James Rodney Holcomb, 66, was just one of hundreds of thousands of young men who were called to serve their country during the United States’ military involvement in Vietnam. On Tuesday, August 19, at 11 a.m., friends and family will gather to say goodbye to Vietnam veteran, Rod Holcomb, at the Clear Lake Masonic Hall in Clear Lake, California, as he makes his final deployment.
Much is made of The Greatest Generation, the brave warriors of WWII who are dying at a rate of more than 100 per day. However, little is said about the “Silent Generation”, the equally brave men of the 1960s and 1970s, who served proudly but were given almost no recognition when they returned from war due to the unpopularity of the conflict in Southeast Asia.
Rod Holcomb was deployed to Vietnam not long after he graduated from high school in Riddle, Oregon, about the time the United States launched a full-scale military offensive in Vietnam. Rod served with the 537th Engineer Company, a huge contingent of U.S. Soldiers who were tasked with preparation for the massive manpower buildup in Southeast Asia.
Many of those Army Engineers waded ashore at Cam Ranh Bay in the South China Sea in June of 1965, an infamous area of the brutal conflict. Their mission seemed impossible. Tropical rains combined with heat and sand were obstacles even the highly trained engineers could not prepare for. Today the Army calls those Soldiers Combat Engineers.
James Rodney Holcomb was born in Aberdeen, Wash., on Feb 14, 1948, to Lorna Scott Holcomb and Donald Holcomb Sr. He grew up in Riddle, a small mining and lumber community in Douglas County Oregon. Rod moved to California in 2004, and owned and operated Paradise Pizza and Pasta.
Rod passed away last Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. He is survived by the love of his life, Sharon Bean Holcomb and his beautiful daughters, Audra Holcomb Ball, Dawn Holcomb Lewis, and Cristy Holcomb Wells.
He is also survived by his mother, Lorna Holcomb, his step- daughter, Vikee Bean; step-son, Tom Bean, siblings Don Holcomb Jr. and Karen Holcomb Skarlatos, his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. Rod was preceded in death by his father Don Holcomb, Sr.
Rod, thank you for your service to our country. Rest in peace, veteran.