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CPL Robert B Luther
10 May 1970
Company A, 1/11
The Wall - Panel 10W, Line 13

My best friend in basic and AIT was Bob Luther from New York. Bob was older than I but we had things in common. We were both drafted. We both had the same orders coming out of AIT, and we were both on our way to Vietnam to the 1st BN 11th Infantry. Bob and I were supposed to meet back at Ft Lewis on a Friday but we got this idea that we would cheat and stay with our families for the weekend and come back to Ft Lewis on Sunday. What could they do, send us to Nam? We were already going. When I got to Ft Lewis I could not find Bob anywhere. I took it for granted that he had decided to do the right thing and came back on time. Because I was late the army changed my orders and sent me to 1st BN 161 Infantry. I did find him in Nam and we did start writing letters back and forth but they soon stopped. Then I got a letter from his mom asking me how he was killed; I didn't have a clue he was dead. My best friend. His squad was in a chopper that had been shot down. If I had stuck to my orders I would have been in that squad also. He did the right thing and died, I didn't and lived. I have always wondered about this twist of fate. I have missed his friendship and always will.

Mike Sperling
Recon Plat, Hq&Hq Co, 1/61 - 1969-70