I imagine that thoughts today are going through the minds of our remaining troops in Afghanistan and their families back home of “No one wants to be the last soldier to die in Afghanistan when Obama withdraws all of the troops.” And will he and the thousands of dead troops who served before him be forgotten by most people here in the U.S?
Linden mother of last U.S. soldier killed in Vietnam meets granddaughter for first time
A meeting 40 years in the making
Tia McConnell stands with her grandmother, Mae Rucker, at the Veterans Memorial on the courthouse square.
Posted: Sunday, August 5, 2012 4:00 am | Updated: 7:02 am, Sun Aug 5, 2012.
By Angela Guillory firstname.lastname@example.org
LINDEN Almost 40 years after the death of her son the last American soldier killed in Vietnam an East Texas woman finally met her granddaughter this past week.
Tia McConnell, the Asian-born daughter of John ONeal Rucker, tracked down her fathers family through DNA testing, driving across the country with her husband and children to meet them.
She said it was an emotional experience visiting Ruckers gravesite and placing a flag at the courthouse where a monument recognizes him as the last U.S. soldier killed in Vietnam.
Born March 17, 1951, in Kilgore, Rucker was raised in Linden. He was assigned to the 366 Combat Support Group, 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, at Da Nang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam.
On Jan. 27, 1973, at the age of 22, Rucker was killed in a rocket attack just hours before the signing of the Paris Peace Accords that ended the Vietnam War.
His daughter was born an orphan in Da Nang. She was evacuated before the fall of Saigon and adopted and raised by Jack and Karen Whittier of Colorado.
But McConnell said she has always yearned to know her father and his family.
What a blessing!