Skip to comments.Search for Vietnam vet nicknamed 'Louisiana' finds bittersweet end in California
Posted on 06/04/2018 12:50:24 PM PDT by BBell
A global search for a Vietnam Veteran nicknamed "Louisiana" came to a bittersweet end this weekend.
A group of veterans who had started searching for their Army buddy in May with only a nickname and a single photograph to go by learned "Louisiana," whose actual name was Harold Thomas, died from a heart attack in 2015 at age 65.
Susan Waldrop Garvin, the wife of Vietnam veteran Jim Garvin, said everyone just assumed Thomas was a good ol' Cajun boy.
The Garvins spent most of the weekend catching up with Thomas' family, who lives in California where he grew up.
"We had to know, why the nickname 'Louisiana?" said Waldrop Garvin.
It turns out, Thomas never lived in Louisiana, and in fact had never actually visited the state.
Thomas grew up in South Carolina before moving to Oklahoma and, finally, to California when he was 7. Even though he lived in the Golden State for the next 57 years, Thomas never lost his southern drawl.
"He called everyone 'y'all,' so they started calling him Louisiana," Waldrop Garvin said.
(Excerpt) Read more at nola.com ...
Viet Vets have a much higher rate of heart disease than the general population, which after a considerable study, added a certain heart disease to the Agent Orange disease list. Betcha the poor guy had AO contact. 65 is way to young to sign off.
Harold Thomas, pictured standing far left, went by the nickname 'Louisiana' because of his southern drawl he was never able to shake even after living in California for 58 years. A group of fellow veterans were hoping to located him and their search went global. (Photo courtesy of Susan Waldrop Garvin).
It’s never too late to say “Welcome home”
All Right!....hope he’s well
He’s dead. Died of a heart attack in 2015 at the age of 65. I guess you could say he’s at peace.
My response was too early and not to the thread but from my ping lists....sorry to hear, RIP brother, my condolences to his family.
There was Dallas, from Phoenix; Cleveland, he was from Detroit; and Tex... well, I don’t remember where Tex come from.
It’s good they found him. Closure is good.
A kid in my neighborhood did a tour in ‘nam. He wrote his parents about how hot and boring it was but he was thankful his office had air conditioning. When he came home, they noticed he had a Purple Heart (2 clusters I think). He told his mother he fell down the steps in the building where he worked. No one disputed it in front of her.
Just about a month ago, I started looking up some of the guys I went to school with, and others who I was in the Army with. I found that several of them had already died. They were all in their 50’s and 60’s when they died. Of course, most of them I couldn’t find out anything about, most because of their names were pretty common.
Good choice. Did you ever find out how he earned them?
The photo of them eating their rations in the grass reminded of a boss I had. He did a couple tours in Vietnam as a field medic.
We were talking about some nice parks and campgrounds in our area. I asked him: “hey Jack, that sounds like a nice place - have any interest in being out in the woods and camping?”
His deadpan reply was: I spent two years “camping” in Vietnam. I have no interest to go camping again.
I was never in combat but I was in the Marine Infantry. When someone mentions going to the beach I say “I’ve seen a beach before”. No interest in going to the beach.
‘He wrote his parents about how hot and boring it was but he was thankful his office had air conditioning.”
That can be a very true statement, having worked in an air conditioned office, being bored etc. Working in an office, or being a REMF, did not exclude one from combat. There were many ways for a REMF to get wounded during a mortar attack or ground assault such as being on the perimeter or just running to your bunker.
I doubt he was in an office. It was just a story to make his mother feel better until he could make sure he wasn’t going back.
Just didnt want mom and dad to worry.What a good son.
Sad, but he made it back.
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