Road renamed to honor Marine killed in Vietnam

By KEITH LAWRENCE | Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, Ky. | Published: July 17, 2014

Larry Trail will be coming home to Ohio County this weekend to honor the brother he lost in Vietnam 49 years ago.

Ohio Fiscal Court voted recently to designate the entire length of Mount Zion Road as "Randell Gene Trail Road" in honor of the fourth man from the Owensboro area to die in Vietnam.

The dedication ceremony is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday in Rosine Park.

"They asked me to speak," Larry Trail said. "I'll be coming up from Pensacola, Florida. Several people with Rolling Thunder will be there. We're expecting a lot of people."

The Vietnam War was still popular back home in 1965 when Lance Cpl. Randell Trail went in as a member of I Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. But there were protests in the bigger cities and Trail didn't like them, his brother remembers.

"It really made me mad when I heard that," Randell Trail wrote his mother. "If I ever hear anybody say anything about it when I get home, I'll beat his block off."

"He wrote our mother saying we needed to be there," Larry Trail said. "He was very dedicated. He was where he wanted to be."

Randell Trail had been a Marine for 21 months by October 1965 and in Vietnam for eight months, stationed near Da Nang Air Force Base.

He should have been on leave to Okinawa, but his leave was canceled the day he was to have left.

So there he was on Oct. 23, 1965, a platoon leader, leading a night mission against a Viet Cong camp in Thua Thien Province along the north central coast of South Vietnam near the North Vietnamese border.

"They had surrounded an enemy camp and were going in at dawn," Larry Trail said. "When they did, one boy stepped on a land mine."

Randell Trail was severely wounded by shrapnel.

"They flew him to a hospital (Clark Air Force Base Hospital) in the Philippines," Larry Trail said. "I flew in from California (where he was serving in the U.S. Navy). But I didn't get there in time. Four of them passed away, including my brother."

Randell Trail died on Oct. 26 -- three days after he was wounded.

He was 21.

Thua Thien Province was the deadliest area in Vietnam for Americans. Before the war ended, 2,893 U.S. servicemen would die there.

Randell Trail, who was living in Owensboro when he enlisted, is buried in Sunnyside Cemetery in Beaver Dam.

"He would have been 70 last May," Larry Trail said. "I'm two years older. We were raised in Mt. Pleasant, a little town back in the woods. Mt. Zion Road goes back there."

Ohio Judge-Executive David Johnston said the road is about five miles from Rosine, where the ceremony is scheduled.

"Family and friends will be telling stories about him," Johnston said. "Then, we'll unveil the marker on the road."

The road will still be listed as Mt. Zion Road on maps and addresses.

"Randell Gene Trail Road" will be a secondary designation.

Johnston said the road should have been renamed several years ago.

"A few years ago, we started naming roads to honor Vietnam veterans," he said. "Somehow we missed him."

Sunday, the county will rectify the oversight.

Keith Lawrence, 691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com


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