Dennis Winstead

My buddy died January 18th, 2015. Winstead entered Basic Training with me in June of 1966 at Fort Jackson, S.C.  After that training, he and I where the only two members, out of the 40 men in our platoon, to be designated for jungle training at Fort Polk Louisiana. This meant there was no doubt that we would immediately be placed in front line combat operations in Vietnam at the end of that training. Around the end of November 1966, He and I flew to San Francisco and stayed in a Hotel that night, I believe, before signing into Oakland Depot the next day to await air transport to Saigon. Amazingly, he and I were assigned to the same unit in Vietnam, the 1/18th infantry battalion of the First Infantry Division. It has been a long time. However, if my memory is correct, about half way through his tour of duty in the infantry, Winstead came to me and announced that he was going to sign up to be a door gunner on helicopters. He told me he was sick and tired of sleeping in the jungle in the rain night after night. With that statement he disappeared from my life forever but I have never forgotten him. He was cut from a rare mold and one of the bravest men I have ever known. Over the years, until now, when I found this obituary, I had often wondered if he made it home alive and I deeply regret that I was not able to locate him sooner.