The Edmond Sun

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August 5, 2006

Coming home

Veteran remains return home to Edmond after 38 years

EDMOND — These words, “Coming home,” are bittersweet for Laverne Ransbottom, mother of 1st Lt. Fredrick Joel Ransbottom.

Ransbottom is the last Oklahoman to be named a casualty of the 10-year-long Vietnam War, and his remains were flown in June to Honolulu from Vietnam, the first leg of his journey back home to Edmond.

From Honolulu they were sent to a lab for confirmation where they are awaiting DNA identification by the government. Then they will be flown home to his family.

In the 38 years Freddy Joe, as he was known by his family and friends, has been unaccounted for, his father Fredrick Ransbottom has passed on.

Ransbottom was the leader of a reconnaissance platoon known as “Snoopy 6” with E Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry, 196th Infantry Brigade, 23rd Division, Americal. His platoon was defending a Special Forces airstrip at Kham Duc for which he received a Silver Star. The camp was strategically located near the Ho Chi Minh trail just 10 miles east of Laos.

On Mother’s Day 1968, the airstrip came under the third day of heavy attack, and it was on this day that Ransbottom was listed as missing.

“I can sit here and still remember that day,” Laverne Ransbottom said. “I remember thinking that he has to be alive; he can’t be dead, he is so young and so good.”

Fred Ransbottom had graduated from Putnam City High School in 1965 and had just finished his first year of college at Oklahoma Baptist University, where he was majoring in hospital administration. He and his friend from high school, Clint Wheeler, both decided to join up.

“Fred had such a tender heart, he couldn’t bear to see anything suffer,” Laverne said.

But most of all, Fred Ransbottom was a leader. One of the men who served under him told Laverne Ransbottom at a meeting with the survivors of his group that Fred was the one they trusted to follow.

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