A Story of Two Fathers

Fred Tomasello Jr.
Guest Contributor

This story is about two dads. 

One is Billy Joe McCarty.

From November 1967 to February 1968, we served together in a Marine Infantry Platoon during the Vietnam war. Billy was my radio man.

We humped the fields together during the day and went on ambushes at night, never more than an arm’s length away from each other. We ate together, slept together, shared stories, snacks and jokes together and were even wounded together. Billy Joe’s honesty and bravery earned my respect and love.

On May 27, 1968, shrapnel struck Billy Joe in the head, instantly killing him.

At the same time, Billy Joe’s wife in Alabama gave birth to a baby.

Word spread.

“Hear about Billy Joe?”

“Yeah! Died the same damn day his wife had a baby.”

“Man, let’s pray for his wife and kid.”

“Hell of a happy Father’s Day, Billy Joe.”

So we prayed. I prayed every day.

Forty-five years later, Billy Joe’s sister finds me on the Internet. We meet and I’m brought up to date.

Billy Joe’s daughter is a Registered Nurse named Sheri McCarty Salas, and she has a large and beautiful family of her own.

Billy’s wife is now named Myra Thompson. Her husband’s name is Rob. In addition to Sheri, they have two more children, Brad and Cindy. From what I see and read on Facebook, they are all part of a large, beautiful and loving family.

Rob Thompson is God’s answer to my prayers.

All the goodness I feel for Billy Joe is now poured onto you, Rob Thompson, a hero who has earned my everlasting love and respect.

Thank you God and thank you Rob.

And … living or dead … happy Father’s Day to everyone.

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