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Texas Man Takes Out Newspaper Memorials To Remember Vietnam Deaths

February 13, 1993

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) _ A quarter-century after 23-year-old Gene Youngblood died in Vietnam, a stranger came forward to tell his parents the details.

Gordon and Emma Lou Youngblood learned that their son died in an ambush a day earlier than they had believed, after they found a memorial to him on the obituary page of The Times in Shreveport.

It read: ″Charles E. Youngblood. Nov. 1944-11 Feb. 1968.

″It has been 25 years since that day that you and the other nine men courageously fought by our sides and were called to the service of our Lord. You will live forever in our hearts and we will always love you. All the men of ‘C.R.I.P.’ 2nd Bn. 27th Inf. (Wolfhounds) 25th Inf. Div.″

The Youngbloods found that Leonard N. Brooks, 46, of Austin, Texas, placed the ad. He was the medic of the Combined Reconnaissance Intelligence Platoon when it lost more than one-third of its 28 soldiers outside a hamlet called Boa Trai.

Brooks, a security officer at Austin Community College, said he also placed his memorial in seven other newspapers.

″I wanted someone out there, some of the folks who knew them to give a thought of them,″ he said.

He said his unit was based at Chu Chi and worked with a similar Vietnamese unit. Twenty-eight Americans and two Vietnamese went to Bao Trai to check out a report that a few Viet Cong were collecting taxes there. They found themselves facing about 200 enemy soldiers.

″They were probably passing through the area and our paths crossed,″ Brooks said. ″We got hit from the front and the left and right.″

After several hours, helicopter gunships showed up, but it wasn’t until after dark when another unit arrived that they were rescued, he said.

The combined force was able to secure the area and get the bodies on Feb. 12, Brooks said, adding that that may have caused part of the confusion about the day Youngblood and the others died.

″We didn’t know until now how they got killed,″ Gordon Youngblood said. ″He told us they were a select group of soldiers.″