I learned today that Jerry McFetridge died almost a year ago. I knew him as Brit McFetridge when we were together, in the Army – on a HAWK missile site – in Korea during 1963 and, possibly, 1964. It makes me sad. Much sadder than I would have expected if I had thought about it a couple of hours ago. I am not sure why.
We were next door neighbors while we were in Korea. Next door neighbors in the Army – in this case, at least – means that we had bunk beds next to each other in the Fire Control and Radar Quonset Hut. In those days, individuals were sent to existing units overseas – and in the Korea which was considered a war zone even though nobody was shooting – and our time in country overlapped. He rotated1 into Korea before me and, therefore, rotated out before me and while we were there together, we were good friends. In the sort of strange way that sometimes happens in a seminar, or the military, or on a sports team when the the only real connection is the shared activity.
Except in this case, we had almost the same interests. According to his obituary, Mr. McFetridge was remembered by friends as a hardworking, loyal and fun-loving man who enjoyed outdoor adventures. He paddled Western river rapids, backpacked along the Pacific Crest Trail and hiked the Annapurna mountains in Nepal. He traveled to Italy and Mexico, and he recently was preparing for a bike trip across Vietnam. I remember him as the guy in the picture above but, of course, he had really become the guy below.