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Memorial for fallen Vietnam War soldier to be dedicated in Blackduck

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news Bemidji, 56619

Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Six months after his arrival, Clarence Lossing left Vietnam.

The 20-year-old Blackduck soldier on July 11, 1967, became the sixth member of Bravo Company, 4th/47th Infantry, 2nd Brigade to die in the Vietnam War.

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He had been up front in an enemy bunker line with four other soldiers when a single bullet struck him in the head.

He died instantly.

"Clarence was a fine soldier, 2nd Lt. Phillip R. Bateman, wrote to Clarence's family 42 years later. "His attention to duty and his loyalty to his comrades-in-arms was total and complete. Clarence never let any of his platoon members down and never shirked from any duty. If it needed to be done, Clarence could always be counted on."

On Saturday, about 20 surviving brothers-in-arms will gather with Clarence's family at Lakeview Cemetery in Blackduck to dedicate a memorial in his honor. The public, too, is invited to attend.

The full-sized statue of an Army soldier stands alongside Lossing's grave, dedicated in memory of the 4th/47th Infantry and all veterans.

Loren Lossing, Clarence's younger brother by one year, said they were two of seven children. But he and Clarence were particularly close.

"I was with him all of the time," he said. "We worked on farms, we were kind of poor kids, we went out and busted our rears together."

Clarence was married for 17 days before he left for Vietnam, Lossing said.

"He was quiet," he said, "A shy person."

Clarence was drafted in May. Lossing was drafted the following February.

Lossing was in the terminal at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport waiting to fly to Vietnam when he was told his brother had died.

"It was my intent to go over there so he could get out of there," he said. "It didn't work out."

Lossing said he impacted all those who served beside him.

About 20 of the men who served with him are planning to attend the memorial, he noted. All are Silver Star and Bronze Star recipients.

Clarence is memorialized online, through a website - http://www.9thinfantrydivision.com/html/lossing1.htm - set up to honor those from the 9th Infantry Division who died in battle.

In Bateman's letter, he told Clarence's family that Clarence, was called Black Duck due to his hometown, was a "good man and a fine courageous solider, a brave comrade."

"His loss was a deep wound for all of us," Bateman wrote. "It has never healed."

Lossing said the statue was put in place about two years ago, but never officially dedicated.

He had been waiting to see if the city or someone from the area might erect a memorial in veterans' honors, but decided to do t on his own.

When asked if there was something that prompted the action now, 43 years after Clarence's death, Lossing just said everyone is getting older.

He also mentioned that he had accompanied the casket for Maj. Michael Freyholtz as it traveled to Blackduck in preparation for his funeral.

"Ninety percent of the people on the road didn't pull over for us," Lossing said, noting that there was a sheriff's escort and flags indicating the procession. "There's no respect anymore, and it's sad."

Y bwesley@bemidjipioneer.com

Lossing said the statue was put in place about two years ago, but never officially dedicated.

He had been waiting to see if the city or someone from the area might erect a memorial in veterans' honors, but decided to do t on his own.

When asked if there was something that prompted the action now, 43 years after Clarence's death, Lossing just said everyone is getting older.

He also mentioned that he had accompanied the casket for Maj. Michael Freyholtz as it traveled to Blackduck in preparation for his funeral.

"Ninety percent of the people on the road didn't pull over for us," Lossing said, noting that there was a sheriff's escort and flags indicating the procession. "There's no respect anymore, and it's sad."

bwesley@bemidjipioneer.com

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