I sing what was lost and dread what was won,
I walk in a battle fought over again,
My king a lost king, and lost soldiers my men;
Feet to the Rising and Setting may run,
They always beat on the same small stone
--What was Lost, W. B. Yeats
This Memorial Day I'd like to remember an old friend Rob Valentine, former Infantry Captain with 46th Company, Special Forces, Thailand (1970-'71).
Rob served in a SF combat role during those years in Laos. He was always chafed that he didn't get his Combat infantry Badge, though he was an active participant in ground combat operations there.
This is the nature of Special Operations -- you do the duty, but you don't always receive recognition or promotion as a result of your activities because they are by definition, secret. Even the promotion boards do not know of your activities.
Valentine died in 1998. Following his death, the CIB was retroactively awarded to the 46th Co. for combat in Laos. Rob never was awarded his coveted CIB.
I once had a photograph with Rob, myself and James (Jay) Goolsby taken in SFOC 3-70 before we all went our separate ways. Jay was killed in the Republic of Vietnam while serving with MACVSOG in 1970.
The picture is now lost, but my Memorial Day memory is of two friends, Jay Goolsby and Rob Valentine. Both good men and good soldiers.