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Memories Of My Friend, ‘Dave Rabbit’

Dave entertaining troops in Afghanistan in 2006
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Have you ever had a memory of a friend who has passed, that immediately made you tear up? That happened to me this morning when I remembered my friend David DeLay, a.k.a ‘Dave Rabbit’.

“C. David DeLay Jr. received the Purple Heart and became a sergeant during his three combat tours with the Air Force in Vietnam, but is most widely known to veterans as “Dave Rabbit,” his underground radio persona in Saigon.
For 21 days in 1971, Mr. DeLay broadcast acid rock and entertained his brothers in arms from a pirate FM station he set up in a Saigon brothel.
After the war, Mr. DeLay returned to Richardson, where he settled into his family’s business, Trophies Inc. In 2006, he reprised his role as the shock jock via salty streaming audio over the Internet for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the past three years, he was the public address announcer for Southern Methodist University football, and recently for Mustangs’ basketball games.” -Joe Simnacher , DallasNews.com

I only knew Dave the last few years of his life, but when I would visit him in Dallas we had a great time. We would go to dinner or head out to Cabela’s and throw a few hundred rounds down range. It was always fun to listen to to him go on about his new production company and show off his new studio. He would share his memories of the pirate radio station he ran for a few weeks in Viet Nam in the back of a brothel. He was surprised later in life, when someone from Army Intelligence presented him with copies of his old shows. He had been a phenomena. Radio operators would record his show, then send it to their friends stationed all over the world. Dave would tell me of the day he almost died in Viet Nam from a mortar attack on his barracks. His best friend had been killed in the attack, a death that affected him more than any other in the war.

I’m not sure why those memories chose today to remind me of the loss. Maybe it was because I wish I had learned more from my friend. Maybe, it’s because I wish you could have known him.

It’s been 9 months since my friend passed away from acute respiratory distress syndrome in Dallas at the age of 63, and I still miss him.

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