BY CHRIS GRAHAM
Dr. Seuss once said, “You will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
For many who met Malcolm Geoffrey Mole, all they have are memories of the 20-year-old from DeLand who died in combat on Jan. 21, 1968. It’s our hope that sharing his story will inspire many others to share their stories about him.
Born in 1947, Mole grew up in DeLand, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was sent to Vietnam in 1967.
Assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment, Hospital Corpsman Third Class Mole was stationed in Quang Tri Province of South Vietnam when the Kilo Company he was attached to came under attack. His death is documented in the book Last Stand at Khe Sanh by Gregg Jones:
“… The cry of ‘corpsman’ soon sounded around him. Five Navy corpsmen had been assigned to Kilo Company. One of the two corpsmen attached to Jasper’s command group, aspiring disc jockey Malcolm Mole, scraped down the hill in response to a shout for aid. An RPG (rocket propelled grenade) round streaked across the slope killing the 20-year-old from Florida …”
Those who were touched by Mole have left messages to him over the years on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website, a virtual wall dedicated to remembering every person whose name is inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
At least two compatriots said he left such an impression that they used his middle name to name their sons in his honor.
Michael Bried wrote that they were stationed in Great Lakes Hospital Corps School together, but their paths never crossed in Vietnam.
“He was a big fan of my guitar and banjo playing, and often came up with these tunes he wanted me to learn to play,” Bried wrote. “I’ll always remember him telling me that when I got out, I had to come to DeLand to see him and be sure and bring my guitar. He often talked about a girl named ‘Kirsty’ or ‘Kirsten,’ he had a crush on. He was such a kind spirit, and I was sad to hear of his passing. Just sorry I never got to see him again after Hospital Corps School. RIP my brother.”
In 2000, Dennis Mannion wrote he would always remember how Mole helped stitch up a finger injury around Christmas of 1967. Less than a month later, Mole would pass away in combat.
“My radioman and I were probably the last two people on earth to talk to you in the early morning hours of 21 January 1968,” Mannion wrote. “I think about your death often and wonder at ‘why you & not me.’ Fate or God, I guess, depending on what you believe in. I will catch up to you one of these days. I still miss you.”