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Welcome to Tenacious Genealogy! This is another post for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge that I’m participating in this year. It is a challenge hosted by Amy Johnson Crow every year and I figured I’d get in on the fun.
This is the week 10 prompt (which you can already tell I’m lagging behind on) and it is: ‘Bachelor Uncle’.
In researching this prompt, I had a hard time figuring out who to focus on. Mainly for the reason that they aren’t a lot of unmarried male relatives on either side of my family. So I figured I’d focus on one relative who is my uncle – my father’s brother Craig Pyper Fielding. Originally, I had planned to post this in connection with Memorial Day. The reason being that Craig was a ‘bachelor uncle’ mainly because he passed away about 5 months shy of his 21st birthday, fighting in Vietnam in 1970.
The Life and Legacy of Craig Pyper Fielding
While I never knew him in life, I certainly heard many stories about Craig. Most of them focus on or around his military service. One story emphasized that he was very dedicated to military life and his soldiers – both battle buddies and those serving below him.
When he died, he was a 1st Lieutenant and on his second tour of duty. He had apparently been injured the previous year (1969) during his first tour but felt strongly to going again. So his second tour began in January of 1970. It was only a few months later on April 1st that he died. The records and stories I have mentioned that his death was due to tripping a booby trap during an evening patrol, however, no one is (or was) certain whether it was an American or Viet Cong booby trap.
In talking to my dad, I asked him what he remembered his brother being like – personality and all. He mentioned a few things that he still remembers even after almost fifty (50) plus years:
Craig was personable – according to my dad, he was very much an extrovert who got along with most everyone and was enjoyable to be around. He attracted friends quite easily.
Craig was athletic – while he participated in a variety of sports, he was on the wrestling team in high school and was extremely active.
Craig was disciplined – my dad said that it wasn’t a surprise that Craig joined the military as he already had a disciplined mentality when it came to achieving his goals and life in general.
Craig was popular – with both guys and girls, as friends and crushes. Everyone seemed to want to be around or with Craig. My dad mentioned that while he never knew his brother to ‘get around’ so to speak, he was very popular with the ladies and he (my dad) was sure that there were more than a few girls who wanted to ‘get in Craig’s pants’.
Craig was ‘All-American’ – not officially within the realm of sports, but he was your stereotypical ‘All-American guy’ growing up. Popular, nice, athletic, not rebellious.
Craig was religious – as far as my dad knew, his brother was active in church life during his entire life, even while he was in the midst of Vietnam. That said, my dad said that he was unsure of how religious Craig would have stayed if he had lived. The majority of my dad’s brothers were in some kind of military service during their lives and for the most part, they stopped being religious as they got older for a variety of reasons.
So overall, it seems that Craig was a good guy (although I acknowledge that this is through the lens of time and memory) and I know that his death did leave a lasting impact on his family and friends.
Interestingly enough, there is a memorial page online for Craig at the website for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. https://www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces/16045/CRAIG-P-FIELDING/
There are other memories on that page that people have left regarding him or how they knew him. It definitely gives an added dimension to someone I never met and only knew of through stories.
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
Questions or comments about this post? Are there any bachelor uncles in your family? Interesting stories? Curious about the 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge? Let me know in the comments! And if you like what you’ve been seeing on Tenacious Genealogy – please subscribe to our email list. Not only will you stay up to date with the latest blog posts, but you’ll also get freebies such as ‘10 Tips For Starting your Genealogy’ and other fun ‘subscriber-only’ items.