Staff Sergeant David William Osborne of Route 1, Hudson, was on patrol August 17, 1970 in what he thought was friendly territory in Vietnam. However, as he and 30 other men in his Army patrol approached a group of Vietnam troops, they were fired upon, and within minutes, all were dead from Viet Cong inflicted wounds. Sgt Osborne was serving his third tour of duty in Vietnam and had been counting the days until his tour of less than three months was up. In fact, the day before his death, his daughter, Teresa Lynn had celebrated her seventh birthday with her little brother, David Eric, 4, and her mother, the former Jewel Duncan, at the family home near South Caldwell High School. And, just a few days before that, Sgt Osborne had spent some time making tape recordings to send his family, with several of the tapes containing his views on the war in Vietnam.
When his funeral service was held eight days after his death at Center Grove Baptist Church, the Tapes that he had made were played, but were barely audible to those attending. The afternoon of his funeral, the weather was humid and stuffy, and the buzz of bees and flies entering the open church door seemed to serve as a stark reminder of the jungles of Vietnam, where the serviceman had spent three tours of duty. A veteran of 14 years service in the Army, SSgt Osborne had volunteered each time he served in Vietnam. During his second tour of Southeast Asia in 1967, he was wounded during a conflict and was awarded a Silver Star Medal, his second. He had also been awarded a Bronze Star Medal with V for Valor. A few days before her husband’s funeral, Mrs. Osborne sat in the kitchen at the home of her mother, Mrs Boyd Duncan, receiving visitors and attempting to make some sense of the strange war that had claimed the father of her two children.
At that point, she admitted she found it hard to accept his death, but said he had always taken a special pride in serving his country. Since the children had eagerly been awaiting his homecoming, they too, found it impossible to understand all the unusual happenings. SSgt Osborne was buried in the church cemetery with full military honors, including an honor guard representing each branch of the armed services and a 21-gun salute. As the 21-gun salute echoed in the valley of the cemetery, cows grazed peacefully in the background as a reminder of life continuing. Yet, the pain on the faces of a bewildered family left memories that will endure for those attending the rites. Sgt. Osborne was 30 years old, the oldest of Caldwell County’s men to give his life in service in Vietnam. His death was also the last of the war .for a Caldlwellian.
We honor you, David Osborne.