Eugene Martin Di Santo ("Sgt. Di") died of lung cancer on 28 September 2002 in California. He served with the second platoon of the 4/12th Cavalry in Viet Nam during 1969 - 70. Return to
the Roll Call at Fiddler's Green
Story of Di Santo getting wounded
Story of fire fight April 8
Subject: Sitrep: SGT DISANTO
Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2002 15:27:18 +0000
This is very very sad news. I remember Sgt D as a brave man and a kind man. The night of april 8th when 2nd Plt. got hit by the N.V.A. As the fire fight started and troopers started calling for our medic. Sgt. D left the cover of the tank risking his own life to check on his men. He was a true hero and a great leader. Sgt. Disanto is a leader in Gods Army now. He will always live in my heart and mind I will never forget Sgt. D. May God bless his family
Subject: Sitrep: Sgt. Di
Date: Tue, 01 Oct 2002 12:20:25 -0500 (CDT)
I was lucky as well as blessed that Sgt. Di was already the 2nd Platoon's Sgt. when I arrived in the Troop in July 1969. I immediately liked the man and judging from what I saw through-out the following 12 months, I honestly believe that Sgt. Di loved the men he led and served with. He was one of those few men I would have followed anywhere, even across the DMZ itself. When he went home in June of 1970, he left a big hole to be filled in the Cavalry and now, judging from the responses I've seen so far, Sgt. Di has left a big hole in our hearts. Rest in Peace my former Platoon Sgt. You made a huge impact on the hearts and minds of your platoon-mates and your troop-mates. God bless you!
Sgt. D - He was a role model for the average soldier. He was a father-figure, a friend and a comrade. He was wounded in October of 1969 and we saw him at the hospital in Quang Tri. He didn't want to leave us and vowed to return. He kept his word and returned after his wounds healed. He lead us through a difficult time in our lives and he taught us many valuable traits. April 8th was another example how he put himself in harm's way to look after his men. He was a leader among men. We are all proud to have known him. His memory will live on forever in our hearts.
Subject: Sitrep: Sgt D
Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2002 23:39:06 +0000
Like everyone who served with Sgt D,I feel a great loss. What I remember most about him was his humanity. In war a person can lose the ability for compassion and simple human kindness but not him. When we worked out of Cau Viet and the mornings would find us near the village, the children would show up and try to hang around. Some of us would cuss and swear at them and try to chase them away. Not Sgt D. He treated them like they were,children. You could usually find them by him and I think he enjoyed their presence. That picture of him with the children has always been in my mind. I will always remember him for the man that he was and I deeply regret not having a chance to see him again.May he rest in peace and may his family's grief be eased.
Photo left: 26 Crew L - R: Misa, Deierling, Sharpe & DiSanto.
Subject: Re: Sitrep: DiSanto
Date: Wed, 2 Oct 2002 19:55:03 EDT
Ain't life a bitch !!!!, I nearly cut off my left ring finger yesterday at work, but I didn't cry, but today I'll cry, Sgt, D didn't want us to know he was ill because he was the real John Wayne, the other was fiction, I would have cut off all my fingers to protect him, and he would have done the same for me.
I came into the Troop as 11-B, (rank E-3) placed on an apc as a driver, soon I was TC, then his driver was leaving country, I ask him for the job, he gave it to me, with no experience, that was SGT.D, he taught me tanks, driver, gunner, loader, tc, that was SGT. D, he raised me up to E-5, with an MOS change to 11-ECHO 20, in 7 months, that was SGT. D. , SGT.D was a humanitarian by nature, he was there for everyone, and he was guts & glory in one package asking for nothing in return, that was SGT. D. He yelled at me one time, we were in tall elephant grass, and I couldn't see anything ahead of me, I was driving by feel, everything looked the same to me and him, until I dropped the nose off in a bombcrater and slammed him into the 50 CAL. and almost over the tank and into the crater, that made him cuss me a little.
As his driver and lead tank, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way, I wanted to be in the lead because I had a military might and a father figure that I would give my life for, because he would do the same for me, guiding me through a war that was being protested back home, and it's putting tears on my keyboard as I'm typing this, that was SGT.D
I can always thank GOD for the esp that SGT. D and I shared, we didn't have to say words, we new each other in the dark or in the daylight, we worked like a well oiled machine together, until April 8 ( I was on R&R in Hawaii) and he got hit we had a nearly perfect tour going for us, I will always be proud.
Further proof that we didn't need words came in the end, SGT. D left about a week before me, his last couple of days we stayed in the club nearly non-stop, trying to drown out the good-byes, using the good ole liquid pain killer to soften the blow , he had a lot of good byes to give, but I only had one at that time, a Leader, a father figure, a best friend, a man that was a big part of my surviving the war, "MY HERO", I drove him to the airport in a jeep, we took lots of that liquid pain killer with us but we ran out and the plane was late, so I had to go and get more, but when the time came for him to leave, there was no words, we shared many tears and a handshake, no words were needed, we had survived the war together with a few scars on both of us, but it was over, this chapter of life would become memories, shared together without words, but tied together in spirit forever.
My sympathies to every one that new him and especially his family, as was quoted earlier by one of the troopers he was " A MAN AMONG MEN" that was SGT, D.
My typing is over but the tears will take awhile GOD BLESS YOU, SGT. D
Subject: Sitrep: sweet memories
Date: Wed, 02 Oct 2002 20:56:54 -0700
Sgt D's passing underscores the need for us to remember and reunite with our cav brothers. I had been searching for DiSanto for the last few years and was so looking forward to seeing him again. Two of the people I wanted to see most were DiSanto and Church. Both died this past year. I was so close to seeing them again. As I look back, Sgt D was one of my best friends. He didn't have to yell or scream, he lead by example.
I have a picture of the crew of 26. DiSanto, Myself, Misa, and Deierling. I thought how great it would be to have us all at the reunion. Jerry Beverage rode with us on occassion, as did Tom the gook, and FO Malm.
I remember countless hours of playing pinocle with DiSanto, Perrino, and Malm on the turret of 26. I play a lot of cards yet today and a game never passes without me thinking of those times.
Subject: Re: Sitrep: Sgt. D
Date: Wed, 2 Oct 2002 15:37:56 -0700 (PDT)
After reading all of the e-mails last night regarding the passing of Sgt. Di I was unable to put any coherent thoughts together but after a night and a day to think about it I have only one small speech to make.
Sgt. Di meant a lot to all of us his smile was infectious and brought sunshine into a bearly passable existence that we had so very far from home. He was always ready to give you advise and to teach you anything that you needed to keep you alive and safe. I never saw him mad, and he was always under control. As one of our brother stated he loved the kids no matter how much they pestered him, he always handled them with kindness and grace.
For me I wish I could have seen him one more time, but now Sgt. Di make sure that there is room for all of us when we get to Fiddlers Green.
From: Dennis Perrino
Subject: Re: Sitrep: DiSanto
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2002 01:27:15 -0400
Gene DiSanto was a special kind of guy. I learned so much from him that I carried throughout my career. Damn, I was really looking forward to the reunion with him there. He is sorely missed. All who served with him owed him much. A great trooper passes to Fiddler's Green. Adieu.
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