08-25-09, 06:16 AM
A lot of people know Capt Ayers, or knew him, rather, as he was KIA in Vietnam in 1967. I have heard many stories about him. They all had to do with how he took care of and respected his troops. In 1964 I had just made PFC and was going to cryptologic school on a Navy base in Pensacola, Florida. Capt Ayers was our CO. In the Enlisted Club there was one room that was off limits to those under 21, it was The 21 Club. I went in and stood at the far end of the bar, and it was crowded. All I went in there for was for some potato chips. I was 17 and could not legally drink in Florida and I knew that. Way at the end of the very crowded bar sits Captain Ayers. He sees me from a distance and calls out in a loud voice, any man old enough to be in my outfit, 21 or not, drinks a beer when he wants one. What'l it be, son? I could not believe this. The bartender was looking at me and the whole place got quiet. Here is this 17 year old kid just there for a bag of chips. I said Budweiser sir, and he says good choice, set this Marine up! And I drank beer with the entire crowd. This was one small example of how he was. He respected his troops and he stood up for them and cared about them, even when he didn't have to. Those of you who knew him have heard many stories like mine. Not dramatic stories but indicative of a guy who was a real Marine. There are a number of memorials to him on Viet Nam sites, with stories such as this simple one. Rest in peace, Captain. Your troops will never forget you.