May 2015 Archives

ROGER D ALBERTS Roger Duane Alberts "Hudge" dob- 711/1947 date of casualty- 2/5/1968, KIA Fort Totten, North Dakota Army 20 years old, American Indian, Roman Catholic, single tour began April 5, 1967 lasted 1 year body was recovered Gia Dinh 37E, 30 Roger Duane Alberts, known as "Hudge" by family, was born to the late George & Alvina Alberts on the Spirit Lake Reservation on June 11, 1947. He loved to be outdoors fishing, riding, and anything else his mind was set to. He was known for his outgoing and positive attitude all the time and he was a carefree man and had a humorous and teasing attitude. Had such a strong respect for his ancestors and he honored to be a Native American. Clifford B. Qotsaquahu served with him in the war and said Roger was there not only to protect the United States but also to save the Native Americans and our traditions. He was always saying how proud he was to be there and upset with the people who ran off to Canada to avoid the draft. He believed that once the war was over and won that those people should not come back since they did not want to help fight. Roger always stood up for his people no matter who it was. Cliff remembers Roger overhearing other officers saying "these Vietnam people will be gone just as fast as the Indians" and once he had heard this he stood up for our people and let them know who he was and how wrong they were. After talking to family I heard so many memories about him. One of the most interesting is his sister Sally saying "Bk then we heated the iron on the stove but he would do that. Iron his clothes n every thing in order before jumping on the bus to Maddock for the week." He liked to look nice and presentable before doing things. Also saying he would help the family a lot and look after others, he was a huge family man. Cliff had said during the war Rog would talk about his family and how happy he was going to be when he got home to see them. His niece Eunice was telling me about memories of him teasing her and it was so heartwarming to hear the connections he had with his family and the love they all shared. Once Roger was drafted Clifford was saying he mentioned that he wanted to go into the Marines so it was not a huge deal to be drafted but he was angry about the fact that it was a draft. Rog wanted to get the job done and was positive and ready to go so he could get back home to his loved ones. He would talk about missing his home, family, going to Devil's Lake, and especially missing Indian food. Cliff and Rog were the only natives in their group, where the other men often called them "Chief", so they made a strong connection to each other after meeting in the beer garden one night. This is where their connection grew and how they grew such a strong bond to one another which made them inseparable during Vietnam. After being together for so long their friendship became a brotherhood. Knowing everything about one another and making memories that cannot be forgotten. The best one I heard was when they were on night patrol and they heard gunshots from a tree. The idea was to have a puff of a cigarette and the shooter would see the cherry light up. Cliff was the one to have the cigarette and Roger was suppose to be watching instead, Roger watched Cliff rather than where the gunshot came from resulting in the men having to do the trial over again. In this memory it catches Rog's humor and how he could still be smiling in hard situations. On February 5th, 1968 Roger was announced KIA during the war. Roger and Cliff would usually find each other during battle so they would feel safer and better about everything. This battle was different sadly. Roger and a few other men were not found by airlift which left Cliff in wonder and devastation. Not knowing if his brother was captured or gone, 10 days passed and no one heard from or had seen Rog. Cliff was begging his CO to let him go out and look for him but after many forceful requests they threatened to put him in the stockade if he kept asking. Nothing was the same anymore. May 24th was the day to go home but Cliff could not leave without his brother. Before the Freedom Bird got to the airport Cliff was reading the paper, Stars and Stripes, where Roger was listed KIA-BNR-BR, Killed In Action-Body Never Recovered-Body Recovered. All Cliff could think about at this point is the memories they shared and how they always talked about this going home back to the real world together. His family got his letters about 3 weeks after he had passed since it takes so long to get mail from other countries. At this point, everyone was devastated and heart broken. Roger meant so much to all of the people who he had crossed paths with and not one person could say differently. He was a true soldier and led his men during battle. Some say he should have gotten a medal and I would agree since he was such a leader and thought of saving other people before himself. Nobody could have replaced this young soldier. Roger "Hudge" is still very deeply missed and remembered by many. Writing this paper means so much to me and I am glad I got to write about this man and learn about who he was from what his family and friends have to remember him by. I would like to thank his family members, LeAnn Alberts-Belgarde, Eunice Davidson, Sally Cavanaugh, Erich Longie, LeAnn R. Fox, Lucille Herrick, Leola White, and Lavonne Alberts. Another man to thank is a Vietnam Veteran, Roger's military brother, Clifford B. Qotsaquahu.

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