I promised a couple of weeks ago to try and contact Lieutenant Colonel Anthony B. Herbert
, the "most decorated"
soldier of the Korean War and whom signed the petition and mentioned a friendship with Audie "culminating in Atlanta in late May of1971."
I had mentioned in my post that I found that statement interesting and would try and get clarification.
Well, I succeeded!
I spoke to Colonel Herbert about 2 weeks ago. I had sent him a thank you note and asked in the note if he would clarify his statement either by phone or mail and sure enough about three days later when my wife and I came home from dinner, there was a very long and nice message from the Colonel on my answering machine giving some clarification and asking me to return his call on his unlisted number, which he provided.
I called him back and we had an almost two hour conversation spanning a variety of subjects. He is a very interesting man who has had a very interesting life. In any case, that part which pertains to Audie I will recall here.
Colonel Herbert stated that he and Audie had first met on the set of "World In My Corner"
and that he met Chico Vejar
and others. He also stated that he went to dinner with Audie and Dorothy Manners
, and Spec McClure
when he was in Hollywood. He stated that he and Audie got along great and that they had mutual respect. He said they kept in touch loosely over the years. He also stated that he never met Pam or the children.
meet Audie the night before the crash at his home
in Atlanta. At that point Herbert was teaching ROTC at the University of Georgia and had already announced his retirment fromthe Army. He was getting a lot of "flak" (hard time) as he had made accusations about American atrocities in Vietnam during his time there (he was later vindicated by history.)
He said that Morris Brown (ACLU) and Charlie Morgan (an Atlanta businessman) who had close ties to the Republican National Committee, brought Audie and Herman Butler
(yes, the pilot) over to his home that night. Audie had called in advance to meet but didn't know the way to Herbert's home, so they delivered him.
Brown and Morgan didn't stay but a couple of minutes and left and he and Audie went out to Herbert's pool and had a drink or two. I meant to ask Herbert what Audie had to drink, but forgot. I'll ask that next time we talk.
During the pool talk, Audie was no different
than he had ever been, didn't seem to be worried or have anything more than normal on his mind. He did say Audie asked; "You're from Pennsylvania right"
to which Herbert responsed "Yes"
and then Audie said "Well, your Dad was a coal miner, so what do you think about Unions."
Colonel Herbert said he thought he responded, "I'm not into politics, so that subject doesn't interest me and I haven't really kept up on it."
He said for the rest of the time Audie was there that night, it was just casual conversation. Before Audie left he told Herbert, "When I get back this way next week, I'll look into your problem and see if I can help out"
(referring to Herbert's problem with the Army) to which Herbert said he responded, "I can handle my own problems, you've got enough of your own to worry about"
(referring to Gofstein and Audie's finances).
Herbert said he found "nothing"
out of the ordinary with Audie that night. He did say that a couple of days later, Peter Conway,
a heavy-hitter from Colorado who at one time was friends with Wally Shirra the astronaut and who designed an area in the Denver, Colorado area called "Cinderella City", called and asked if Herman Butler
had "had anything to drink that night as he was known to be a hard drinker"
and Herbert said he told him "No, not when he was at my home, just Audie and I did."
Peter Conway was affiliated with Colorado Avaiation.
Herbert and I spoke for about two hours
on a wide ranging list of subjects and I found him 100% credible, forthright, and honest. In my opinion he withheld nothing (he said I could ask anything) and said I was the first
person since that time to whom he had ever related Audie's visit that night and his reflections on it.
Colonel Herbert shared with me many of his personal opinions on people he served with, cases he worked on, and even the Jon-Benet Ramsey case, which he was very familier with, as he worked with the Denver and Boulder Police Departments during that time period.
For the record, he was not an investigator etc on the case, and the thoughts he shared with me with strictly his personal opinions.
Those details though, I will not disclose, as I did not ask his permision to do so and therefore I must refrain from doing so, out of respect for him and our conversation.
Oh, in closing, Colonel Herbert became a forensic psychologist after his Army career and worked in that capacity for about 20 plus years. Granted forty (40) years since Audie's passing is a long time, but I think if something had been amiss with Audie that evening, I think Herbert would have picked up on it as he reflected on that meeting so many years before.
So, we know know for certain
another irony of Audie's death in that the "most decorated soldier"
of the Korean War had drinks with the "most decorated soldier"
of World War Two, the night before Audie's passing.
Such a strange irony!
Hope you all found this interesting. Sorry there weren't more details. I even asked Herbert how Audie was dressed that night, and he laughed and said "hell, that was 40 plus years ago, I don't even remember what I was wearing yesterday."