Lord, Won’t You Tell Him
He’s More Than A Name Upon A Wall
The Moving Vietnam Wall that was recently in Comanche has us all thinking about our ties to the people whose names are written there.
Kenneth Harold Wright
C CO, 2ND BN, 35TH INF RGT, 25 INF DIV
Army of the United States
20 May 1945 – 02 May 1967
Panel 19E Line 020
Kenneth Harold Wright was born in 1945 to Elbert George Wright and Herman Mae Johnson Wright, Skeebo and Mutt, as Rickey’s mother called these cousins from the Kerley side of her family in Comanche County. Harold attended school at Van Dyke, Deleon, and Crane, where he graduated.
Comanche’s Carolyn Wright Luckie remembers, “He was a great brother, and I miss him still today. They came to the door at 12:40. Daddy was home for lunch, and I had just left to go back to school. Sister and I were in school when the police came to get us. They wouldn’t tell us why they were taking us home until we got there.”
The men with Harold ignored procedure and refused to leave his body behind for others to claim later. Because of this, the Wrights were “luckier” than most families who lost loved ones in Nam. This meant that they had their son’s body back in only seven days, and they were able to actually look at him when they said goodbye for the last time. It wasn’t much, but it was something.
The following was published in the Crane News. It was written years after his death.
At 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, 1967, Sp4 Kenneth Harold Wright of Crane was killed in Vietnam. He was 21 years old. I didn’t have the opportunity of meeting Harold, but after talking to many of his friends, I heartily wish I had.
The thing that struck me most forcefully while talking about Harold was that, although he has been gone 20 years, everyone I spoke to about him readily remembered him. From everyone I talked to, I heard, “Oh yes, Harold. He was a very happy, outgoing, up person. Always in a good mood, ready to go along with the group in whatever everyone wanted to do. He never met a stranger.”
Harold grew up in Crane about the way our kids do now. His nickname among his friends was “Seldom.” He worked various jobs after school and on weekends; then enjoyed “hanging out” with his friends, cruising main street, having a hamburger and coke, attending the football games.
One of his after school jobs was as a checker and stocker at the Webb Grocery Store, which is now the Circle M Grocery. Mrs. Webb remembers Harold as a courteous, outgoing boy. She said, “He was just ‘one of the boys’, except he wasn’t overawed by grownups-he would say just what came into his mind. Usually something very funny.”
In school Harold was known as the class comic. He didn’t like school very much-was known to sleep in class whenever the opportunity presented itself. He thought of school as something that had to be “gotten through” so he could get on to his real interest-working. One of his friends said that about the only way you could distinguish Harold from the other boys in their group was that he always had money in his pocket that he had earned from his jobs, while the rest of them were generally broke.
Harold was very close to his dad, wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps and work in the oilfield. He was able to accomplish this for a few years after leaving high school and before entering the service. One of his friends who worked with Harold in the oilfield said, “He made a good hand. If things got real rough on the job, you could always count on Harold to come up with something funny to take a little of the pressure off.”
Harold’s “up” attitude went with him to Viet Nam. His brother, in a previous article, said his letters from Nam always indicated high morale. Harold received both the Purple Heart Medal and the Bronze Star Medal. The following excerpts from the posthumous presentation exemplify the type person Harold was.
“Kenneth Harold stands in the unbroken line of patriots who have given their lives that our nation’s goal of freedom and peace may be maintained. I hope that this award and the knowledge of your son’s invaluable contributions will serve to comfort you in the days that lie ahead.”
“For meritorious service in connection with military operations against an armed foe in the republic of South Vietnam. From September 1966 to May 1967, Specialist Four Wright distinguished himself while serving with as a mortar crewman in Company C, 2/35th Infantry. Soon after arriving in Vietnam, he was promoted because of his initiative, devotion to duty, and willingness to learn. Displaying outstanding leadership characteristics and knowledge of military subjects, he molded his squad into a superior example of proficiency and accuracy.”
“His cheerful attitude and enthusiastic spirit were an inspiration to all who came in contact with him. Specialist Four Wright was mortally wounded on May 2, 1967 by an enemy land mine. His excellent leadership, enthusiasm, and endurance are in keeping with the best tradition of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the United States.”