Our story begins actually in late December ’67 when I received a letter from my brother asking me for a very special favor, he wrote… many of his buddies were not getting mail and if I could maybe get the City of San Mateo to “Adopt “his unit for morale support.
It took 3 months to get it on the agenda of the City Council, finally on March 4, l968, Co. A, l/327, l st. Brigade, l0lst ABN Division, became the official adopted sons of San Mateo. Joe lived long enough to learn that his wish had been answered, he was killed two weeks later.
I formed a citizens committee. The entire community showed its support What made it so unique was that I was furnished with line Rosters of Co. A by the Ex-O, which were distributed to schools, civic organizations, city government, i.e. fire dept. As a result Co A, received an abundance of mail, and packages. The troopers of Co A, l/327 at least knew of one America city who couldn’t do enough for them.
Their letters were printed in the local paper for everyone to read and answer, San Mateo was proud of he adopted sons and for the remaining 4 years let them know it time and again. In fact, to as a token of their appreciation they sent me to Vietnam Christmas 68 with a special gift for each one. The gift was a medallion in the form of The City’s Seal, and in the back of it was engraved each man’s name, and date of the adoption. I presented this to them in the field.
Steve Patterson was my brother’s platoon leader. He was assigned as my military escort during my visit to Camp Eagle. While I waited in the rear area for Co. A to come out of the jungle to see me, Steve had quite an itinerary for me, I took the controls of a Cobra, I was on firebases pulled the cord of a 105 howitzer, visited mash units, I was kept busy waiting for Co A. I would speak to them every night over the radio and when they finally came in (the rear area camp Eagle), I can’t put into words what it meant to me, except, I remember each and everyone of them.
There is so much more to this story, I came home to report to San Mateo how important our adoption program was and we continued our support until the war ended. We got special permission to bring ABU home to us in Jan. 72 for a 3 day celebration. The best part was the day that Co A, marched down San Mateo’s main street to cheers from a proud and grateful nation.
In San Mateo’s main library on the 3rd floor is a room which depicts “our love story”, It is called the SCREAMING EAGLES MEMORIAL ROOM, with Joe’s picture and his letter among our most treasured artifacts, letters, pictures and memorabilia of Co. A, l/327, l st. Brigade, l0lst ABN Division.
In 1991, I formed a non-profit organization called AMERICA SUPPORTING AMERICANS resulting in 65 units adopted in 8 states using San Mateo as its role model.
Someone just recently wrote a short story about Steve and I, among other short stories, the title of her book was Matches Made in Heaven. She felt JOE fit her title.