CLINTON DALE NEUMAN
July 24, 1948 – March 2, 1972
Clinton Dale Neuman was born in the birthplace of his father and grandfather, rural Pipestone County, Minnesota on July 24, 1948. The area, on the Minnesota side of the South Dakota border was a wonderful place to raise a family, but a terrible place to find enough employment to properly raise a family. Early in the 1950s, Clint’s parents George Robert Neuman Jr. (1920-1970) and Theda Helene Thiele Neuman (1920-1997) moved the young family closer to Minneapolis where Clint and his brothers, Richard and James, enrolled in Minneapolis Central High School. It was there that Clint was to discover his first love, the beautiful Irene Jeanette Ragsdale (1949-2013). They dated through high school so it came as no surprise he and Irene married in October 1966, shortly after graduation. They shared far reaching, lofty, dreams of a future together, the very world was at their outstretched fingertips. They had just one of life’s little “speed bumps” to get out of the way first.
Clint’s parents met while serving their country during WWII. Clint’s dad was a PFC in the US Army and his mother Theda, was a PFC in the US Army Air Corp. With the Vietnam War in full swing, no doubt Clint felt the pressure of family pride when he enlisted the US Army on September 22, 1967. After Basic and Advanced Infantry Training, he found himself on the way to Kontum Province of Vietnam with the 4th Infantry Division. Clint volunteered for the 2nd Brigade LRRPs patrolling with 4-man teams out of FB Marylou in Kontum before the unit transition, then out of K Co., 75th Rangers in Pleiku. His occasional Team Leader, Chuck Harubin, 50 years later, remembers him clearly: “Clint was a funny guy, he would always keep you laughing on “stand-down”, but this warrior was deadly serious when it was needed. He was my RTO on several missions and always performed to the highest levels. With Clint and ATL Dennis Hopfinger, I always felt secure in the jungle. I remember Clint, warmly, as always laughing and giggling over something stupid we managed to do. He was courageous to the point where it was sometimes necessary to advise him the four of us could not win the war by ourselves. He came to us an impressionable kid and left a good man.”
After the transition, Clint continued to patrol with K Co., 75th Rangers with his last mission recorded with team R-31 in March of 1970 as ATL. Clint earned a Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and numerous other awards and decorations. He was honorably discharged on March 28, 1970. We often point out that many Rangers returned home with injuries that were not always apparent. No one returned home the same as when they left. Clint might have been one of the extreme cases. Long before the term PTSD had been coined, Clint displayed severe symptoms. The naive newly-wed “kid” that joined the Army from Minnesota returned a man who witnessed constant violence – a man with demons. His childhood sweetheart, Irene, could not have lost him more if he had come home in a box. Their dreams were destroyed, left in tatters in the big bad Central Highlands of Kontum. Having nothing left in common, they moved apart. Clint’s father died unexpectedly just months after his return and Clint tried to battle his loneliness alone. Gone was the ”fun guy”. The giggling, smiling team mate became a “runaway train” heading down the tracks of life leading to destruction and despair.
On March 2, 1972, Clint’s body was discovered alone, in a room he rented in the less prosperous section of Minneapolis. His date of death was never determined, his death certificate records only the date Clint’s remains were discovered. At age 23, Clint pointed a rifle at his own chest and pulled the trigger. The demons won. Apparently, there was no one there to have his back, to check on him, or even know he was gone. Even his death certificate furthers the mistreatment by the people who should have cared for him. It lists him as never having been married. Thankfully, Irene went on to finally find happiness with another marriage and we can be sure the sweetheart she lost in Vietnam remains happy for that.
Clint was buried as a Veteran in Fort Snelling National Cemetery along with his Mother, Father and Grandfather. The closeness of family that was denied him in life was ultimately found in death. So too, we Rangers of 2nd Brigade and K Co, 75th Rangers, welcome our brother home. The laughing, giggling Clint has rejoined us in a new AO.