Thanks Bill Bontemps for your kind words. I hope and pray that you don't ever again feel survivor's guilt. I went through that with James Fitzgerald who became like a brother to me after we met a few years back. He eventually wrote his story of that day and I thank God for all his efforts he did to enlighten me and my family. I now know that Don died a hero and many lives were saved because of him and others who chose to do their best for the unit and for their brothers in action. No one knows when their time will come to step up to the plate and I am glad he did and so glad that others made it to safety because of his and other's efforts by doing the job put before them.
Don would never want you to feel bad because you survived and he unfortunately did not. Each of you did the job that needed to be done; and God just took Don home a little earlier than anticipated . In Don's letters to his mom and I, he never wrote home and told us how bad it was. I don't think he ever wanted us to hurt for him or worry about him. All we knew was he was doing what was expected of him. James let me know many times that Don was a true hero and how he was able to help and teach James to prepare for things to come. He loved his brothers and fought with and for them. I am proud to call him my brother as well.
God bless you Bill and keep you safe. After 46 years of living in Alaska, I moved out this past year and now live back in Washington State close to where Don and I grew up but not in Tacoma. I now live in a little town called Elma and one day if you are ever in that area, I'd love to talk and have lunch with you or just thank you for your service.
Blessings, Bill (360) 789-5791