
Ted Schindeler left behind his mother, father, sisters, brothers (twin brother). He was a husband and a father of 4 children. He did not live to see his first grandchild - born 27 days after his death. He lost his battle with his flashbacks of Vietnam. Memories that made him an insomniac for the last 30 years. Unable to handle relationships, responsibility...fatherhood.
I am not angry with him. I miss him, although I did not know him. Here is what I do know:
He was born in Aruba. His family moved to the United States when he was 17. He joined the Navy when he was 19. He left the Navy in 1970 and 3 months later became my dad. He left when I was eight. Fatherhood carried with it too much stress. I wish I knew more about him. I wish he knew more about me. I wish he met his first grandchild.
He received a Purple Heart and a Silver Star for the following:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action on 2 February 1968 while serving as a corpsman with Company "D", First Battalion, Fourth Marines, Third Marine Division, in connection with operations against enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam. During the early morning hours, the Cam Lo District Headquarters came under heavy artillery, mortar, and recoilless-rifle fire followed by a well-coordinated ground attack by a numerically-superior enemy force. Hearing cries for assistance from several Marines wounded during the initial barrage, Hospitalman Schindeler unhesitatingly left his covered position to move through hostile fire to the side of the wounded and administer first aid. While treating one of the casualties, he removed his flak jacket and helmet to cover the man in order to protect him from fragments of exploding enemy rounds near him. Displaying exceptional professional skill and composure, Hospitalman Schindeler courageously moved to each of the casualties to provide expert medical treatment, to comfort them, and to prepare them for evacuation from the fire-swept area. Due in large measure to his prompt and efficient medical treatment, numerous Marines were able to remain in their fighting positions and continue to deliver a heavy volume of fire against the assaulting force. After the five-hour engagement had ended, Hospitalman Schindeler advanced beyond the defensive perimeter to treat twenty-five injured enemy soldiers, saving lives that subsequently proved to be of inestimable value as intelligence sources. His courageous and selfless actions inspired all who observed him and were instrumental in the successful repulse of the attackers, which accounted for 144 enemy confirmed killed, 100 probable killed, the capture of 38 soldiers and the confiscation of numerous weapons and items of equipment. By his superior professionalism, bold initiative, and selfless devotion to duty at great personal risk, Hospitalman Schindeler upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
According to the Office of Vital Statistics the "Cause of Death"... suicide, but I know differently. The Lord decided his hell on earth was over and took him home to rest.
Donald L. Jakovac, Delta/1/4, 1967/68