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Ted Waddell | Democrat

RAY DOWDY, RIGHT, served with Allan Milk in the 7th Cavalry during the Vietnam War. He made it home but his friend was killed in action. Dowdy presented an honorary plaque to Bruce Pecsi, Commander, Allan Milk Memorial Post 7276 of Long Eddy on Memorial Day 2007.

Comrade Recalls Allan Milk

By Ted Waddell
LONG EDDY — July 6, 2007 — On Memorial Day, Ray Dowdy of Mullica Hill, NJ, a proud veteran of the Vietnam War, paid a visit to the VFW Post named after his fallen comrade-in-arms.
After the ceremony at the gravesite of Allan Milk (born 12-14-45), killed in action while serving with Company B. of the famed 7th Cavalry on November 1, 1966, Dowdy presented the Allan Milk Memorial VFW Post 7276 with a plaque made in honor of his friend.
The plaque features the regimental crest of the 7th Cav, once under the command of General George Armstrong Custer, who along with his entire detachment of more than 200 troopers was killed by Sioux warriors during the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn.
In a bit of military snafu, Milk’s first name was misspelled in regimental records.
The crest features the words “Garry Owen,” which according to Seventh United States Cavalry historians is “used in combat to respond to the sound of a chambered round that precedes ‘Who goes there?’ nearing a perimeter and means ‘friend.’”
“It is intoned with the unspoken words of ‘I love you my friend, as I do my brother,’” according to sources.
“Garryowen” is an old Irish quick-step that dates back to the early 1860s, and in 1867 was adopted by the 7th Cavalry Regiment as the official air (tune) of the regiment.
“It is in honor of my friend Allan Milk who I served with in Vietnam,” said Dowdy. “He was a great person, a great individual to be with in combat.”
Dowdy and Milk went through basic training together, but wound up served in different platoons of the same company.
Before getting shipped out, Dowdy visited Milk while on leave, and up near his parents’ home outside Honesdale, Pa. went woodchuck hunting, one of the things his friend liked to do.
A few years ago, Dowdy visited the gravesite of his friend, placed a wreath on the granite marker, but didn’t tell anybody his story.
Last July, Dowdy and his wife paid a visit to Milk’s ailing father, Donald. “So he would have a fond memory in the last month of his life.”
“I promised Allan’s father that I would come back for another visit on this Memorial Day,” added Dowdy. “And I honored that promise.”
“I was lucky,” said Dowdy. “I served a year and then I rotated home. He didn’t.”

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