What branch of the service are/were you in?
What do you think prompted you to join the military?
"Back in 1965 there was a Draft. The draft went into effect back in WWI, but in 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the first bill to have Military Draft during Peace Time. The Draft was to make sure there were enough military personnel to protect the country from aggressors. (WAR). You had no choice, when the government sent you a letter telling you to report for duty in the service of your country.
So I was drafted."
Where have you traveled to or been stationed while serving?
I got my orders in March of 1967 to go to Vietnam. Once there I was assigned to, 4th. Bn. 9th. Inf. 25th. Inf. Div. I was put in Headquarters Company because every Bn., (Battalion) was allotted 1 RTT operator.
RTT wasn’t really used in Vietnam so I ended up carrying a PRC 25, it was a portable radio you carried on your back."
Of all of the places you've been to during your service, was there a place that you liked the most?
"Not really, but I did go to The Philippines for a 5 day R & R, (rest and relaxation). It was nice, but it was just a little time away from war."
Were there anywhere you really disliked?
"Anywhere in Vietnam."
Were you in combat situations?
"Yes! Combat is not nice. I was always scared. Anyone that was ever in combat will tell you they were scared all the time. If they say they weren’t afraid they were either crazy or just not in combat."
Would you be willing to share what is your most vivid memory from the time you spent in combat?
"There are quite a few things that stand out. The one that always comes to mind first was the day I lost a good friend. We were told we shouldn’t make friends, for that, reason. We had gotten to an area we would be staying in for a couple of days. After setting up our shelter halves, I was the one on duty. The other radio operators were able to take a break. My friend, SGT. Edwards, was going to meet another friend that was with another unit but had joined up with us. The other friend was a Medic. He had only been gone about 5 minutes when we started to get mortared. I looked over at our shelter halves and noticed Sgt. Edwards helmet and flak jacket were still there. When they would Mortar us they would usually fire 10 to 15 mortars, and move to another location so we would have trouble pin pointing where they were. So I knew we had about at least 15 minutes between attacks. As it turned out it was the only attack at that time. I grabbed Sgt. Edwards’ helmet and flak jacket, and went over to the other unit. I saw dead guys in foxholes and wounded guys. I called the medic, and when he turned around he was covered in blood. Some was his, some as it turned out was Sgt. Edwards'. They were next to each other in a ditch when a mortar landed next to Sgt. Edwards. The medic was mostly protected by the Sgt. who took most of the blast. The medic tried everything he could, but Edwards was killed instantly. The helmet and flak jacket would not have saved him. I didn’t want to look at him so I just went back to my radio. I did send my helmet and flak jacket in with the Sergeants’ body. I wore his for the rest of my time in Vietnam."
What do you think the biggest need of Vets returning home from war today is?
"Every solider returning from combat should be talked to about what they saw and what they did. Then it would be determined if they may or may not need counseling. It should be started right away."
As a vet, do you have any recommendations for those who may be returning from duty and not know what to do or where to go for help, or that they even need help?
"Most, maybe not all, will end up having some kind of problem. It could be drinking, drugs, nightmares, anger issues. Sometimes it takes years to realize something is wrong you. Listen to other people. They may see something not quite right, that you, yourself cannot see."
"There is always some kind of parade, or services, something. I always spend part of the day with other veterans, that’s who we are most comfortable with."
Do you have advice or thoughts for someone who is considering military service at this moment but are undecided?
"The military can be a great life. There's great opportunities for school, a college degree, and travel. The only problem is, if there’s conflict somewhere, you could be thrust into war and killed- or lose an arm or leg or both. You have to look at all the options before you sign that paper."