PROFILE OF A MUSEUM VOLUNTEER
Tom Schindler was born on July 14, 1945 to Robert Schindler and Frances Schindler in Reno, Nevada where his father was a Master Sergeant in the Army Air Corps. Within a year, the family moved to March AFB in Riverside, CA where his sister Jane was born. The moves were not over however. In the next 15 years, there were moves to 15 different residences and 12 different schools.
After graduation from Carlmont High School in Belmont, CA, Tom attended Junior College in San Mateo while working for Pacific Telephone in the evenings. Eventually, he met his future bride, Miss Patti Di Buduo from Fresno, CA. She was a student at the then College of Notre Dame, now Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, CA.
Life was good until November 1967, when Tom received an invitation from his favorite Uncle Sam inviting him to join a very select group of men. A trip to the Oakland induction center a few weeks later cemented the invitation. However, since Christmas was only two weeks away, everyone was told to return home and report on January 3, 1968; Merry Christmas.
After the prerequisite Basic and AIT training in Washington and Louisiana, the next stop was the beautiful tropical Republic of Viet Nam. In May 1968, after processing and being assigned to a unit, a fine man from the 173rd Light Infantry Brigade said Jump School was a real good idea, and what fun it would be. Tom was going to an airborne unit anyway, so might as well go "All the Way". Long story short, Tom ended up with Recon, 2/505 PIR, 3rd BGD, 82nd Airborne Division in Hue/Phu Bai: just a short bus ride from the DMZ. The next eight months were spent in the bush of northwestern South Viet Nam searching out North Viet Nam regular army infiltration routes, weapon caches, and going uphill and downhill.
On Valentine Day, 1969 the entire Brigade packed up, loaded onto choppers and redeployed to III Corp, between Saigon and Chu Chi. Eventually, Tom was promoted to Sergeant. With the promotion came the responsibility of NCOIC for the battalion Tactical Operations Center, TOC, from Midnight to eight AM. With Tom's scheduled DROS coming up in May, a choice had to be made; go home as scheduled and serve remaining time stateside at Ft. Ord, or extend, return home with less than six months to serve and receive immediate discharge. Easy answer; extend. On July 8, 1969, the freedom bird left Viet Nam in the distance and headed for Travis AFB, CA. On July 10, 1969, Tom walked out of the Oakland Army terminal for good. Thanks for the trip Uncle.
Patti and Tom were married in Fresno on August 16, 1969. Tom returned to Pacific Bell and Patti began her teaching career. The following years brought a son and then a daughter. Tom returned to school receiving his Bachelor degree in Organization Behavior and Masters degree in Organization Development and Human Resources from the University of San Francisco. In 1996, Tom retired as Pacific Bell Management. The children got married, grandchildren came, and life was good. Then came the time to give back; serving God, a second career teaching at Fresno Pacific University, actively serving in Rotary, and finally making time to serve at the Veterans Memorial Museum: a truly educational and rewarding experience.