SP4 Arkie Wright Jr
Killed in Action 19 February 1968
Remembrance by SP5 Squire (Skip) Knowles
Arkie Wright was a simple, highly likeable, amiable, decent, hard working guy; the kind of guy you could count on. Though short in stature he had the strength and build of a college wrestler. Though from Ohio, Arkie was an honest-to-gosh hillbilly, not unlike "Will Stockdale," the Andy Griffith character from "No Time For Sergeants." He had a very open and trusting nature, without irony. His personnel file listed him as "Arkie Nmn Wright." It took me awhile to figure out "Nmn" stood for "No
Arkie got my early attention because of a large misshapen lump in one cheek, which caused him to frequently spit out a dark vile-looking liquid I took to be blood caused by a bad infection. I felt so sorry for him until the day I saw the lump had changed to the other cheek. He'd been chewing big hunks of tobacco the whole time!
One stormy night at Fort Sill we were assigned to guard the 8th/4th motor pool during a drenching downpour. All the battalion's175mm self-propelled howitzers and other vehicles were parked there. Because of the torrential downpour some fellows sought shelter under a spot where they could keep an eye peeled for the Sergeant of the Guard's approach. But Arkie just continued doing his circuit. It wouldn't have ever occurred to him to quit. Though tempted, on account of Arkie I finished my sopping grounds that night. He never complained about it. I sure did, enough for both of us!
Arkie was handy with tools. When building our 8th/4th HQ camp at Dong Ha anyone with carpentry skills quickly became known and were put to work.
Raymond Sprague was the best, but Arkie was the most original. While working on the Colonel's/XO's quarters I recall overhearing our Colonel who'd just come from the project and discovering Arkie had nailed up practically all the plywood siding, yet there were no windows or doors, just continuous plywood sheeting. The colonel asked Arkie "what about some windows and a door?" Arkie picked up a chain saw and said "where would you like em?"
I'd been with Arkie and some other guys from Fort Sill, then to Dong Ha and eventually to Camp Carroll and the 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery. Arkie died during a surprise rocket attack midmorning of February 19, 1968, killed instantly when a rocket struck the entrance to an otherwise sturdy bunker behind my hootch. Rotten lucky shot.
GOOD, GOOD GUY. I MISS HIM.