SD Department of Veterans Affairs (2023)

Stories of the Vietnam War told by veterans who lived through it.

Below is an illustration of the Vietnam War as told by the sons and daughters of South Dakota as they lived it through personal experiences, exploits, and tragic losses.

Right after high school, at the age of 18, I was drafted. I lived on my parents' farm near the small town of Seneca, South Dakota, in western Faulk County.

Time flies so fast. There was a time when 24 hours seemed like an eternity and a week could seem like an eternity.

1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment
4. Infantry Division
body II
Pleiku, Ban Me Thout, Kontum
Republic of Sudvietnam
March 1968 to March 1969

• Nick Roseland, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

I joined the military because it would pay for two years of college and then I would serve active duty for three years. For a farmer with three sisters, it was a good chance to get a college education. I never regretted it.

I have wonderful memories of 12 hour days, six days a week, with a weekend off every 8-10 weeks. Everyone worked together, the head nurse came and helped distribute the trays. Since it was a conscript army, it was made up of people from all walks of life. We work hard and we play hard.

I initially joined to help take care of wounded soldiers since they didn't ask to be there. My hope was to go to Vietnam, but we started withdrawing troops, so they sent me to Germany, where we took care of some of the wounded. Of course, the Cold War continued.

I still work as a nurse for the Department of the Civilian Army in Germany and am now involved in supporting soldiers in three wars and multiple conflicts: as an army nurse during the Vietnam era, as an elementary school counselor in the First Gulf War and as community health adviser to the sisters for WWII. Gulf War. I hope this is the last.

I met my husband in Spain on a four-day pass given to me after being promoted to captain. After 28 years of marriage, it was one of the best things I've ever "got out of the army." The other great things I received were my bachelor's and master's degrees.

Today's military is different, but many things remain the same. I love working for the military and supporting our brave soldiers and their families.

• Kathleen S. Ackermann, APO, AE

In this setting, American soldiers of all races fought together. However, when not on a mission, some soldiers tended to associate with their own race. My experience has been that soldiers of all races generally get along and personal matters between soldiers do not necessarily follow racial lines. However, I remember incidents of racial tension between black and white soldiers in 2/60. This is where Adams comes in. He was barely five feet tall. He was black and hung out with other black soldiers in the battalion. Whenever trouble seemed brewing, he had a smile, intelligence, and wisdom that calmed almost any situation. When I heard that Adams was killed, I thought what a waste, more than usual. I think Adams would have had a lot to offer if he had lived.

• Dale Bertsch, Pierre, SD.

In 1969 I joined the United States Marine Corps; I just graduated from Freeman High School. Two of our 1969 graduating class joined the Marine Corps. Like all new boot camp recruits, you wonder: Why did I do that? And how do I get out of this mess I've gotten myself into? My parents were against me joining the military and especially the marines. For a while I thought they were right. I have learned to accept my situation and make the best of it. The training was hard, but it was worth it. Because of this upbringing, I really wanted to go to South Vietnam. The Vietnam War was difficult for me, but rewarding. My experience there stayed with me for the rest of my life. I think I have accepted the war and used it positively. I am proud to have served in Vietnam. There are very few Americans and very few military personnel who have served in a combat zone and had that experience. Thank you.

• Allen J. Adrian, Sioux Falls, SD

I attended Army Basic Training, AIT and then Officer Candidate School after graduating from SDSU. I was accepted into flight school after OCS and trained in the OV-1 Mohawk surveillance plane, a twin turboprop built by Grumman. The Mohawk performed low-level surveillance missions day and night with cameras and infrared devices installed. I have flown missions in the I CORP region including DMZ, Ashau Valley, Ho Chi Minh Trail and also in Cambodia. One well-remembered mission was the photographic exploration of the Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia that had fallen into Vietcong possession. Due to the distance from our airfield, we had to fly to Ubon Air Force Base, Thailand, to refuel before returning to Vietnam. Although my plane was hit several times, I was never shot down during my two trips to Vietnam.

The Mohawk was retired from active military service in 1996, but it still flies in several foreign countries and in some American aircraft history museums. In 1969, while stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington, I flew a Mohawk cross-country, landing at Pierre, and visiting my parents at Highmore. Look out for a Mohawk on the memorial overpass in 2006. This is the second time a Mohawk has appeared in Pierre. Thank you South Dakota for remembering Vietnam Veterans.

• Rod D. Anderson, Pierre, SD

In the province of Tay Ninh, III. Corps, RVN, we were conducting a search operation for ARVN infantry at Nui Ba Dinh (Black Mountain) and I (MACV advisor) sat in a UH-1D helicopter to deliver some supplies to our MACV infantry advisors; we were preparing to leave the mountain and were floating in the air when an enemy sniper opened fire on us; The bullet's trajectory missed our M-60 Door Gunner and went through our fuel tank and out the other side, narrowly missing our other Door Gunner. We made an emergency landing in the rice fields, and after assessing the damage, we flew to the Tay Ninh base and changed helicopters. One of the pilots was Dennis Vehee, a graduate of SDSU ROTC.

• Larry D. Birger, Sr., Jamestown, ND

The ministry in Vietnam was the greatest experience of my life. I enlisted in the Air Force at 17 years and 11 months. I have formed many long-term relationships with other Airmen, as well as some short-term relationships with Vietnamese children. Four of my friends and I spent most weekends at the beach, weather and other circumstances permitting, bringing food and drink to these children, some of whom were orphans. If one or two children did not appear on the beach, the other children would tell us that they had died. When I left Vietnam I gave all my clothes and boots to our servant.

• David S. Brandriet, Watertown, SD

Somehow I feel very strange writing this for my husband David. He should be writing about his Vietnam experience, not me.

You see, my husband died thirteen years ago. On April 19, 1993, he and seven other people died on the state plane while en route to rescue one of South Dakota's largest employers. Dave, Governor Mickelson, and fellow pilot Ron Becker died along with five others that day in Iowa.

Dave would be very excited about the upcoming celebration. He would like to share this time with other Vietnam vets, especially his friend Jim Elkins from Watertown, SD and his friends in the VEVA (Vietnam Era Veterans Association) group here at Pierre.

It never ceased to amaze me what Dave went through in Vietnam. He never talked to me much about it, but I learned a lot from his friends after his death. Dave was a Huey helicopter pilot and was shot down and wounded on May 31, 1969. He survived the war thanks to the blessings of God and a few other pilots who rescued him and others that day. Of his own free will, he stayed in the country to recover from his injuries and completed his mission, though he could have returned home.

After the war, Dave returned to SD. We met in April 1971 and were married in December 1971. Shortly after the birth of our first daughter Kristi in 1973, he joined Highway Patrol SD and brought us Pierre. After a brief stay at Pierre's, the patrol selected Dave to be the Highway Patrol pilot. He took flight lessons to pilot the patrol plane, a Cessna 182. He loved his job; fly over our beautiful state, alone on the plane. After flying for some time, he was chosen to be Governor Janklow's bodyguard. He became a full-time job, so he pretty much had to stop flying to patrol. They hired another pilot, Dave was his supervisor and also retained his position as bodyguard.

So the state decided that it would be nice if it could fly the plane the governor was on, since he was always on the plane anyway. So he first learned to fly the King Air, the plane that Dave loved to fly. So Governor Janklow traded the King Air for the MU-2, the plane in which Dave died.

Dave has traveled all over the US, back home, and always has a story to tell, whether it's a day trip or just a few days. The girls and I always looked forward to your stories.

Then came this day that I will never forget. Dave had gone on a trip, taking Governor Mickelson and others to Ohio. The day started like any other but ended with a pain that I will never forget. We survived his death, but we will never forget it. We miss you every day; I feel especially bad for everything he's missed in the thirteen years he's been away: Cathy's confirmation and high school graduation, Kris and Cathy's college degrees, both marriages (and not knowing the two sons-in-law who are amazing) and the birth of our two wonderful grandchildren, Ty David and Alyssa Kaye. What joy they would give you.

I don't understand why he survived Vietnam only to die in the fields of Iowa. But I guess it's not my place to know. Just know that we are very proud of his service to our country and happy that he and his comrades are finally receiving the recognition they deserved so many years ago.

Sra. David (Diane) Hansen
Kristi Hansen Turman
Cathy Hansen Stahl
• David H. Hansen, Pierre, SD

Let us never forget our past mistakes and never blame our military for the mistakes of a nation.

• David L. Braun, Pierre, SD

He served with Commander Coastal Surveillance Forces (CTF 115) River Flotilla One. He served in Operation SEA FLOAT III. I was in the country from October 1969 to September 1970. While in Vietnam, my youngest daughter was born just three weeks after I arrived. I first saw her when she was nine months old.

• Roger Brooks, Brandon, SD

I'll have to come back to this with some stories and pictures!

• Michael G. Schloss, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

I joined the ministry with Ron Jirsa from Mitchell, SD. We did basic training together. He went to Fort Sill, OK and I went to Fort Lewis, WA and we met again in Fort Lewis. He went to FDC and I became a physician assigned to his heat. We left together for Vietnam on the USNS General John Pope. We landed in Vietnam together, did our tour together, and came home together. He went home with Mitchell and I went home with Chamberlain. It is unusual for two men to serve in the same area throughout their Vietnam experience.

• Lawrence E. Clark, Sioux Falls, SD

In the 1960s, many young men were called to serve their country. Many of our parents were World War II veterans, and their patriotism was reflected in our family values ​​and reflected in our thinking.

The idea that our country would call us to serve was widespread and unchallenged, and we answered the call. I remember reading in the newspaper as an 18-year-old college student that my neighbor and high school friend, Roger Jensen, had been killed in Vietnam. I felt the call to duty and volunteered to recruit in late 1968.

As the Vietnam War dragged on and media exposure, political skepticism, and peace rallies influenced soldiers and their thinking, it became difficult to focus on duty and mission. And yet we were soldiers, young and committed to service. We have seen a lot and learned a lot and for my part I feel good to have served my country and sad that the result has been as it was. I am proud to have served and continue to be a proud and patriotic American.

We do not always agree with the decisions of our leaders, but today we once again have a duty to defend our country without question when called upon. Anyone who has served in Vietnam or any other war deserves the respect of all citizens for risking their lives for freedom. Let no one take what we have here in America for granted and remember that many have paid the ultimate price in the past and many more continue to do so today. Celebrate and appreciate your veterans who gave everything they had to give for their freedom and for the United States of America.

Finally, never let someone like Jane Fonda influence you with her twisted, perverted views and unpatriotic thinking. People like them are just as responsible for the lives lost as the enemy himself. As Americans, when we are called to serve, we do it and we are proud of it. We all prefer peace to war, but peace has a price and must be protected.

• Jerome K. Cleveland, Pierre, South Dakota

Great care and devotion should be shown to the wives of all veterans because they were the ones who held families together, paid the bills, raised children, and provided more support than can be expressed in 300 words or less. They really need recognition for their individual efforts and sacrifices. THANKS MOM!! YOU ARE THE BACK OF THIS FAMILY!!

• Robert A. Coates, Piedmont, Dakota del Sur

No story, just thought I was doing the right thing and it would be a way out of South Dakota. Now, years later, I see that it wasn't the right thing to do, and I'm glad to be able to return to South Dakota.

• Kennedy E. David, Hot Springs, SD

I was a fuel expert while serving in Taiwan. Tainan AB was a downed aircraft repair station in Vietnam. I have refueled countless planes that were badly riddled with bullet holes and needed repairs before they could fly and operate again.

• Kenneth L. Erlenbusch, Pierre, SD

A little humor goes a long way, but when it comes to cooking, my wife still won't let me use C4 when cooking outside! My platoon acted as engineer. They told us to build an artillery support base. We had no axes or saws. We wrapped the C4s around the trees and detonated them and searched for whatever materials we could get our hands on, but about an hour after we finished we were eating C rations and the Army gunners were eating steaks. Who knows!!!

Horseshoe ganks don't look very good, especially from inside. One time we had an NVA company shooting at us and two more came up the hill on each side while we were sitting on or near buried land mines. It was the Lord Jesus who spared my life that day.

• John A. Fette, Pierre, SD

This is a poem I wrote yesterday about soldiers in the Vietnam War: I was just a baby in the middle of the war, but it still shaped my life. After seeing the Vietnam War Memorial website yesterday, I went home and was inspired to write something to let all the veterans know how much I care. I hope you enjoy reading.


where do i begin to say
how grateful i am
To all sons and daughters
Who served in Vietnam?

I hadn't even been born yet
When it started in 1961
A war that never seemed to end
Fourteen years after launch

Like a kid from the seventies
I didn't know what the fight was for
I would listen to my parents when they talk about it.
But I didn't know it was a war.

the innocence of childhood
saved me from the news
And the protesters who talked too loud
This war was not the right choice.

I did not know that in another country
My cousins ​​and uncles were in danger
I did not know that many sons and daughters
I would not return home to the US.

only when i was older
And listening to a teacher tell the story
Of the soldiers who fought so hard
And they served with all their power and glory

No one could really explain it
Why did it have to be this war?
Or why so many lost their lives
doesn't make any sense to me

All I know is that I'm honored
To say that these soldiers gave everything
When our country said "We need you"
And duty called

The design was launched.
And the young people were lining up
without knowing where they went
Or when would be your time

The war itself has ended years ago.
But you can still see the pain in his eyes
When they think that their friends are gone
And look up to the heavenly sky

I am the mother of five children
And I can't imagine the pain
Losing one of them in the war.
and never see her again

Those of you who made it back
you deserve so much more
And I want to tell you that from the bottom of my heart
Exactly what I think you represent

I'm still free thanks to you
And so are other people in the world.
You did what your president asked you to
And he did what he was told

In a way, I owe you so much more.
of what i can give
You teach my children about honor
Many innocent people are still alive thanks to you.

I honor you, I respect you
I believe in you and I care
I wish I could heal the wounds
That you stayed there

I can't change the past
Or bring back your dear friends
But I can try to make America understandable
That the war in their hearts isn't over

Do you still feel the sadness?
And I'm sure you feel the pain
Knowing you can't turn back time
And bring your friends back

we can only move on
And remember this with pride
Who fought against you all those years ago?
And served with dignity by your side

If ever there was a greater honor
Sitting on the thrones of heaven
It is for our sons and daughters.
The proud, the brave and the unforgettable
Two hundred seven….

• Dena Marie Boyd-McCaskell, Pierre, SD.

On my 13-month tour I don't remember sleeping. I have never intentionally sat or lay down to sleep. When you do this, you may not hear "in" or "(deleted)" along the line. But of course I fell asleep, one of my worst non-fight feelings during my tour was waking up from a dream where I was back in my own room in the comfort of my parents' house. It was so unbelievably real. Then I woke up and looked up at the rafters of the bunker where we were staying. God, what a deep, desperate feeling this morning!

• Brian R. Gage, Sioux Falls, SD

I spent about two years with the Strategic Air Command at Fairchild AFB, Spokane, WA on no-tact planning. I was then sent to Clark AFB PI, where we established the Southeast Asia Military Altitude Reserve Facility in 1965. Sixteen years after leaving the USAF, I joined the South Dakota Air National Guard, where I served as post controller commando and drill sergeant before retiring in 1998.

• Greg C. Halle, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

If you can imagine the entire 7th Fleet in the South China Sea at once, that was pretty impressive. More than 50-60 ships of all sizes were waiting in a confined space to see what would happen. On the Dubuque, the ship I was on, the people who came to the ship in their little sanpans thought we were going to sink because we had the ability to deballast and lower the ship for other ships behind us to bring. I had photos but they were removed for confidentiality reasons. (At least that's what they told me.)

• Thomas A. Henle, Sioux Falls, SD

I was recruited in Gregory, SD in 1968 after teaching five years in college and two years in high school. My education was in Fort Lewis, Washington and Fort Benning, GA. I was sent to Vietnam in May 1969 and assigned to Big Red One (Mechanized) (A-2-2). Almost two months after arriving in Vietnam, on July 12, 1969, I was wounded in the Battle of Nui Ba Den (Black Mountain of the Virgin). After spending two weeks in Japan, I was sent home to Fitzsimmons General Hospital in Denver. After spending nine months at Fitzsimmons with a fractured left femur, I was discharged from the Army on April 17, 1970. I am very proud of 50% DAV and am a Life Member of DAV, VFW and American Legion. I retired from teaching in 2003 and have made our home in Broken Bow, NE since 1978.

• Dennis E. Jones, Broken Bow, NE

I HAVE NO STORIES. But I have something to say. Coming home to California in an ambulance, we were attacked at the front gate of the base. To you, John Q. America and Jane Fonda, thank you for caring about my pain. 37 years ago and the pain never goes away. I see you're fine. Jane was nominated for Woman of the Year. I think there must be revenge in the next life. I know I sound angry but I found happiness before I died through God and my children. FOREVER

• Tommy W. Little Sr., Gewinner, S.D.

Veterans should know these terms: Dung Lai (Stop), Dua Tay Len Dau (Put hands on your head), Xay Ben Phai (Turn right), Xay Ben Trai (Turn left), ACE OF SPADES ( Eternal Damnation) and MPC (Military Salary Receipts). PS I have a copy of Pacific Stars and Stripes Volume 24, Number 31 titled VC HIT SAIGON. The "Tet Offensive" started the day before and all hell broke loose. Cartoons in this issue included Blondie, who celebrated his 75th birthday in 2005. My memories include Bob Hope and Raquel Welsh (both Christmas 1967); juicy bugs in my salad at Cam Ranh Bay; Creepy (cool gun); a lot of young people using drugs - they just couldn't handle it; one of the first Huey Cobra Gunships (totally awesome); Orange agent; the terrible smells inside; eating a rat meat sandwich in downtown Bien Hoa (tasted like a jerky sandwich); our friends there (the Australians were our best friends); our company hairdresser (who tortured and murdered our trusted Vietnamese helpers); and especially to all those who have been waiting for us to give South Vietnam its own freedom and identity.

Looking back, I forgive all those who spat on me and betrayed their country in times of war. I do not feel that I was blind to the problems and accepted my duties to my country, my family and my freedom. Those who have denied their duties to their country will have to live with it, just like their descendants. Just like I have to live with the things I've been asked to do for America. Thank you for the gifts from AMERICA. Thank you for the gift of being born here. Thank you for reading this far.

• Francis T. Logan, Rapid City, South Dakota

I was on duty in Korea when I was sent to Thailand as a TDY to serve at Camp Amistad and help maintain a Ghost Division. When the regular rotation of the troops was reported, I was told that I could go. Without a pass, I was told that I couldn't go out with normal challenges. One night around 9 p.m. they called me at the company headquarters. I was told that at 11pm a plane would be parked at the dark end of the runway to warm up its engines and its door would be open. A friend took me to the area, I jumped the fence, got on a C47 and we left Laos for Saigon where I took an official military flight back to Korea to end my tour there.

• Lawrence R. Madsen, Gettysburg, SD

I remember arriving at the field late at night. When we stopped in front of the terminal, all the lights on the plane and in the airport were off. We had a total blackout, so we were not an easy target for mortars and missiles. We got off the plane and I will never forget the experience. It was unbelievably hot and muggy. I have never been so scared in my entire life. Twenty-two months later I was at the "Freiheitvogel" and on my way home. I lost many friends and comrades.

• Clarence S. Mardian, Sioux Falls, SD

Many young people have grown up quickly in Vietnam. I was just one of them and I came home. Not many. They became friends very quickly in Vietnam, and some of those friends are long gone. Making friends from Vietnam is often hard, but I recently had the chance to meet the man who saved my life and I never knew it. It was my honor and humility to stand before this man again and say, "Thank you, Captain Hurley." This was the first time I had seen this man in over 35 years! The event was made even sadder by the fact that it was his father's funeral. His father was also a personal hero to me.

When I came to Vietnam they laughed at me because I'm from Canton, SD. He knew that very few people had ever heard of South Dakota, let alone Canton. I didn't know that Jim Hurley (from Canton) had been his CO for the last six months and he was always talking about Canton and South Dakota. He cared about his men and it really showed in his attitude. He had recently been transferred to our forward fire base, but he was the one everyone was talking about. you missed it When they sent me to our forward fire base, he met me on the helicopter pad. The events that took place after our meeting are not important. It was important that he finally got to thank Captain James Hurley. He complemented and separated many emotions that he still carried inside of me. This may sound silly, but I want to publicly thank Captain James Hurley for being in Vietnam and saving so many young lives.

• Patrick J. Martin, Sioux Falls, SD

I have many stories and memories from my time on the USS Constellation and my short time in DaNang, Vietnam.

• Larry V. Ollerich, Sioux Falls, SD

Two reminders:

#1...... Bob Hope's Christmas in Cu Chi. A special thank you goes out to Mr. Hope to bring Christmas to young servicemen away from home.

#2..... Seeing my Freedom Bird on the runway waiting for me to tackle.

• Michael V. Olson, Martin, SD

What I remember most from my experience in Vietnam was the 27-hour flight from Travis Air Force Base and the blast of heat when the plane doors opened. From then on it was one day after another. Trust was the most important thing. If someone told him to pass another vehicle without looking for traffic, he did. Trust was everywhere. The person who trusted you one day could have saved your life the next.

Another thing I remember is being armed all the time outside of the unit area. I also note the lack of parts for M151 trucks and jeeps. The saddest part of my experience was the loss of two of my men in hostile events. I must add that when I arrived in Vietnam it was November and very cold at night in the central highlands. I remember waking up several times to find that a mouse had climbed onto my blanket and curled up on my stomach for warmth. When I woke up, the mouse ran away and I stayed up all day. I would like to thank the State of South Dakota for hosting this event.

• Wenton W. Peters, Mitchell, SD

I was proud to have served my country in Vietnam and elsewhere for more than 30 years. It was an honor to display the small South Dakota state flag sent to me by the State Capitol during my service in Vietnam. And I was pleased that the state legislature passed a bonus for Vietnam-era veterans.

• Calvin L. Peterson, North Myrtle Beach, Carolina del Sur

In July 1969 I was sent to Vietnam with a few days of special training in an area where people were dying every day. They promoted me quickly. I risked my life every day and when I got home my favorite friend from USD told me that none of her friends from her college could watch it with me because what I did in the service was wrong.

I tried to get into VFW and the guy behind the bar said he couldn't stop me but it wasn't really a war. That must be why I only know one person I've killed. I only signed up years later. I was invited to join the American Legion in a small town, Wakonda, 20 miles from my native American Legion.

A friend invited me to join the VFW in the 1980s and I accepted. When I was elected commander, some World War II veterans put so much pressure on me that I resigned six months later. I was kicked out of the VFW and invited back in because they needed the support of Vietnam vets. They just couldn't understand why they only have two active Vietnam vets to date. Since then, I have served four consecutive terms as Commander and have since served as Principal Deputy Commander.

I was named President of the State Special Olympics and served four years. A new state commander arrived and ordered a Korean vet to help me. I have seen revenue grow for four years. Suddenly I couldn't trust myself anymore. I became the only president with an assistant. I give up.

To this day I regret not going to Canada. It seems that they have been better received.

I was placed for a second Bronze Star that I never received after being in charge of a top-secret mission for four months before returning home. They offered me to change from E-5 to E-6. I did not and still do not want anything from anyone in connection with my high school field trip to Vietnam. The only reason I'm going to the dedication is because I've been president of the Vermillion Clay County Veterans Memorial for five years and I'll probably be gone until I can't anymore.

• Leo F. Powell, Zinnoberrot, SD

Still a member of the South Dakota Air National Guard, he will turn 34 in December 2005. He currently holds the rank of Chief Master Sergeant (E-9).

• Bruce A. Schwan, Sioux Falls, SD

Many people don't know that the United States Coast Guard was involved in the Vietnam War. The Coast Guard had sea and land units. I served at a LORAN (Long Range Aids to Navigation) monitoring station near Udorn, Thailand from August 1970 to August 1971. This station was located at the Royal Thai Air Base Udorn. We were one of the five stations of the Southeast Asian network. LORAN was the navigation system used by all other services. Ours was the monitoring station that kept the others "on time and within tolerance." My job at the station was a LORAN and COMS spotter. The station had a crew of about 25 to 30 men. We work a lot and we also play a lot. The friendships I made in Thailand during the war were special; We were more than friends, we were family.

• Edward D. Timm, Elkton, SD

I was a combat engineer handling explosives like booby traps, demining and commando demining. I have been involved in seven counterinsurgency operations and numerous search and destroy missions. Lots of stories, but I'll keep them to myself, some things you don't want to remember.

• Kenneth D. Trigg, Pierre, SD

From October 11, 1971 to August 24, 1972 I served as Senior Radio Operator (O5B10) for the Advisory Team. Chau Doc is located on the Mekong near the Cambodian border, about 80 kilometers from Phnom Penh. When I arrived in 1971, we had six field teams supporting the Vietnamese army, but when I left in 1972, only one team remained. On February 22, 1973, I received an honorable discharge from MSG in 2000.

• Randal L. VonEhwegen, Vermillion, SD

Although I served in the Navy during the Vietnam era, I returned to South Dakota and joined the National Guard, serving with the 147th FA in Aberdeen, Webster, and later with the Medical Clearing Company in Winner, SD. In 1980 I returned to active duty in the Army Reserve and retired to Georgia. Sometimes I miss South Dakota and travel there often. But my children and grandchildren are in Georgia, so I am a displaced Dakotan.

• Daniel L. Walker, Homer, GA

Came to Vietnam with MCB 5 as a metallurgist. He spent three months in Tan An on a team as a welder. He then attached himself to Detail Mustang in the Delta at Cau Mau and built a base for the ARVN.

• Jim Pelle, Fort Pierre, Dakota del Sur

I was recruited to Northern State University in 1967 after one year of college. I trained in Seattle, WA, then at Ft. Bueno. He served in Vietnam in the Army Artillery, 175mm 8-inch guns, at FSB Santa Barbara, also known as the French Fort, about 10 km north of the city of Tay Ninh. I extended my tour of the country so I could leave before the service. He got to Sgt. E5 artillery gunner, MOS 13B40. I returned to the "world" in June 1969 in Oakland, CA. Please see my photos and poems uploaded to this site.

• Larry Kleinschmidt, Sunderland, Massachusetts

I was there when Richard Rennolet was killed by the accidental explosion of a white phosphorous shell. His name is on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Capital Lake. I think it's important to note that some fine young men and women have died as a result of accidents and friendly fire, which is also part of the danger of being in a war zone.

• Edward Dvorak, Lake Bay, Washington

After graduating from high school in 1948, Deane was accepted into the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Shortly after serving as an ensign in 1952, Aldern completed flight training and assumed the role of naval aviator in March 1954. He initially served with the "Seven" Utility Squadron and later transferred to the "Ninety-Four" Fighter Squadron. ". He served aboard the aircraft carriers USS Yorktown and USS Hornet in the Pacific. Captain Aldern then returned to the Naval Academy as an instructor in air navigation and military studies.

In 1961, Captain Aldern served as a flight deck officer aboard the USS Enterprise during an extended tour of duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1964 he enlisted in Fighter Squadron One Hundred Seventy-Four and then Fighter Squadron Eleven before serving as Air Wing One operations officer aboard the USS Roosevelt in the Mediterranean. In 1966, Captain Aldern became Executive Officer and Commanding Officer of Fighter Squadron One Hundred and Ninety-First aboard the USS Ticonderoga, where he served two combat missions in Southeast Asia. After further training at the Air War College in Alabama, Captain Aldern became commander of Air Wing "Nineteen" aboard the USS Oriskany.

• Donald Aldern, San Diego, California (deceased)

I served in Thailand toward the end of the Vietnam War as a second lieutenant assigned to the 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing in Udorn, Thailand (July 15, 1973 to December 30, 1974). My duties included providing intelligence support and enemy threat briefings to RF-4E Phantom reconnaissance crews flying photo reconnaissance missions over Cambodia and Laos. In the fall of 1974, I delivered the first intelligence reports on the supply and reinforcement of North Vietnamese Army forces for the final invasion of the Republic of South Vietnam in April 1975.

During my time with Udorn, I also served as head of the Intelligence Training Division, instructing the crew on evasion and escape techniques, air defense threats, and aircraft reconnaissance. In October 1973 I attended the USAF Jungle Survival School at Clark AB in the Philippines. My last career in the USAF was as the Director of Intelligence for the 28th Bomb Squadron and the 44th Strategic Missile Squadron at Ellsworth AFB, SD. I retired in 1992 as a lieutenant colonel.

• Kenneth S. Moon, Rapid City, SD

I was a PC3 (postal worker) and it was a difficult task to always carry mail for Shipmates, especially when we were working in and around Vietnam. The first time I went ashore to pick up the mail was at Chu Lai and it was just a big stretch of sand. After a year I had the opportunity to return to the same base to collect the mail, and when I set foot on land it was hard to believe that this huge base had been built in such a short time. Receiving the mail in DaNang was much more dangerous as we went through dangerous areas to get to the base to pick up the mail and then return to our ship. When we transported and delivered some gunboats at the mouth of the Saigon River, I saw an urgent need for the people there to have these gunboats to fight for their cause.

• Jon Dahlke, Rapid City, SD

Not all days were bad in Lai Kai, Vietnam. Some of the men were having a good time. Like when some of us decided we still needed beer, but how should we get to Saigon to get it? The answer came when a Huey pilot said easy, let's get the Huey. Seems as easy as taking your dad's car, right? So some of us got on the Huey and flew to Saigon. We bought several cases of beer and loaded them into the Huey, so we decided to see a bit of the city. We found a hotel, the Mai Lin I think, where we had a hot shower, electricity and a hot meal. We then fly back to our camp. we are in problems??? Yes. Would we have done it anyway? Yes. If I could find the boys who were with me, I would thank them for helping to make the war so much easier.

• Darold K. Richards, Sisseton, SD

In November 1999 I returned to Vietnam on a mission trip. There I met a young Vietnamese interpreter with whom I became friends and we continued to correspond after our return. The following year, my wife and I returned to serve the wheelchair mission again. We met the young woman again, and she handed us what must have been the remains of an American soldier, including a dog tag. After returning home with these items, we check the identification tag as MIA. With the help of Argus Leader reporter David Kranz and Senator Tom Daschle, the remains were identified through DNA testing as Luther Ritchey Jr., a Marine from Ohio who was reported missing in October 1963. In 2004, his remains were returned to his family in Ohio and buried with full military honors. This was a very exciting and rewarding experience after more than 33 years of service in Vietnam.

• Douglas Haugstad, Sioux Falls, SD

Rank 22 in the Legion, Gillette Wyoming, member of the Honor Guard. It would be an honor to play Taps at this event.

• Gary Rye, Gillette, Wyoming

Being in the Air Force was radically different, safer, and much less stressful than for many other soldiers. Since I was working in administrative support, the work week was 60 hours. I flew on an "IBM Selectric" typewriter. However, working in HR had some interesting and fulfilling moments. The best part was getting to throw the Air Force guys into their "freedom birds". The worst part of the job was being so far from family and home. Remembering other fun parts includes remembering the Saturday night parties at the Tan San Nhut Clinic. It looked like a modern MASH. The medical staff were outrageous and excellent, and the "network" and collaboration of numerous people throughout the base, combined with their influence and access to resources, made large parties possible. These short escapes seemed like fun enough to get her through the next week. Of course, I scheduled the first "bird" available in the defined month of departure.

• John Simpson, Pierre, SD

I was summoned and notified to report to the Sioux Falls Post Office for a physical on July 13, 1969. The next morning I got to my attentions in Ft. Lewis, Washington. Eight weeks later I was taken to Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, where I received ten weeks of medical training. I arrived in Vietnam on December 13, 1969. On December 20, 1969 I was posted to the 4th Infantry 3/12 to serve as a platoon medic. After that, I spent almost three days in the jungle around Plecu in the central highlands of Vietnam. For five months, I was hit by shrapnel from an R.P.G. I spent the next 5 months in military hospitals. I was released on April 13, 1971. Fast travel! If you have to go to war, going as a medic is clearly a good way to go.

• Roger Andal, Brandon, SD

During most of my time in DaNang, Vietnam, I was assigned to the Navy's Security, Intelligence and Investigations Unit, which was engaged in investigative and interdiction activities on the orders of the Admiral. These activities spanned a variety of possibilities, from drug use and trafficking to black market activity, self-inflicted injuries, unexplained shootings, unauthorized abandonment and unusual disappearances, and anything else that might arise. That was quite an interesting opportunity at the time.

• Edward A. Parkhurst, Sioux Falls, SD

I was in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969, I was there during the Tet offensive in 1968. It's still hard for me to talk about it. So they killed my best friend. His name was Michael Kolarov. He was from Akron, Ohio. He was killed at Hua Nghia with the 101st Airborne. He is on plate 45W-line 53 on the Washington DC wall. He was assassinated on September 6, 1968. I think I'll carry this with me until he dies. It's important to me to tell his story and not mine. I'm still here, but he's not. He rests in peace my friend.

• Samuel Jack, Hurley, Dakota del Sur

In December 1953, because I was tired of school, I dropped out of the Rapid City School of Mines and enlisted in the US Marine Corps for a three-year "school break trip." That didn't work out because the Marines sent me to a year-long electronics maintenance school. After school, I married my high school sweetheart and toured Cherry Point, NC for three and a half years. Because I liked the Corps, I extended my draft for 1 year and then enlisted for another 6 years. The corps sent me back to school, after which I had my first overseas tour with MASS-2 in Japan. Upon my return, I was one of twelve Marines selected to attend another school, this time an industrial school with an experimental computerized air defense system. During the field testing phase of this Marine Tactical Data System (MTDS), I was selected to attend the NCO selection course, which resulted in a promotion from SSGT to NCO in 1963. In 1965 I was promoted to 2nLt. and two years later from First Lieutenant to Captain. In 1968-69 I was assigned as a maintenance officer with the MTDS at Monkey Mountain, Vietnam. Returning to CONUS, he completed a two-year tour of NC before being assigned to USMC CommElectSchool in 29 Palms, CA.

During this trip, while serving as the Principal of ElecMaintSchool, I was promoted to Commander. I retired a year later in August 1975. My attempts to avoid school failed, but I had a very rewarding career in the Marine Corps because of my military training. So far, my marriage has survived over 50 years and we have raised two wonderful children. Semper Fi to all my friends in the Navy!

• Gerald D. Fabricius, Twentynine Palms, CA

come with me my brother

Come with me, my brother; to the past that seems so close;
The past of fallen soldiers and frightened youth;
Fear of loss and fear of death in a place so far away;
It got us all in an uproar; sometimes you feel lonely;

Come with me, my brother; tell me about your pain;
The heat of the jungle, the stench of blood and the endless monsoon rains;
I want to know about your friends; the guy who died that day;
Talk about your demons in that faraway place;

Come with me, my brother; Leave the lonely road;
For 30 years you have borne this heavy load;
Our time is short; life is expensive; Brother, why can't you see;
That through your tears I am here to help you and try to set you free;

Come with me, my brother; let's see our parade;
Of flags, weapons, ribbons and the like; we are made of heroes;
What done is done; our time has come; the war is finally over;
We will cry, we will hug and celebrate, finally our welcome home;

Come with me, my brother; transition to light;
One thing we must do before we go, knowing that that is right;
He fought and died like us; I wish we knew;
How to heal our wounds with Charlie; because he is also our brother.

Come with me, my brother.

John G. Moisan, Fort Pierre, Dakota del Sur
(US Army - 1LT Signal Corps - 1969-1971)

(To my friends Joe and John)

After graduating from Washington College in 1963, I attended Augustana and Sioux Falls College and worked for John Morrell and Company. I enlisted in the Navy in May of 1965 hoping my best friend Paul Evans would join me. Unfortunately, he did and was assassinated in December 1966. Camp Evans, outside Quang Tri, is named after him, an honor unprecedented in the Marines since he was a soldier.

I was sent to boot camp in San Diego, California and qualified for the Air Wing. So I was sent to Memphis, TN for aircraft maintenance training and posted to LTA in Santa Anna, CA for additional training as a helicopter crew member. HMM 165 was formed with new CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters and I was a founding member. We received orders for Vietnam in August 1966 and landed in DaNang in September. I flew as a gunner and crew member while working maintenance control. We mainly fly around Chu Lai and DaNang with frequent trips to Khesan and some special operations in Laos and on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Luckily I wasn't hurt, but our squad suffered heavy casualties. I met Larry Winterton, who was later killed in a missile attack. He was also from Sioux Falls. After thirteen and a half months, I received assignments to Olathe, KS, where I worked as a maintenance manager on the F-8 Crusaders. My commanding officer was Colonel Darrell Björkland from Volga, SD. In 1972 I returned to Sioux Falls College and earned a bachelor's degree. In 1973 I joined the SD Army National Guard and served in various positions with a weapons company and combat engineer. Eventually, I was promoted to master sergeant with the 153rd Combat Engineer Battalion in Huron, SD and the 109th Engineer Group in Rapid City. I retired in 1995 and at the time was working as a superintendent at the State Veterans Home in Hot Springs. I retired from the state in 2001 and live in Rapid City where I continue to be involved in the Veterans community and spend my winters in Mesa, AZ at our winter residence.

• Loren L. Mürren, Rapid City, SD

The Cruz Voladora Distinguished Award.

Captain Thomas George distinguished himself by an outstanding performance while participating in an aerial flight on May 17, 1972 as a C-130 pilot for the 21st Tactical Squadron at Kontum, Republic of Vietnam. That day, Captain George flew an overnight emergency resupply mission of ammunition and supplies needed by the besieged defenders of Kontum. Despite heavy anti-aircraft fire and intense small arms activity, Captain George was able to unload the load from it and safely evacuate two dozen Allied troops. The aircraft received ground fire on takeoff and battle damage inspection after the successful completion of the mission revealed ten hits. The professional competence, flying skills and dedication to duty demonstrated by Captain George reflect a great appreciation for him and the United States Air Force.

• Thomas A. George, Federal Way, WA

I was posted to Sioux Falls, SD in April 1972 as a liaison for the South Dakota Civil Air Patrol.

After I retired from the US Air Force, I lived in Sioux Falls, Montrose, Beresford, and Mitchell and worked in Sioux Falls, Yankton, and Mitchell. I live longer in South Dakota than anywhere else, and four of our six children were born in Sioux Falls. I am now retired and love Mitchell, South Dakota.

• James M. Hayes, Mitchell, Dakota del Sur

I served on two volunteer deployments with the 173rd Abn Bde (Sept) during the 'Battle of the Highlands' and the Tet Offensive of 1968. The 173rd Airborne Brigade was the most decorated combat unit of the Vietnam War . The 173rd was General Westmoreland's "fire brigade," dispatched to all the "hot spots."

• Jerald K. Lytle, Fort Thompson, SD

In 1987, our family hosted a welcome party for my brother. I ordered all the medals from him and our whole family was there. He was very happy. As he was looking at all the medals, he asked me how I did it. So I told him that it was a lot of hard work but it was worth every moment. He cried and he and I grew closer than ever.

My brother-in-law, another Vietnam vet, was present and said he would like someone to do the same for him. I know he plans to attend this event, so please welcome him home too. My brother died at the age of 50. I miss him every day, 24/7.

• Terry Wayne Heminger

no stories Very proud to have served my state and country.

- Orvin L. Hughart, Sioux Falls, SD

I joined the Marine Corps to serve in Korea in 1950 and remained in the Army until 1959. In 1965 I joined Marine SeaBee Reserves in Sioux Falls, SD. In 1968 I entered active service in the MCB3 Naval Construction Battalion. You've been to Vietnam before. Since I was in the Marine Corps, my duty was to conduct night patrols looking for the Viet Cong. I was also a construction mechanic. I retired from the Navy SeaBees in April of 1979.

I went into active duty because of the "war protesters" of the time. I believe in this great country and I am a model American! I am 74 years old and would still go to war to serve the country if they would let me.

-William P. Hunttimer, Dell Rapids, South Dakota

Most of my duty was to provide medical care to Marines returning from Vietnam (Camp Pen Naval Hospital). The most disturbing thing that happened during my recruitment was hearing a naval officer look down on one of these brave men. Needless to say, this only happened ONCE! But seeing the pain in that Marine's eyes has haunted me through the years. Our soldiers did a great job, we just didn't have a country (back then) that would recognize it. I'm happy to see this now.

- Greg S. Ingemunson, Black Hawk, South Dakota

Our Fifth Marines unit received the Presidential Unit Citation as the first full battalion in Vietnam. Our unit was the basis for the movie "Rumors of War."

- Paul B. Karst, Peever, Dakota del Sur

After many years, memories of the sights, sounds, and smells of certain "events" in the Saigon district and the IV Corps are as vivid and clear as that morning. I believe the sacrifice of everyone dedicated to the dedication of the Vietnam Memorial, including the families of the veterans back home and the countless unidentified civilian victims, will be remembered long after the event.

- Robert J. Kean, Pierre, SD

The mail came home very slowly and my mother prayed for me and all the other men and women there. She asked the Lord to send her a robin to let her know that I was coming home. When my mother finished praying, she went to the window of our house. There were 30 thrushes in the backyard. Now I pray for the men and women at war. I ask the Lord to touch every mother and father with children there.

- Dennis L. Kearns, Sioux Falls, SD

When I joined the Marine Corps, I already had two sisters who were Marines. Karen and I served together at El Toro and Jan was already on the way and married to a Marine. All three of us are lifetime paid members of Wm H Crippen Post #62 in Humboldt, South Dakota, although none of us live in Humboldt. We are all proud Marines.

-Judy Ann Klima, St. Charles, Illinois

My Army Story is not about heroism or bravery, but it can ring true to many veterans, especially women. When I entered, women were trained separately from men and were not sent to combat zones, with the exception of nurses and a few other exceptions. Like many young people, I couldn't wait to get out of the house and prove myself. After basic training and AIT, I was assigned to Valley Forge Army Hospital in Pennsylvania as a medic. I worked in an orthopedic ward and almost all of our patients were injured in Vietnam. I changed thousands of dressings, hung traction, rolled skin grafts, performed pre and post-ops. I've probably also folded tons of clothes, emptied urinals, bought TPR, made beds and listened... I've heard men's moans and sometimes cries of pain, I've heard them talk about family at home, I've heard their fears, what their future would be and heard the joy of knowing that they were going home. It was hard work, sometimes painful work, but most of all it was rewarding work.

I still think back to that time in my life and wonder what happened to my patients. I hope I eased some of his pain because it was the most responsible and rewarding job I've ever had and I did everything I could to be good at it.

- Patricia A. Kroupa, Sioux Falls, SD

As far as I can remember, I had no fear and no idea of ​​the real world. All I knew was that I trusted everyone around me. We lived together 24 hours a day and we lived as a unit. Oh what a blackout in my life. I was dropped off at Travis AFB and told to put on civilian clothes (for fear of trouble) and go home. I went to Aberdeen and applied to AT&T because they were hiring. They asked me a few questions and then asked if I had just returned from Vietnam. I said yes, and the man quickly told me, "We're not hiring Vietnam vets." This is how my new life began...

-Dennis L. Lau, Weston, MO

I was on duty in Korea when I was sent to Thailand as a TDY to serve at Camp Amistad and help maintain a Ghost Division. When the regular rotation of the troops was reported, I was told that I could go. Without a pass, I was told that I couldn't go out with normal challenges. One night, around 9:00 p.m. m., they called me at the company headquarters, they told me that at 11:00 p.m. m., a plane at the dark end of the runway would be warming up its engines, the door would be open. A friend took me to the area, I jumped the fence, got on a C47 and we left Laos for Saigon where I took an official military flight back to Korea to end my tour there.

-Lawrence R. Madsen, Gettysburg, SD

I am a retired career USAF officer who has served for over 30 years. I was in Vietnam from November 1969 to October 1970. I was assigned to the 8th Air Port Squadron at Tan Son Nhut AB near Saigon. My responsibilities included supervising cargo crews for all tactical airlift to and from TSN during my 12 hour shift for around 600 daily flights. This was a dangerous and demanding task, in often very difficult weather conditions, heat and rain where oppressive humidity was the norm, and often power outages at what was then the busiest airfield in the world. From time to time they fired 122mm rockets and large mortars at us. One of my duties was to ensure that all remains airlifted from the battlefields back to TSN for processing at the US Army morgue at TSN were processed promptly. These remains were usually in a body bag or wrapped in a rubber "poncho", neither of which provided a barrier to the blood, clot, and odor of the recently deceased. During my tour, I helped handle over 2,000 of these remains. I also flew five combat missions in the spring of 1970 in an 0-1E Bird Dog reconnaissance aircraft over the Ho Chi Minh Trail, flying Walt and Pterodactyl Forward Air Controllers (FACS) from Ghia Nhia in the Central Highlands. Two South Dakota men killed in the Vietnam War were close friends of mine; Captain Chuck Lane from Tabor was my classmate at Yankton College and First Lt. Bob "Chomp" Lewis from Pierre was my childhood friend and classmate at Northern State College.

-Lawrence R. Mayes, Rapid City, SD

I spent my entire time in Southeast Asia as a Field Artillery Fire Support Officer/Coordinator in a daily combat environment with infantry units at the platoon, company, battalion, and brigade level. In this role, I have been fortunate to work closely with many wonderful people who continue to influence my life today. I owe my own life to many who were not as fortunate as I was. Six of the commanders I worked with went straight to four-star generals.

- David R. Morgan, Huron, South Dakota

It was Christmas Eve 1969, Camp Love, Vietnam, south and west of DaNang. The gods of war basically called a "time out." The officers of my battalion were assembled in a very secure structure of granite stone and mortar, aptly named the Officers' Club. That night we kicked back, drank beers and were entertained by a USO sponsored band from the Philippines. The three girls and two boys killed the Christmas carols we knew and remembered, but still we all participated in a surreal Christmas Eve celebration. Guns, helmets, and bulletproof vests hung on hooks on the wall by the door, and the night turned pleasantly gloomy.

Suddenly, the familiar sounds of M-16 and M-60 machine gun fire erupted in the northern sector (my sector) of our compound. The officers searched for their weapons and equipment and returned to their respective sectors of the defensive perimeter. I'm pretty sure the Filipino band hit the nail on the head, but I didn't double check. When I arrived at my company location, the sky was lit up like the 4th of July. Flares hung everywhere in the sky. The tracers swept our cable in the valley between our compound and the FLC compound, which was half a mile away. My S-3 battalion yelled over the radio asking where the fire was coming from. Nobody knew. All the fire seemed to be coming from our side of the barbed wire and there was no return fire. "Ceasefire, ceasefire!" it was broadcast to every trench and bunker until only the hiss of the remaining flares could be heard in the sky. A call was made for an accident report. No sacrifices.

"Who started shooting first?"

"What the hell are we shooting at?"

"Why the hell do we fire our guns?"

A humble voice from a yet to be determined ditch finally replied, "Because it's Christmas, sir."

- Monty K. Nereim, San Diego, CA

The Vietnam experience was both good and bad! I have seen many people suffer the horrors of war, but at the same time I have made lifelong friends. We as SeaBees largely consist of experienced construction workers who completed many construction jobs that are still in use today, such as bridges, airports, highways, transmission lines, railways, and water systems. We have been fortunate in that much of our service in Vietnam has been a contribution to both the US military and the people of Vietnam.

- John North, Ferret, South Dakota

H.C. Nupen was awarded his first Distinguished Flying Cross for his outstanding service during the 1968 Tet Offensive. On 1 February, Nupen was at Ban Me Thuot during the enemy invasion. He was able to take off with another fighter and see that an entire city block with 125 Marines was completely surrounded and would surely be overrun. Using extremely accurate missile launches and repeated strafing passes through heavy automatic weapons fire, Nupen and the second fighter were able to drive the enemy out of the area and take full credit for saving the lives of the US Marines.

Nupen's second Distinguished Flying Cross was awarded while flying in support of a long-range reconnaissance patrol. The patrol was heavily attacked by enemy forces. Nupen didn't realize the mini-weapons weren't working until she was in full attack position. Despite the malfunction, he flew over the enemy making it look like he was shooting and drawing the attack back at him. These dry fire passes diverted the enemy's attention away from the patrol. Learning that the enemy force was within 100 meters of the troops, Nupen conducted a high-precision missile flight that disorganized the enemies and allowed another helicopter to rescue the patrol.

Nupen has completed more than 1,500 missions, including assisting in the rescue of a downed F-100 pilot in Cambodia. In 1971, the Nupen brothers of SDSU established a grant fund in memory of the school's graduates who died in Vietnam. This bag still exists today.

- Harlan C. Nupen See More

My friends from South Vietnam had almost no material possessions, but they enjoyed life and loved their families and friends. I'm glad we could help them, but they already had the most important things in life.

-Steven J. Ogden, Louisville, Tennessee

I have many stories and memories from my time on the USS Constellation and my short time in DaNang, Vietnam.

- Larry V. Ollerich, Sioux Falls, SD

I learned of the Rapid City flood on June 9, 1972 when my unit (the 560th MP Company) received the June 12 issue of Stars and Stripes. One of the guys who knew I was from Rapid City brought me a copy right away. Since my family lived near Rapid Creek, I immediately sought the help of my commanding officer to see if my family was okay. My unit notified the Red Cross in DaNang and two days later they passed the news that my family had lost their home but survived the flood by clinging to the roof of our house. I wanted to go home to help, but we were in the middle of the Easter offensive and no one was going anywhere. Later, in August 1972, when I returned home, I was shocked to see all the damage in Rapid City. Looking back, I sometimes wonder if I cheated death by being in Vietnam.

-Gary N. Overby, Tracy, CA

Those memories are still hard today: mud, mosquitoes, fire ants, high temperatures, humidity, rain, mud, sweat and more mud.

-Thomas L. Reecy, Dell Rapids, SD

I will never forget that day in February 1968 when the army truck pulled up in front of our driveway. Three weeks before we were notified that Dave was not in action. The army was there to give my parents the news they had been dreading: Dave had been killed. As long as I live I will never forget the pain my parents suffered for the loss of their son. You taught my brothers, sisters, and I to honor and respect the sacrifice of American soldiers and their families. My family and I are very proud of Dave and all the veterans who answered his call to duty and served our great country. You will never be forgotten.

-David L. Rickels, Graham, Texas

I worked the full four years after technical school at the Military Airlift Command Hospital at Scott Air Force Base. Scott also became AF's TB control center. I trained as a 902 to work alongside RNs. I worked in labor and delivery, OB/GYN and for a short time in the family clinic.

As 902, we were able to request flight status and board the flights provided by our base. Our unit was part of Operation Baby Lift at the end of the war. At MAC HQ we had a very large runway to accommodate some of the larger aircraft. Some were the C5 Starlifters, C130 and towards the end of my stay the Harriers, which while we lived on the base we definitely knew when they landed and took off. Scott has a large hospital and back then it was not uncommon to deliver up to 12 babies in 24 hours. In my setting, we were assigned to one of the AF neonatologists at our nursery. Needless to say, we have had many difficult pregnancies and dealt with many very small and critical newborns. The smallest newborn I helped weighed 1 pound 2 ounces at birth. I thank God every day for my own healthy children. The eldest, Jamie, was born in Scott. (After I left the service, I had Buck, Sammie, and later Zane. I still remember those years and the experiences (yes, we watched the Thunderbirds every year). Still with the "chain of command," still with time military I memorized a social security number and continue to use my medical training (even with farm animals.) After taking a TB test every six months for four years, I still respond to the standard TB test today.

- Dawn A Rinehart, Highmore, South Dakota

SSG Schaffer died in 2003 of Agent Orange-related illnesses.

-Dennis D. Schaffer

We arrived in Vietnam in the middle of the night and the plane turned off all the lights. When we got out of the plane, we were immediately attacked by a mortar. We were instructed to crouch and run for the bunkers on the side of the track. That night I heard rockets, mortars, gunfire, and jet planes taking off and landing. Torches lit up the night sky. I was scared to death. He was sure that he would die the first night there.

After a year in Vietnam, the flight was a great relief. There was complete silence on that plane until the pilot announced that we were out of Vietnamese airspace. Then there were cheers and applause. Yes, I will never forget that night and others.

- Harlan (Harley) J. Schmidt, Tehachapi, California

I have had the honor of flying a Huey helicopter, the former Model B and C helicopters, and Model H. We were flying in the two corps zone in the midlands. I was on tour from April 1970 to April 1971. It was the time of "Vietnamization" when we were able to train Vietnamese pilots. Very interesting. I've seen a lot in that short year, but few opportunities seem to have stuck with me over the years. One day we covered a convoy, the trucks were on one side and the Vietnamese refugees on the other. Everything they owned was on their backs or on their bikes. I assume the Vietcong or the Americans burned your town. The image of all those poor souls walking down the street stuck with me. Another time was when the Koreans were fighting. A sister helicopter was transporting bodies from the combat area and unloading them at the small landing zone where we were located. Rigor mortis had already set in and the bodies were in different positions. They just dragged her out of the helicopter to the ground. It was a stark reminder that there really were people who lost their lives.

One of my team leaders was injured on a mission I was also on. He managed to live for several weeks. I visited him several times at Quin Honh Hospital. One day he brought her some letters but she couldn't read them. He asked me to read them. I remember the big Quonset building full of guys who didn't expect to arrive. Paul Nolen died the day I left Vietnam.

Vietnam was a very beautiful country. In fact, we also had a good time. We save lives just like we take lives. It was much better if we could save her. The job seems to be to remember the good times and not dwell on the bad. Sometimes we get it, other times we don't get it so much that we don't remember the bad.

-Darwin L. Schmiedt, Woonsocket, SD

In 1968, after my discharge, I entered the VA Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD and remained a patient there for about three months. Then they told me that I was the first Vietnam veteran.

- Graf R. Schultz, Aberdeen, SD

I attended college for three years after high school and retained 2S status. I got a job in Spearfish, SD and was given 30 days notice to get a physical. 30 days later I received my DRAFT NOTICE. All of my friends enlisted in the Army or the Air Force. I said that two years was not a long time and I moved. I was sent to Fort Lewis, WA for basic training and then to Fort McClellan, Alabama for infantry training. My friends convinced me to go to Jump School in Ft. Benning, GA. Then I got orders for Vietnam (it seemed like a nightmare at the time) until I got back to Ft. Lewis and was released early because my remaining active duty was less than five months. I was not called up for reserve duty and had no contact with the military until I was discharged.

I did not look back or speak of my experience until I attended a Vietnam Veterans meeting in Ft. Collins, Colo. I have since attended Society of the 173d Airborne meetings in Tucson, AZ and Rochester, MN. The City of Rochester gave us a true "welcome home" celebration that really made me feel like this year in Vietnam was something to be proud of. When I left university in 1969, I came back and I wasn't comfortable with protests and demonstrations, but I accepted the freedom these people had to speak their minds. When I was drafted, I believed that we should be patriotic and do our duty.

Today I have two sons of draft age and I hope they won't be drafted! I think it's time for this nation to get down to business and get rid of the warmongers who want to fight over oil. The National Guard should be home to deal with the hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and flu crises facing this nation.

-Rickford A. Schumann, Pierre, SD

Our duty on both ships was to bring marines and their supplies to the coast of Vietnam. So most of the time we just sat on the beach for days and then got what was left. The marines were always happy to see us and gave them hot food and a hot shower.

-Keith M. Senska, Woonsocket, South Dakota

I was a life support supervisor at NKP Thailand. Our mission was to rescue the downed pilots. We had A-1 Sky Raider planes and Jolly Green Giant helicopters.

- Tom M. Sherman, Sisseton, SD

I joined the Navy in Omaha, NE and then went to boot camp in San Diego, CA. After that I went to Memphis, TN to study electronics. So I was assigned to the USS Ranger and worked on the A-6 Intruder as a module repair technician. I have taken four cruises on the ship. Normally we were on station for four weeks and then in port for about six days. We flew combat missions approximately 12 hours a day and our business operated 12-hour day and night shifts.

- Lee B. Squires, Clear Lake, Dakota del Sur

my military history
john m sweet
Jul 24, 1968 – Jul 10, 1970
Service in Vietnam Jul 12, 1969 – Jul 10, 1970

My first encounter with the US Army was after I graduated from high school in 1964 and was called in for my first physical. This routine continued for the next four years. During my two years as a freshman at Dakota Wesleyan University, Sylvia Krick, secretary of the local recruiting committee, told me that as long as I had a 2.0 GPA, my deferral would stay in effect. Then, in 1967, the routine changed and they told me that they would postpone college for four years and that would be it.

Apparently, there were a lot of people with a GPA of 2,00000001 who were in their fifth, sixth,... year of college. On Sunday June 2, 1968 I graduated from the DWU. On Monday I went home and on Tuesday my father and I went to De Smet to see what Sylvia had to say. He told me that if she didn't get my draft notice by Thursday in a week, she wouldn't be there until August. A week after Thursday I received the notice and was told to report on July 23, 1968.

I had decided a long time ago that I would take the draft, go into my two years, and then move on with my life. There is no regular army for me. This turned out to be a dangerous decision. Later I learned that I lacked wisdom.

Raised in rural South Dakota with a high regard for authority and a patriotic spirit instilled through participation in Boy Scouts and Boy Scouts, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance daily at school, and participating in Memorial Day programs. the American Legion Memorial to the idea of ​​going to Canada. , or even object to the war, was out of the question. If Commander in Chief Richard Nixon said, "If Vietnam falls, there will be a ripple effect throughout Asia," who would I be to question that wisdom? So I left, naive about the possibilities that were out there.

Even at Dakota Wesleyan University, home of liberal Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern, there was no dissent. McGovern brought his views to campus, but they were not accepted there or anywhere except Massachusetts, the only state in which he won an election. So, on July 24, 1968, I drove to Sioux Falls and joined a group of other guys to fly to Fort Lewis, Washington, for basic infantry combat training. The morale of this group was not particularly high, to say the least. The only person I knew when I got there was Richard Rasmussen, another boy from the village. His stride didn't last long. I met a guy named Chuck Gorman who had just graduated college this spring and he knew some of my friends from South Dakota State University. Our friendship lasted until tragedy struck later.

At the beginning of basic training, we go through a place called classification and assignment. Here they reviewed all their test scores, education, experience, etc. to determine his Military Occupations (MOS) specialty and determine how his abilities and skills could best serve Uncle Sam. When I got to the terminal, the guy told me: "With the results of your tests and your training, I don't know where you are deployed, but it will not be infantry." That was good enough for me because at that point we had learned that infantry was not the place.

After a few weeks, my friend Richard Rasmussen was having a lot of trouble with the fitness aspects of Basics. He was born with a foot problem that derailed his athletic career during high school. The reason the Sioux Falls intake center missed him on his normal physical can be attributed to two things: First, his uncle needed everyone he could get, regardless of their physical condition. the. Second, Richard really wanted to join the army and gain experience, so he didn't raise the subject. Richard was sent home much to his chagrin. The rest of us were jealous.

By the seventh week of basic training, our orders had diminished. My primary MOS was 11C40 - Infantry Mortars and my secondary MOS was 11B40 - Rifleman. Every time we passed the sorting and grading building, I wanted to go in and throttle the guy who told me otherwise. What was really depressing was that there would be another 12 weeks of combat training at an Advanced Infantry Training Company right there at Fort Lewis. I didn't see how it could take another 12 weeks of this stuff.

At the start of the AIT, another friend was called from home. Bob Whites was a friend from high school who I kept in touch with throughout college. He was with a basic training company at Fort Lewis and I was able to visit him at his headquarters several times. I felt sorry for whoever has been through this with a woman at home like Bob.

During AIT I enrolled in a NCO Candidate course at Ft. Benning, GA. Anything to delay the inevitable mission to Vietnam. This was a new rapid program to train people to lead 81-inch and 4.1-inch mortar squads. Upon graduation, you will have earned the rank of E-5 (Swashbuckling Sergeant).

On December 13, 1968 I picked up Chuck Gorman (in a snow storm) in Tyndall, SD and drove to Columbus, GA. We were placed in an informal company because our cycle would not start until January. In relaxed company we take out KP and guard duty. We could have Christmas or the following week off. As soon as I got home, I recruited two friends from Basic and AIT, Andy Cappelli and Chris Nelson, from the San Francisco area, and we left for Miami Beach on December 26. We had a great week in Florida during the Orange Bowl celebrations. I was visiting my cousin Dave Knight, a graduate student at the University of Miami, with his parents and his sister who were also visiting. Chuck Gorman's brother was killed in a train accident near Tyndall. Chuck went home for the funeral and that was the last time I saw him.

When we got back to Fort Benning, we fell back into the military rhythm. The time at Fort Benning was largely uneventful. The highlight was meeting some guys I've been in contact with over the last 30 years. Bill Trow from Schaumburg, IL and Dave Whelan from Great Falls, VA. After graduation, Bill and I were sent to Fort Polk, LA as sergeants for on the job training. Bill, Mark Taylor and I drove my car from Fort Benning to Fort Polk. On the outskirts of Jackson, MS, we found a citizen, Jim Boetel, driving down the street. I recognized him and his car immediately. We spent the day visiting Vicksburg, a Civil War battlefield. This turned out to be a great gathering for Jim and I, as Bill and Mark sat in disbelief that I recognized Jim and waved.

At Fort Polk, Bill and I were co-engineers in an AIT platoon. We really had a lot of fun leading the field. We adopted the leadership style of not requiring the troops to do anything we wouldn't do ourselves. We set a good example and the troops respected us for it. We led the forced marches with the same load as the apprentices, while the officers' load was a canteen on the pistol belt. One of my favorite tasks was leading the physical preparation exercises. I learned a lot about heavy lifting from one of the basic sergeants I had at Fort Lewis. At Fort Polk we visited a friend of mine from college, Jim Jensen, who worked there. He had a place outside the stall that looked like it had once been a slave hut on a large plantation. This was a great retreat for Bill and I as we ate and drank from time to time and recovered from the rigors of infantry training.

On Memorial weekend in 1969, Bill and I drove to Galveston to go to the beach. We had fun. Bill burned the tips of his toes and couldn't put on his boots, so he spent the first three days at Fort Polk with his feet in bed. He might have had a cold pack on his head, but it wasn't from the sun.

Our Fort Polk tour ended in June and we had a few weeks off before traveling to Vietnam. I took Bill to his house at the Kansas City airport and also took Jim Jensen and his fiancee back to South Dakota.

In July I left the Sioux Falls airport for San Francisco and the starting point of Vietnam. Bill was already there when I arrived and checked in (flew in) a day or two before I did. I found it at the Ben Hoa Air Force Base in Vietnam. One of the first guys I saw at Ben Hoa was Boyd Hopkins, fresh out of DWU. Bill still thinks I know everyone in South Dakota.

We were side by side when he was assigned to the 101st Airborne and I was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division. We were both posted to units in the Central Highlands, as was Dave Whelan. Dave was also assigned to the 4th Division. While the three of us were in separate units, our tracks crossed in Vietnam.

The 4th Division was headquartered at Pleiku. The first night at the base camp I was assigned as a border guard. Three of us were assigned to a bunker. Two had to stay up all night while the third was able to sleep. The other two offered to stay overnight and told me I could stay behind and sleep. Sleeping is not easy the first night on the job. It soon emerged that these two guys were drug addicts and had spent the night taking methamphetamine. I was happy to see the sun rise. The next morning I was flown to the LZ Warrior where the Company's heavy mortar platoon was operating. E, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Platoon, 4th Infantry Division. I was stationed out of South Dakota as a squad commander of a 4.2-inch mortar squad for the American Legion.

One of the first things I did when I heard my unit was assigned was to write a letter to my high school friend, Bob Whites, who had been in Vietnam for a while. Bored with his job as a typist, he volunteered as a gunner in a Huey. A few weeks later my letter arrived informing me that Bob had been killed in battle.

Like I said, my first assignment was as a squad leader for a 4.2-inch mortar squad. We had a team of five or six people. Our first priority was to keep the gun in good working order and take care of the ammunition. Usually some sort of bunker dug for the ammunition to keep it dry and safe. Most of our shooting missions were at night against suspected hostile locations (SELS). During the day, the battalion commander flew in a Light Observation Helicopter (LOCH) and observed what he believed to be suspected enemy locations. He marked these places on a map. Often these locations were fields or gardens that were said to provide food for the Viet Cong. In other cases, there may be evidence of enemy movement at those locations or of enemy ammunition depots. We then filmed these locations on the map at night. The next day, the battalion commander would usually report that we had touched the points, but we never knew if we had achieved anything significant. Lieutenant Cottum, our platoon commander, explained to the battalion commander that these firefights had broken out at sea. There was a time when we could play dozens of locations on the map in a single spin. You would have to land almost a direct hit on what was there to do anything. It took a lot of work calculating the dates and aiming and firing the guns in these places and we were never sure if we were going to hit anything.

Every once in a while we would have a live fire mission, which meant supporting troops that were in direct contact with the enemy. The 4.2-inch mortar was a very effective weapon in the central highlands, as it was a high-angle firearm capable of shooting over mountains. While the artillery had a lower projector and if the target was on the other side of the mountain, the artillery could not hit it. Normally we were on a firing base with an artillery battery. Sometimes it would get really loud when we all bolted. The 4.2-inch mortar also had a very effective flare grenade. We could really light everything at night, and often did, so that the troops further away from where we were could see the enemy at night.

Some of the guys I remember serving with in Vietnam are:
Robert (Inky) Inkenbrandt, pie. myers, florida
Jerry Wells, Zanesville, OH
Butch Lowry, Menfis, Tennessee
Jorge Otto, Columbia, South Carolina
Fidel Rodriguez, Puerto Rico
Dave Thornley, Ogden, Utah
Phil Blackwell, South Carolina
tom wood
david bode
Robert Brown, Vermillion, Dakota del Sur
Robert Scheitrump, Warren, OH
Ed (tall man) Newcomb
Tennant Cott, Oklahoma

After a few months in the weapons command I was transferred to the fire department (FDC). The FDC received map positions of suspected enemy locations or direct observations from forward observers. We mark these points on a map and then determine in which direction and angle to place the mortars. We also calculated how much charge needed to be placed per shot to propel it towards the target. We then relay the data to each weapons squad. This was usually done through a phone system that we set up between the FDC and Weapons Command. For entertainment, the FDC jam sessions were conducted by Robert (Inky) Inkenbrandt of Ft. MEYERS, FL.

Somehow he brought a guitar to Vietnam that was always out of tune. We spent many nights listening to him sing Glen Campbell songs: "Wichita Lineman" and his all-time favorite "Ann." Tapes of these sessions were made and sent home. I still have what I sent home and recently sent a copy to Inky. I always thought he would play with Glen Campbell when he came back into the world, but I didn't see him when Glen was at Letterman's one night. Inky has become a professional musician and has his own record label, Ink-Write Productions. He can order his original music at Be sure to listen to his original recording of "Island Dreams." FDC service was better than being in a gun command. We were mostly in a sheltered bunker that we built out of sandbags. Especially in the rainy season, we were better protected from the weather and stray bullets flying past. Sometimes we built the FDC bunker big enough to sleep multiple people because we were always on call to take a fire call.

It was during this time that I suffered my worst injury of the war: an impacted wisdom tooth. They sent me to the back in the first available helicopter and they pulled my tooth. I was supposed to sit in the back for about a week, but after a day or so I couldn't bear to sit any longer and asked to go back to the field and FDC. I was excited.

The highlights of most days for the foot soldier were mail and rations. We should have one hot meal a day. A field kitchen was set up at some Firebases and food was prepared right there. In other cases, we receive meals in isothermal containers. (I later used the same concept when transporting food from a central kitchen to other school buildings.) When we didn't have hot food, we ate C rations, which were sometimes a welcome change from the not-so-great hot food. So.

Whether we received hot food or mail depended on the fight. We were always served by helicopter since we were in the countryside with one exception, where there were no access roads. The helicopters' first priority was to deal with the fighting. The next priority was hot food, mail, and clothing. We were supposed to change clothes a few times a week, but again that depended on the priority of things. They always tried to hold on to an extra shirt, pants, underwear, and socks.

The only time we had access to road material, we protected an engineering unit by building a road. They gave us all kinds of things when we had this duty. They would send huge chunks of ice about 8ft x 2ft x 2ft. We'd chop enough to fill an ammo can or a sandbag and soda and beer with it. This was the only time we caught a bit of a cold. One night things were uneventful so Sergeant Tom Wood decided to start one of the caterpillars and reminisce about his days in the world working road construction after drinking some of that cold beer. Vietnam did not have a drink driving law.

After about six months in the country, it was time for R&R. I went to Sydney Australia for a week of rest, relaxation and a high standard of living. I spent time at the beach, at the zoo and in the pubs. Spending time in the pubs was very interesting. Here men went to drink, women were not allowed inside. Sydney is a great melting pot of people. In the pubs I met men from many different European countries who had immigrated to Australia. They were very interested in asking about America and the Vietnam War. It was interesting to hear why he left England, France, Yugoslavia, etc. One of the best things about R&R was the great food and the ability to stay clean for a week. After Sydney I was back in the pack and the bad side of my year in Vietnam. Most of the boys were counting down the days. I did not do it. Today, students (and some teachers) are counting down the days until school is out. I don't do that either.

It was now 1970, and the public's negative attitudes toward the war at home had begun to spill over to the troops in Vietnam. Morale had never been good, but now it was falling rapidly. The 4th Infantry Division gradually withdrew to the coast of Vietnam and was expected to leave the country at some point in the near future. Troop morale in my unit dropped as many of us were on the negative side of our journey.

Most of us didn't see much point in what we were trying to achieve. The objectives were not clear and we just wanted to do as little as possible and then "see you later!" Sergeants and senior officers constantly criticized us for not digging properly and looking out for our own safety. This would have been a good time for the Viet Cong to meet us as our readiness was in question.

As March progressed, I still had some free time and there was an R&R spot available for Bangkok, so I took it. The week in Bangkok was interesting. This was a completely different culture and probably similar to that of Vietnam. Although I spent a year in Vietnam, I can't say that I really experienced the culture because I was in the desert the whole time. I've seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in Bangkok serving up beer by the gallon at movie theaters. I took an interesting river cruise and spent time in the shops loving seeing the American soldiers with money. I had some sports jackets custom made for me and shipped home from Bangkok.

The day I left for Bangkok, my unit was sent to Cambodia. We sweated a lot going to Cambodia as this was the action Tricky Dick said would hasten the end of the war and we expected a lot of action. When I returned from Bangkok, my unit had already returned from Cambodia. The whole campaign was really a hoax.

The Cambodian campaign turned the protesters away from the troops. I saw a guy sitting on the street in front of an armored vehicle. He was physically removed and is believed to have been treated under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. I don't know what the punishment would be for a soldier for protesting against a war. Thereafter, morale dropped further. On June 27, 1970 I received orders to return to the "world" and prepare for the ETS (Estimated Time of Separation). On or about July 8, 1970, I left Vietnam and returned to Fort Lewis, Washington, and was discharged from active duty "not for physical disability." (That sentence in my docs with a high degree of guarantee that Uncle Sam wouldn't have to pay disability benefits. Sam wouldn't recognize my impacted wisdom tooth, either.) July 10, 1970: one year, eleven months, and seventeen days later, the date I stepped onto that same ground for basic training within sight of that sort and assignment building.

After separation, I received the following: the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in connection with military operations against an enemy force; The Air Medal for meritorious service in participation in sustained air flights in support of ground forces in the Republic of Vietnam from August 2, 1969 to May 25, 1970; The Combat Infantry Soldier Badge for participating in armed land conflicts as a member of the "4th Combat Infantry Division" in the Central Highlands of the Republic of Vietnam; a certificate of appreciation from General W.C. Westmoreland and another from Commander in Chief Richard Nixon; a 4th Division "Officers and Men" plaque (I always wondered if the officers weren't men); and in 1999 I received a Certificate of Appreciation (which I requested via the Internet) "for services rendered during the Cold War Era (2 this nation is forever grateful" from William S. Cohen, Secretary of Defense. As for the wars, I am one to one: I won one and lost another.

I left SEA-TAC airport on July 10, 1970 on the first flight to Denver. I spent a day there visiting friends, Meredith and Jan Wilson. I returned to South Dakota on a Saturday afternoon and was met by my parents at Joe Foss's camp in Sioux Falls.

During my time in Vietnam, our unit suffered no serious injuries or casualties. To say that we were lucky would be an understatement in the 20th century. The wisdom tooth he suffered from turned out to be no good at all. It gave me no wisdom in choosing the design over all other alternatives. Anyway, and how it all turned out, I am proud to have served and to be able to say that I am a Vietnam Veteran. The military experience made me a stronger and better person. I feel a special connection to other people who have served. Compared to war, everything is a trifle.

The friends I lost in Vietnam were not friends I served with, but friends I grew up with: Bob Whites and two other members of the American Legion baseball team, Bill Biever and Ted Voight.

Ted Voight was the catcher in a game at Lake Preston in 1962 when they pitched to me in the seventh inning. The result was a tie with no outs on bases loaded. Ted had never caught me before and I wasn't sure if he could handle my curveball. I hit the first two batters with fastballs. I ruled out several curveball calls, but when I was down 2-0 on the third batter and Ted called a curveball, I threw for a third hit. Ted didn't hold out and got the winning streak from third to passing the ball. In 1962 he was a bit depressed. In 1970 I learned not to worry about the little things. Bill Biever played second base in that game. These three and the others of the Iroquois who served during the Vietnam era deserve a memorial to answer their country's call. They did not protest or take further steps to evade duty. I have an offer from a company that makes monuments and I am going to start talking to other people. If I don't, it doesn't seem like an ungrateful society does.

In 1972 I was called to active duty and assigned to a National Guard infantry unit in Seattle, WA and assigned to report to Fort Lewis, WA for two weeks of summer training. I couldn't believe this was happening. It was déjà vu again: my worst nightmare was going back to the army. I stopped by the same commercial building to secure the same equipment they gave me in basic training. And that sorting and sorting building was in sight again. They took us by bus to the Yakama firing range, where the National Guard did their summer training. They called us in because National Guard infantry units didn't seem to get much attention from people who wanted to join the Guard to avoid Vietnam, so they called us in to prepare for summer training. After the front row, a guy from South Dakota went to Yakama and checked into a hotel. He never reappeared and never missed it until the final cast two weeks later. When we got to the field, another Vietnam vet and I were fighting over who would sleep in the cab of the truck all day. The loser would be in the shadows below.

My transition to civilian life took place at South Dakota State University, where I earned a Master's in Education and helped Sam pay the soldier's bill. It was here that I met my fiancée of 33 years, Barb.

And since then I lived happily ever after...

-John M. Sweet, Delano, MN

When I got to the yard, my superior PO asked if I liked hunting because I was from South Dakota. "Yes, I like to hunt." I said. After that statement, I spent a couple of hours in the gun rack. I held the position of first loader and eventually gun commander at the same gun range. Should I have kept quiet and not opened my mouth?

-Thomas F. Thompson, Sioux Falls, SD

My first exposure to the Vietnam War was my first year at SDSU. As a cadet in the ROTC, we were called to serve in the protection of a Brookings SDSU graduate who died in Vietnam. I volunteered and was chosen to stand guard at the church where the services for the dead were to be held. Our ROTC unit also helped with the upkeep of the graves. The dark memory that you can never forget...

- Wallace C. Thomsen, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

Mike survived with a few ambushes. He watched a murdered orphan and a stray dog.

-Michael P. Vinson

No story, but I'm still in the army. I just returned from a year's deployment to Fort Hood, Texas. He will retire on January 4, 2006 after 31 years of service in the rank of Sergeant Major.

-Scott Winegar, Huron, Dakota del Sur

Selected "Vietnam era" vet. I had the choice to train early or continue teaching at Fort Sill. I decided to tour Germany. The entire duration was spent in southern Germany, so definitely Vietnam. I've had friends from college join the military only to come home in less than a year shot or K.I.A.

- Darrel F. Woods, Onalaska, Wisconsin

I won't tell war stories as I served in the 9th Infantry Division/River Mobile Force in the Delta in 1968-1969. I have many. What I would like to comment on are the young men and women who served our country during the Vietnam conflict. They told us it wasn't war yet. We have done our best with what our government gave us and we have accomplished our mission with the orders our leaders gave us. Sometimes with regret and loss of life, but we held on, did our duty and came home to "what". Our country lost many good soldiers there and I hope this memorial gives us a little closure so we can finally put that behind us. It won't heal all wounds, but it's a step in the right direction. It's time for Vietnam veterans to finally join our comrades from other wars and take pride in our service to our country. Thank you South Dakota, Governor Daugaard and everyone who took the time and effort to make this dedication. God bless the United States of America!

-Don Fechner, Wagner, SD

My military experience began in October 1968 in front of the Custer County Courthouse. Three of us make up the Custer County recruiting group this month. From what I remember, two of us showed up to catch the bus to Sioux Falls. Whoever the third man was, we never saw him. My parents, Bill and Lorene, were there to see me off, along with some of the Knights of Columbus, who seemed genuinely concerned: there were no smiles to say goodbye to recruits, the Vietnam War was becoming less and less popular. The war was the main campaign issue that fall and the focus of much televised agitation at the Chicago Democratic Convention that summer. With riots in some inner cities and a lot of radical rhetoric, the country seemed to be in serious trouble at home, and those problems were now affecting me on a very personal level.

Not going for the draft was never a real consideration in my mind. I met a college roommate who had declared a conscientious objector and was being sued in federal court. I couldn't imagine going to Canada: I had five uncles who served in World War II, and my grandfather and great-grandfather were in the German Army before World War I (and before Grandpa Young's emigration). While he did not want to continue the tradition of military service, he also did not want to shirk what he considered a civic duty.

I remember the long day and night bus ride through South Dakota. It felt like we were stopping in one city after another, picking up a bunch of people at each stop. Hot Springs, Pine Ridge, Winner, and select communities in eastern South Dakota. When we got to Sioux Falls, the bus was full. Those who passed the physical the next day took the oath, and I remember taking that step forward to take the oath (October 23, 1968) and watching everyone else in the room do the same. But back then I didn't feel much patriotism, just a lot of insecurity. We flew from Sioux Falls to Seattle-Tacoma before the end of the day.

Our basic training took place at Fort Lewis, Washington. Getting off the airport buses was a culturally confusing experience (there were about 25 of us from South Dakota) and it felt like a thousand people getting off the buses in the Oakland-San Francisco area. I remember the clear thought that they must have cleaned out the houses and found the homeless to fill their California recruiting quota because those people didn't look healthy or law abiding! Later, in Basic, it became apparent that California draft committees didn't match anyone with family, means, or excuses to avoid military service. So they took the poor, minorities and the uneducated to fill out their number.

We go through the basics in a "fast-track" training cycle, according to our company leaders. From what I remember, it took seven weeks from start to finish. At first, the training was intimidating and depersonalizing, on purpose. Later it became teaching combat and survival skills. Despite my high school diploma and knowledge of the conditioning process, like everyone else, I have gained team spirit, perhaps with a little more self-preservation. I believe during our time in Fort Lewis the sun shone for three days and the rest of the cycle it rained morning or evening or sometimes all day. I remember two other basic South Dakotans (most of us ended up with the same company because there were so few of us): John Elston from Rapid City and another graduate, Rops, from the eastern part of the state. When it was time to graduate and get our AIT assignments, Elston was assigned to military intelligence at Fort Holbird, Maryland. Rops, I believe, stayed at Fort Lewis for the infantry. He received orders from Fort Sill, Oklahoma as Ordnance, 13A10 MOS.

I reported to Fort Sill in January after a Christmas vacation in Custer. Being home had been wonderful; leaving had been difficult. In January 1969, there was no question as to where the recruits would be housed after completing AIT. Nixon had barely beaten Humphrey in the election (it was the first election I had a chance to vote in, and as a good Democrat, I voted for Hubert), but there was still no plan to withdraw from Vietnam, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff was still in trouble. building. increase troop strength. . At Fort Sill, our training battery had a large contingent of National Guard recruits. We were housed in WWII era barracks that were reopened to serve Vietnam training needs. The battalion area consisted of barracks around a parade ground with a common bathroom at one end near the headquarters. We have been training hard at Sill and have become more aware of where most of us are going. I had the opportunity to attend the LPC - Leadership Preparatory Course - offered in the early days for the "older" men of the unit. It was a two-week squad leader development course, and when I found out about the program, I jumped at the chance. An additional two weeks at Fort Sill would be a leave of absence as a TDY extension if I went to Vietnam and wanted to leave early: the option to be discharged if it was within six months of the normal two-year discharge date when he returned to the US The NCOs who were in Vietnam helped us determine the timing.

Once I finished the LPC, I went back to the normal training cycle, although all of us who finished the LPC were pressured to move on to the OCS. Hardly anyone took the bait: rumors of high casualty numbers for the new lieutenants in Vietnam abounded. I was assigned as a squad leader (still have my acting rank sergeant stripes) and during the 8 week training cycle I managed to avoid demotion. That wasn't easy: halfway through the cycle I was in Lawton all night, technically AWOL, but they didn't hook me up because about half the battery didn't make it back to bed that night. Our training battery commander was smart enough to simply ignore the fact that something strange had happened when they all showed up for the wake-up call that morning. However, the next time the cards were issued, a warning was whispered that anyone not time traveling would be serving time in prison.

We trained with 105mm howitzers at Fort Sill, the heavy artillery that was widely used in fire support bases throughout Vietnam. The basic design had to be 40 years old. These weapons were easy to use, easy to maintain, and versatile. Live fire drills were rare and we paid close attention to what we were doing as we were told we wouldn't have as many training opportunities before things got real. Met a few Hispanics during training, Zuniga and Quiñones, and they were good guides as we drove to Lawton to find some pubs that weren't on the strip and therefore cheap. From what I remember, our E-2 pay grade was bringing in about $60 per month after taxes. The other important thing I remember about Fort Sill is that it was cold and wet all the time. I didn't know Oklahoma had such bad weather in January and February. Eventually, however, we complete our eight-week cycle and in the last week we receive our orders. The RA (Regular Army) in our team was primarily assigned to a missile battalion in Germany. The National Guard men, of course, went home. I remember some of them looking a bit embarrassed when the orders came in; They completed the training but knew they didn't have to do anything else as the men they met at AIT went into artillery warfare. All of us recruits were assigned to different battalions in Vietnam and were given about a week and a half leave before reporting to Oakland, California.

I don't remember that vacation, except that it seemed to end almost as quickly as it started. I left Lawton on a small airline that took about eight hours to get to Rapid City, with stops in small towns along the way. The next thing I remember, I'm back in Rapid City to fly to Oakland. I covered Travis AFB where they had warehouse-sized barracks with hundreds of bunk beds and not much to do while you waited. Immediately after checking in, I called some friends who lived in Stockton and spent the next day and a half with them before showing up at the Travis Transition Center about 12 hours late and consequently spending two days in KP.

Our group of 206 left Travis on a United flight late in the afternoon of April 14, 1969. The military chartered civilian planes to transport troops to Vietnam. A similar flight was brought forward by about 1.5 hours and another flight was delayed by about 1.5 hours. Our itinerary was Honolulu, Wake Island, Okinawa, and Vietnam. The flight lasted about 22 hours and the flight movie was Paper Lion. The flight attendants were real. Like the nerves that surged in the Pacific. We stopped in Honolulu for about 45 minutes to refuel, and I had time to call Bill Honerkamp, ​​who was parked there, and then have five beers. Most of the guys on the plane were underage, so they didn't even get a chance to drink. I slept all the way to Wake Island. All I remember about that little place is that it was very dark and you could hear and smell the sea and feel the spray but you couldn't see anything. We stopped again at Kadena in Okinawa and it was April 16 and dawn was with us as we flew over Saigon. I remember that early morning because the sun was huge and red coming up over the misty jungle - I was sitting by the window - and you could hear some of the boys throwing up. Vietnam was green and brown, and here and there were chains of circular pools in the low jungle, remnants of B-52 bombing. As far as I remember, we landed at Bien Hoa and when we newcomers stepped off the plane in our wrinkled uniforms, there was a line of dusty men in worn and faded uniforms waiting to board our plane. I noticed that they all looked old.

For our first two weeks we were in Long Binh and participated in an orientation program called Redcatcher School. The intention was to familiarize the green troops with the reality of Vietnam, but mostly it was a matter of collecting details while waiting to go to a unit. I remember a few lessons from those first two weeks: (1) it was unbelievably hot and muggy all the time, and Western skin burns quickly and painfully in the tropical sun, (2) underwear is useless and only causes severe itching on the skin. the abdomen passed (the ancients said that they only protect it) and (3) the enemy was right-handed and was everywhere. A "chieu hoi", a Viet Cong who had changed his coat and joined the ARVN, was leading a demonstration in Redcatcher one day. As some of us watched in disbelief, he stripped off his shorts and crawled around a perimeter at least 20 meters deep in about 30 seconds through high-pitched accordions. Once inside, he stood up, smiled, and bowed unharmed. The officer who conducted this demonstration assured us that the Viet Cong could do such a thing fully armed and in the dark. It was a disconcerting thought.

I didn't know it at the time, of course, but the month I arrived in Vietnam coincided with the peak of US troop strength in Vietnam, around 500,000 men. By the time I arrived at my assigned unit, Battery B 2/35 Artillery, the Nixon administration's new guidelines had limited our field force and started the long process of Vietnamization. I reported to my unit at a place called Nui Dat, where I saw that it would be in a battery of 155mm self-propelled howitzers. A 155 is a six-inch gun, and while it superficially resembles a tank, it's not. An SP is a 27 ton gun with an aluminum case. His torso offers no protection. I remember my department head saying that an AK-47 round would go right through the aluminum plate of the M-109, the official designation for the 155mm.

There were two good things about being assigned to a self-propelled battery. One was that the size of the guns meant they couldn't fly into remote jungle firing bases like the 105. We'd only go where we could drive. Second, Nui Dat was the base for Australian Army divisions that fought in Vietnam, meaning Battery B was attached to the Australians. That was a good thing, as they had a fearsome rallying cry and were said to have completely "pacified" their area of ​​operations. Only the ROK White Tiger Division had a reputation for fighting (deservedly) worse among our allies in Vietnam.

For a young man from South Dakota, Vietnam was a complete climate shock. Lowland heat and humidity aside, I'm sure anyone who's been there will say he'll never forget the smell. It doesn't look like anything here on the prairie. The heavy, humid, fermented air reminds you that the jungle is a living giant, but also a dying giant, and beneath the fresh, green smell is always the smell of decay. There are only two seasons in Vietnam: the dry season and the monsoon season. The monsoon season started a few weeks after I connected my battery to Nui Dat. That's great; rain for days, endless rain, with brief intermittent periods of heavy, overcast clouds before more rain. Soaping, shampooing and showering were only possible when it was raining. Of course, along with the monsoon came mosquitoes and other insects. You have learned to be careful and to shake off your boots in the morning. Sometimes a scorpion would fall. Insects grow to immense size in the tropics: I once saw a scorpion the size of a pie plate, and another a centipede a foot long and two inches wide.

Arriving at Battery B, I was assigned to the third section, which was the "base piece," the weapon that targets the entire battery when you move to a new location. There are six SP for a battery split in half. I was directed to the gun by the boss, sergeant. brands. He was an E-5 and from Wisconsin, as far as I can remember, he couldn't have been more than 21 or 22 years old. I quickly fell into the routine of our firebase, which seems to have been at this location for almost a year, apart from the occasional foray into the desert. The guard service, KP, latrines, work with weapons, etc. quickly filled the days. I was trained to drive the M-548 Cargo Transporter, which is the 11-ton vehicle that carries gunpowder, grenades, detonators, and miscellaneous cargo when the battery is moved. There was a 548 for each gun.

I quickly got used to shooting missions on Nui Dat. They would all start the same way by calling the comms phone "battery setup" followed by the destination coordinates. Once we locked onto a target, we'd usually get a shout of "fire for effect," which meant shooting as fast as possible. I soon realized that boot camp protocols were not sacred. No one used the mortar to stick a shell in the barrel of the gun. The tallest, most muscular guy in each section threw the grenade with his hand because he was faster. Our section had a die-hard young Californian, Benson, who managed to plant a 98-pound HE shell when the barrel was at a 20-degree angle. (Before I left Vietnam, he could do that, too.) We did a lot of so-called H&I, "harass and interdiction" missions, which basically meant dropping a lot of shells into areas where the Viet Cong - "Charlie" - might be theirs, just in case it is. I think H&I was done to make VC unsafe, or maybe it was to make our troops feel safe, like we were accomplishing something. I remember thinking earlier that we were spending too much taxpayer money. We had a reputation among Australians for speed and accuracy of fire when it counted. On one occasion at Nui Dat, the Australian FO fired from the battery closer and closer to his unit as they were under intense pressure. Charlie continued to try to close in on the attacked Australian company to avoid the artillery at point blank range until the FO called within 15 yards of his position in the final round. The Australians told us later that they had finished the ground attack; They added that the VC appeared to be led by a white soldier: was he a Russian adviser? We never found out.

Finally, on May 10, 1969, we received our marching orders and left our safe harbor for Xuan Loc, a provincial capital north of Saigon. (In 1975, Xuan Loc was the site of one of the last major ARVN resistances against the NVA.) During my TDY, I was in 24 different places in South Vietnam, most of them firebases dug out of the jungle. Xuan Loc was a real town, small but populous. I remember passing old rubber plantations on the way and settling into a well-established base camp with two other batteries. One was a 105 battery facing the jungle at one end of our compound behind a high wall. We were on the other side of the compound and facing a row of shops along Xuan Loc Street. Between our two gun batteries was a headquarters battery with many officers, NCOs, and Spec-4s. We continue to build the defenses, including placing additional accordion rows outside the berm and beyond the road around our compound. The course with Charlie was said to be in bad shape so we were motivated. When a 548 left the site to run to the dump less than a kilometer away, he was driving with armed guards.

The rumor came true on May 18. Around 1 a.m. At m., Charlie hit the north side of the compound with RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) fire at the bunkers manned by Battery 105. Four or five bunkers were destroyed in moments, and everyone in my bunker on the east side woke up and ran. behind them, bulletproof vests, helmets and M-16s. Explosions rumbled through the darkness with sudden flashes of red and fire. Our five or six men gathered at the entrance of our bunker to rush to our turret, in which only two men remained as emergency personnel for the night. Mortar shells turned into inverted white pyramids in the battery area. There would be a quick hiss and then a shell explosion would go off. As our men ran towards the gun one by one, sniper fire came from the top of the dark buildings across the street from the Xuan Loc compound. Then it was my turn. I waited until the man in front of me was behind the sandbags surrounding the gun for a few seconds, then I started walking. Halfway up I heard the roar of a bullet, then out of the corner of my eye I saw a cloud of dust a few feet behind my heels, kicked up by another shot. The adrenaline rush I received took me the last 20 meters in a matter of seconds. Our gun fired flares and shot them into the sky just above the north ledge. We got a call from headquarters to send our 548 north to pick up the wounded; McCray was our driver of the 548 (I was the assistant) and Sergeant Marken sent him with Rodriguez as gunner. Switched to HE rounds to try to damage Charlie. At that time we learned that he was on the premises. Fifteen or twenty minutes later, Rodriguez was back with the 548. McCray was dead with six or seven AK-47 rounds in his jacket. Marken hit the rifle barrel and cried when he heard the news. (Half a world away, McCray's wife and her two young children were in an Arkansas town, and it would take a few more days for them to believe he was alive before they learned the truth.) Rodriguez said Charlie captured one of the 105 emplacements and turned the gun, but he didn't know how to shoot. A master sergeant with headquarters staff tried to counterattack, and at that moment we heard the welcome whoosh of rotors as helicopters armed with mini-machine guns began firing along the ring road. Carlos lost the battle. He couldn't get more men inside because the mini-guns fired thousands of shots (the sound of the mini-guns is like tearing cloth, the bullets are shot very close to each other) and his troops slowly took root inside. . by headquarters personnel and the remains of Battery 105.

The next morning the complex was in ruins. No one had slept. Word got out that all the VC who entered the compound were dead. I went up there and every single one of our bunkers was destroyed and burned. There was a smell in the air, sweet and sticky and burning, the smell of dead enemies and probably our own. I was one of the men assigned to transport our dead to the helicopter pad to take them back to Bien Hoa. They told us to shut up and load our M-16s. I helped load stretchers into the bed of a 548 until it was full. Ponchos were thrown over the bodies, but you could see the crippled forms of the men who had died in agony beneath the plastic and smell the burned flesh. I hung it on the tailgate of the 548 on our trip to the helicopter. The underside of the 548 was too slippery with bodily fluids to provide grip. In the block we began to unload the stretchers. Bursts from the rotors blew into the ponchos, and one he was assisting exploded, exposing the lower half of a body. Whoever it was, they had been disemboweled by shrapnel, their guts and organs exposed and reeking of chicken offal. I looked and put the poncho back on. I remember how cold I was despite the heat of the day.

It was years before I felt comfortable in the kitchen with fresh chicken.

The ground attack on Xuan Loc was the worst I have seen in Vietnam. Thirteen of our men died that night and about 30 were wounded. A man in Battery B, I think his name was King, got a silver star on the north end berm. For us, three low resistance batteries were involved, about 250-260 men in total. More than 300 VC were rumored to have been killed. When I finally wrote Bill and Lorene about the event, I left out most of the details. I knew that I had changed that night, and I felt distant and colder than I thought possible. A few weeks later I wrote a poem.

now look at the night
Of wrapped monsoon clouds, no moon
And soundless creeping noises
away from the accordion
When Charlie arrives

hides in silence
Under the dark blue distant rain
under the forest table
wait in the skirts
And green leaves of the jungle.

His hiding place is fear.

On June 7, our battery broke up, our half remained on the ground, and the 4th, 5th, and 6th guns moved over a mountain east of Xuan Loc. A day later they met Charlie with 10 wounded. On June 10 our half of the battery broke up and returned to Nui Dat. We will spend the night at FSB (Fire Station) Megan on the outskirts of Long Binh, arrive at Nui Dat and then proceed to FSB Virginia where we will spend the next 10 days with a group of Australians. The monsoon was in full swing and it rained more every day. We existed in mud, mud and more mud. We were at the fire department every day. I remember one mission where after dozens of rounds our FO said we were going to crash into a VC bunker complex with an underground hospital. After Xuan Loc, we didn't care what the goal was. On June 23, we marched back to Nui Dat, where we would remain until mid-October, with one- and two-day marches inland for so-called "hip shots." When we were at Nui Dat on June 30, an Australian general came to examine us and I spent some time talking with him. I wish I could remember his name. On July 6 we carried out a memorable fire operation in which we fired 50 shots in half an hour in the middle of the night - boom-boom-boom - one shell after another at the NVA 274 Regiment according to our FO.

On July 10, Colonel Powell, commander of the 54th Artillery Group, stopped to say goodbye before leaving for Germany. He said that Bravo Battery has moved more than any other battery in Vietnam in the last three months and praised us as "one of the best firing batteries in Vietnam." He also said: "Despite the mystique surrounding artillery and how complicated it is to shoot big guns, we know that artillery is hard work."

A week later we did a photo session for the FSB Horseshoe. Along the way, our 548 engine blew up and Benson was injured and evacuated. At Horseshoe our gunner, Marken's deputy division chief, made some mistakes aiming his gun and instead of hitting our target, he managed to fire a couple of shots into the South China Sea. There are rumors that we almost sank a Navy gunboat. Bad face for us.

Time was spent with routine guard, maintenance, fire and supply operations. I broke 300 days to go on July 31. On the night of August 8 we received march orders to set another fire along Route 2 on the morning of August 9. We left at 08:00 and were miles north of Nui Dat when... Boom, black blast - our weapon, #3, jumps into the air and spins as people fly in all directions. Reduced! Our nearest 548 #3 pulls up quickly, and we eagerly grab our rifles (I'm thinking, "I haven't cleaned that thing in a month") and wait for an ambush from the tall grass on both sides of the road. Instead, within minutes, we have Australian jets that have been diverted from another target to drop bombs and launch missiles on both sides of the strait within a hundred meter radius of our stranded column. They came up out of the air as little dots, then a great roar and a sudden flash of wings, close enough to see the pilots, and then they were dots in the air again. The noise was unbelievable. Any Charlie waiting to set up an ambush would have been crushed, not only by the ammunition but also by the screaming. Luckily we only have one wounded man who was thrown from the .50 caliber into the M-109 and almost got run over, but our marching orders are cancelled. That afternoon we drove back to Nui Dat drugged, hoping to never have to drive north on Route 2 again. Within days we had a new M-109 to replace our old gun.

I was promoted to Specialist 4 on September 6th. That would be the most I could get in the rankings during my service. In the fall of 1969, our routine was still the same. I became a driver in the 548 and also worked as an assistant gunner in the 109. (The AG's duty is to reach gun elevation before firing; it's the gunner's job to reach the horizontal runway and give the order to fire.) In October he abandoned Nui Dat for good, leaving the security of the Australians to the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. Our first stop was FSB Nancy, just northwest of a town called Dinh Quan. In Nancy we shoot a lot, an average of 180 shots a day. Nancy was a point guard with some consistency. We built boxes out of 105 empty ammo boxes and empty powder cans, and then stacked them three or four times in sandbags on the top and sides. It was one night in Nancy when I was lying on a bed and I noticed a little movement on the floor next to me. Looking down, I saw a snake with red, yellow and black ribbons making its way towards the wall and, within seconds, our crazy sergeant. Padula shoots him with a .45 pistol, killing him and I'm glad he's alive given the accuracy of that pistol and Padula's state of mind. Padula got closer to me than that Xuan Loc sniper.

We were in Nancy, then at FSB Concorde in November and December, then back in Nancy over Christmas and New Years. At Nancy we were associated with 175mm Long Tom howitzers for a while. These guns had extended barrels for long-range shooting. As they shot, the whip could be seen running. Nancy is a sprawling firebase and part of it has been occupied by a mortar squad. One day we were doing our homework when there was a huge explosion on the hill within the base boundaries. Two men from the mortar company misloaded the ammunition and disappeared in the explosion. All that was left were parts, according to some of the other men on the train.

In February of 1970 I realized that I was about to be a "short term", someone with less than a month to go on tour. We were at FSB Ann from the end of January to the beginning of March. At that time I was the top scorer at times, but it was unlikely that I would make it to E-5 because it was so close to the end of my tour. Still, I'm proud of my goalscoring skills. After returning from an R&R in Tokyo in March, we moved to a new base, FSB Rita, and I was able to "drum up" - target the base piece while Marken was on leave. I also did a good job. According to the FO, in a helicopter I brought down the dead tree that was calling with seven shots from the top down from 18 miles away.

In mid-April, my friend Perrins and I traveled to Tokyo again, this time to visit the newly opened World Expo in Osaka. We got a second license because we extended our tour by more than a year and therefore qualified for a license, just like the previous R&R. We got lucky and got the license. The night we arrived in Tokyo we met some girls from the bar at our hotel and decided to have a few drinks before bed. $90 whiskey and soda later, we both realized our mistake, and poorer but wiser, we hurried to our rooms. The world exhibition, on the other hand, was worth the trip. The celebration of international friendship was an eerie contrast to the war zone we knew we would soon revisit.

We returned to Long Binh on April 16, and I had been in Vietnam for over a year. But the time I had left was so short that I started wearing a jacket and helmet most of the time. This is a sure sign that the end of a tour is near, and I've seen it in other men who are less and less willing to take anything that seems like a risk. From Long Binh we took a plane to an airfield called Ham Tan in the middle of the jungle. Unfortunately the helicopter that was supposed to pick us up and take us back to our new FSB Mat did not arrive. We spent the night sleeping nervously on the edge of the track, the three of us, without weapons, without mattresses and without communications. We were very happy to be picked up the next day. Apparently, our battery commander was asking disturbing questions about his missing men.

We switched from FSB Mat to FSB Rising Sun on May 7th. Until then, Vietnamization was ubiquitous wherever we went. Rising Sun had our battery and a 105 battery and a mortar platoon, and the entire perimeter of the base was defended by a local Vietnamese militia. We don't trust them. Padula walked around the border bunkers every night, constantly waking up the militia, who apparently thought guard duty ended at sunset. There was a constant voltage. One night we were called in to set up the battery and shoot with the tube, which was practically straight and had enough charge to launch the HE to the edge of the jungle. We did that until dawn. Charlie was close. Also the monsoon. I spent my last week in Vietnam hunched over, tense all the time. On May 19th they sent me to the heliport and I quickly said goodbye and good luck and got a few goodies. So I flew in and watched the rapidly dwindling base of fire.

Over the next week I spent a lot of time in the Long Binh and Bien Hoa areas, sorting out my paperwork and surviving "Base Camp b.s." So I sat on the bus and took a trip from Bien Hoa to Tan Son Nhut. I haven't been this close to Saigon in over a year. This time, watching the newcomers disembark from a civilian plane, I was reminded of how I felt over a year ago. I looked at these guys getting off the plane and thought there were less than 400,000 Americans here and down here every month and still here are these very, very young-looking, puny-smelling backups. I found I couldn't smile at them as they walked down the ramp.

It was May 27th when our plane took off from the Tan Son Nhut airstrip, and as the landing gear lowered, a spontaneous shout and joy overtook the passengers. Vietnam was behind us and we knew we had survived.

On May 29, after returning from Oakland, I got off another plane in Rapid City. My whole family was there to greet me and there were hugs everywhere. There were also looks from people in the terminal, a reminder that men in uniform were not welcome as returning warriors in the 1970s.

-Mark Jung

PS I had only been home a month when I got a letter from one of the guys on my gun crew. About two weeks after I left, Rising Sun was hit hard overnight, and the battery sustained about 50 injuries, he said. Fortunately, the attack did not penetrate the perimeter. The 50 cal slot in an M-548 that it was supposed to fill was not filled that night; In his letter it said that he was riddled with bullets.

I graduated from USD in June 1965 and was drafted into the Army in September 1965. After orientation at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, we were sent to Fort Benning, Georgia for basic training. I was then sent to Fort Eustis, Virginia for training in helicopter maintenance and repair (Huey and Chinook). After several months of training, I was sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In September 1966 I was ordered to report to Oakland, California, and then to Saigon. I was assigned to the 605th Transportation Company - 765th Transportation Battalion in Phu Loi, Vietnam (a military complex dug out of the jungle about 25 miles north of Saigon). My job was to repair helicopters used by the Big Red One. We worked 12 to 16 hour days, every day except Sunday. Many of the planes we repaired were severely damaged. I remember one in particular where we had to replace the engine and transmission and rebuild from scratch. We were proud of the work we had done. Two days later, the same helicopter came back to us, dangling on a cable under a downed Chinook. I was glad I wasn't one of those guys who rode those planes in the jungle every day. All we had to deal with was the occasional rocket attack where the Viet Cong fired a few rockets into the compound. In September 1967, my year-long trip to Vietnam was almost complete. I had the same short-term apprehension that I suppose most soldiers experience during their last days in a war zone. I returned to Oakland at the end of September 1967 and returned home in October 1967. No fanfare, no homecoming party, but it was great to be back in South Dakota.

-Dennis Winters, Pierre, SD.

I served my country in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968. It was hard to believe how Vietnamese veterans were treated. In my opinion, Vietnam vets were sold out by their country and treated as pariahs when they returned to the "world." I am still proud of our soldiers. Sometimes I wonder if veterans from other eras feel superior, and if so, they should avoid talking to me.

-Mike Elsberry, Herreid, Dakota del Sur

I am still proud of my ministry in Vietnam. After my release in 1969, the anti-war fervor was at its height. It seemed that every time I left the house I ran into some people who were against the war. I hated watching the evening news. I was not a fan of Walter Cronkite. I was wounded on hill 1338 in the central sierra. We took the hill after a 24 hour battle with the EVN troops. We started up the hill with about 100 people and came off the hill the next day with about 30 of us who were not killed or injured. I ended up losing my military service, so in 1973 I joined the SD Air National Guard. I retired from the Guard in 2000 as a Staff Sergeant with over 30 years of service. In closing, I would like to say how proud I am of the young men serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other troubled places. You are special people.

-Stanley B. Anderson, Blackhawk, SD

The Vietnam era was a difficult time for America and also a difficult time to be a soldier. I dropped out of college after the first semester to join the military and serve my country. I contacted on April 1st (April Fool's Day), for which I received a lot of criticism. While serving in Vietnam, I made many close friends, as inevitably happens in wartime. Some made it...some didn't. We were among the first to invade Cambodia on May 1, 1970 (May Day). I watched the action from the delta north of Black Virgin Mountain in Cambodia. My unit was responsible for the largest cache of weapons captured during the war. I felt it was my duty as an American to serve and protect my country. The United States in those years was divided on the justification for sending its sons and daughters to war. Those in power are not perfect. They are only human like all of us. I think we went for the right reason, and if some of us had to go through hell so we could all get closer to heaven on earth (which I think America is, imperfections notwithstanding), then it was a very small sacrifice. . As a Vietnam Veteran, I was proud to serve my country and still am proud of my country.

- Perry H. Anderson, Madison, Dakota del Sur

I lost the shipment to Vietnam for two days. I was on Navy surgical staff alert for a year before being released. Two days later, the team was activated. I was an anesthetist and cared for the returning wounded, many with open wounds. They can number 30 to 40 at a time in the Great Lakes and Bethesda and require immediate additional care, surgery and rehabilitation. I have had patients in the operating room and in their hospital rooms who have memories of the jungle. He had the greatest respect for these men who had suffered so much. I wish I had done more. When I was in my naval uniform for orders, I was spat on more than once. He was just a doctor trying to do the best he could. One of my best friends from college, Terry Ryan, was a Navy pilot who died in Vietnam in 1972. He was 28 years old. He was in Bethesda when the POWs were released and I met some of them. All who served were heroes who did not receive the respect and honor they deserved at the time. Thanks for recognizing her now. Ed Anderson, MD, seminarian, Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls

-Edward F. Anderson, Sioux Falls, SD

I was a C-141 pilot and flew many missions in support of our troops in Vietnam. A prominent mission is to secretly bring home the first 2 prisoners of war released because their mothers were very sick.

- Daniel P. Apland, Sioux Falls, SD

I served two missions as a troubleshooting electrician in a Phantom squadron with VF142. Our main objective was to fly in support of low-level troops in conjunction with the daily bombing of North Vietnamese. Our flight schedule was generally twelve hour days with one strike every hour in a rotation between day strikes and night strikes.

- John J. Artz, Pierre, SD

On the occasions when I saw or met American women serving in Vietnam, I felt like the war was a long way away and I was back in "the world" (USA).

-Kenneth R. Askren, Sioux Falls, SD

We went to Vietnam because 1) we thought we could make a difference and 2) the adventure. We left as friends and comrades and came back as brothers forever. While we were in Vietnam, those 13 to 15 months we were together lived a lifetime because you never knew if you were going to come back the next day. Only years later we were welcomed home by the people of the country for which we had fought. The Vietnam National Memorial and now the dedication of the State Memorial will go a long way in honoring all who served during the Vietnam era.

-William E. Atyeo, Sturgis, SD

I worked as a "Safety and Exit Equipment Technician" on the A-7E Corsair aircraft. For those who need a translation, it's called "Ejection Seats." I proudly remember that two of the seats I assembled were used by pilots as a last resort to escape crashing planes. Both seats worked perfectly. One of the pilots was unable to fly, but the other returned to his squadron duties and continued to be part of the effort that dropped more than 40 million pounds of bombs during Operation WestPac.

- Greg M. Bade, Sioux Falls, SD

I am a 40% disabled Vietnam Veteran who retired after 20 years of service. I received my military pension, but I have not yet received my disability. Me and all the other disabled veterans just want what's to come. We gave everything for our country and we were willing to sacrifice our lives. Our government should give disability benefits to deserving veterans. We didn't complain when we were called and we did what our commanders told us to do. Now we ask for what is rightfully ours.

-Lewis J. Bailey, Tyndall, SD

One night during the Tet Offensive in early January 1969, three or four members of the Viet Cong passed near the main gate of the CuChi base camp. They killed three guards on duty in the bunker. From there they went to the airfield with Sachel Charges and began destroying Chinooks and other aircraft lying on the ground in bunkers. We didn't know they had penetrated the perimeter until the timed explosives began to detonate. They exited the perimeter through almost the same hole they entered it through. However, they were all killed. One was hidden in an empty 55-gallon drum. This was the beginning of the Tet offensive.

- Dean L. Jay Baker, Mt. Vernon, South Dakota

I have installed 500 and 750 pound pumps. Our mission was to transport 3,000 bombs a day to drop on Vietnam from Utapao, Thailand. Our biggest setback was when a fully loaded B52 blew up on the runway, what a disaster! Three lives were lost.

-Michael L. Ballweg, Pierre, SD

Theodore Ellis Baltezore is honored at plaque 22W, row 95 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. He was born on March 10, 1948 in Gettysburg, SD. His friends will remember him.

-Theodore Ellis Baltezore

I'm sorry, but I'm not talking about that.

-David G. Barnes, Castle Rock, Colorado

Roger told the story of how he was almost shot by a sniper and he wouldn't have 34 years to live without a friend in his unit. He helped build the harbor at Cam Rahn Bay and had several bullet holes in the bucket of his excavator from enemy fire. Later, after moving to Presho, he became a volunteer firefighter. He rode his Harley in almost every local parade, his POW/MIA flag flying on the back of his bike. He never allowed people to forget those who fought and died there. He miss you.

-Roger K. Bartels, Rapid City, South Dakota

the life of a sailor

He often felt that he had to play God, and he did so because he often had to decide who would live and who would die.

I have killed many enemies for revenge and had to promise to kill a brother for mercy.

I have done these things...

For many of you, it is a reminder of a gentle spring rain. For me and my brothers it is the memory of a horrible death in a rice paddy.

For many of you it is a walk through a pleasant wooded area, for me and my brothers it was a one way street to death and devastation in a ten foot high jungle or elephant grass.

For many of you it is a beautiful park with a wonderful atmosphere, for me and my brothers it was an invitation to be ambushed by a sniper or a shot or a booby trap or a mortar.

Yes, it is true that I have changed. We are not who we were and will never be again.

So if you wonder why we are the way we are, or why we do what we normally do, remember...

Sometimes we don't even know why these thoughts and images reappear after almost forty years.

Robert L. “Doc” Baty, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Alpha Co., 1st Battalion, 1st Marines – Vietnam 1966–1967.

- Robert L. Baty, Custer, S.D

As a young army nurse, I arrived in Vietnam on February 24, 1969, and was assigned to Evacuation Hospital 12 in CuChi. When I received my order in Long Binh, my helicopter flight to CuChi was delayed for several days because the base was attacked. I soon discovered that the perimeter of the base had been breached and the ammunition depot and other strategic areas had been blown up. When the fighting ended and the border area was cleared, among the enemy dead was the South Vietnamese civilian worker who came to the base daily, hired by the US military to work as a hairdresser. He carried detailed maps of the base camp and helped lead the attack on the base. This incident underscores the message that in Vietnam you don't know who is friend and who is foe. I spent my first week in the hospital in the ER and the staff planned for the arrival of the 10,000. patients They planned to give this patient a gold watch to commemorate the event. However, when the 10,000th patient arrived at the ER, he was missing both arms. The staff kept the clock silent and never spoke of celebrating the patient count again. However, during my year on the ward, I have personally observed that we see over 20,000 patients. I remember hoping things would get better, but it just kept going and going and it seemed like nothing we did made a difference. But the veterans have told me that we made a difference for them, and I will never forget how tough, brave and selfless they were. Caring for her has been an honor and a privilege and the most rewarding moment of my nursing career.

- Marlene R. Bayer, Wichita, KS

In the summer of 1965, conscription sent me letters, so I decided to join the Navy. I trained as a technician in aeronautical electronics. After my training, I was transferred to Atsugi, Japan. One of my roles was to be an electronic countermeasures operator. In our detachments we flew along the coasts of Russia, China, North Korea and North Vietnam. Once we were chased off the coast of China by a MiG. In 1969, one of our squadron's planes was shot down in the Sea of ​​Japan off the coast of North Korea. We lost 31 members of our squad. Many were good friends of mine. I want to thank the Governor and the people of South Dakota for this memorial. (I intend to record the names of these crew members in about two weeks and maybe even read their names at the memorial.)

Thank you Ricardo Urso

-Richard D. Oso, Minneapolis, MN

When I joined the Air Force in 1972, the Air Force was moving fast and I had the opportunity to meet and meet many people who were returning home or heading to Vietnam. I volunteered but was assigned security roles in South Dakota at the parent SAC and in Alaska. It was like blinking and retiring after more than 30 years as a member of the Air Force Security Police. Every day I thank God that I have the opportunity and great joy to serve our country and help preserve the freedom of each individual to express an opinion based on his or her personal beliefs.

-Douglas D. Becker, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Congratulations to the Fallen Memorial Committee! If this Vietnam War memorial is anything like the others on the shores of Capital Lake, it will be a sight to see. The other memorials are beautiful tributes to the sacrifices made by service members who are also proud to say they are South Dakotans.

- David E. Belatti, Honolulu, Hawaii

We say goodbye to G. Kent Elkins after completing his education in finance and accounting at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, Indiana. He wanted to go to Vietnam. Thirty years later I found him safe and sound in Greenville, South Carolina. He made me very happy to hear your voice.

- Dean Bender, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

After basic training, I was stationed in Fort Knox, Kentucky, working in the Office of Finance and Accounting as a payroll clerk for various local businesses.

- Roger A. Berge, Hendricks, MN

I worked with the 65th Engineers in Vietnam as a Demolition Specialist. I was assigned to various inventory units and mechanized units throughout South Vietnam. As a demo specialist, I spent a lot of time crawling through tunnels, clearing foliage, and destroying enemy cover. I am proud to have served my country and knowing the risks and fears, I would do it again.

- Arnold Wilme Bergstrom, West Jordan, Utah

I didn't make it to Vietnam. We have been warned so many times, but we never left the airport.

- Darrol L. Birk, Rapid City, SD

I was drafted into the Army in June of 1967. I did basics at Fort Leonard Wood and AIT at Fort Polk. I was on vacation for about three weeks, arriving in Vietnam on Thanksgiving Day, 1967. I spent 14 months in Vietnam serving with the 9th Infantry Division. I served eight months in Bearcat and then six months in Dong Tam in the Delta. My MOS was 11C, indirect firefighter in 81mm mortar. After leaving Vietnam four years later, I joined the South Dakota National Guard and served until my retirement in February 2006.

- Michael L. Birnbaum, Rapid City, SD

I enlisted in the Navy with the rank of E-3 from May 31, 1972 to May 29, 1974 where I received the National Defense Service Medal. I was a supply clerk in the 1st Infantry Army.

I saw Bob Hope in Vietnam around Christmas 1969 at Lai Kia. I was able to go backstage and get an autograph. He was in Laikai, South Vietnam, with Connie Stevens and a few other stars. I also met him again in the late 1970's in Mitchell, SD and got his autograph as well. I am so happy that Bob Hope has brought so much joy to so many service men and women around the world. I am a 100% service-committed disabled veteran.

- Allen M. Bishop, Rapid City, South Dakota

He was in the Army and Navy. Sailor Grade in Nav and Spe 4th in the Army.

- Allen Max J. Bishop, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I am a veteran who served in Korea during the Vietnam era. My AIT was a clerk (71B) at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Our battalion had six companies, each with about 75 employees. The class in front of us, 75 in all, went to Vietnam. My class of '75 had eight who didn't walk. The 72 class behind us went to Vietnam. There was a shortage of engineers in Korea. I soon received my orders and became a Combat Engineer 12B. One day a Spec 5 named Jenkins arrived at our unit from Vietnam; he had not returned to CONUS. It was late October and the cold and wind had set in. SP5 Jenkins was a heavy machinery operator. SP5 Jenkins suffered every day through the winter of 1966-67. I pray that all members of 1st Platoon, Co C, 13th Engn 7th ID make it home safely. South Dakota has cold winters, but none like Korea when the wind blows. From building bridges across the rivers of Korea to filling and placing sandbags during the rainy season, I will never forget the times I ministered.

- Wayne K. Blake, Sioux Falls, SD

Going into Vietnam was like walking into the heat of hell and waiting for Satan to say, "Hello, welcome to my world." I had to sneak into town when I got home and was spit on. It was nice to be home again, but I missed my friends who died there. I remember going home to my mom and being called a "baby killer" and "murderer" and hiding in the house before going back on active duty. All Vietnam Veterans remain strong and loyal.

David Blodgett of Barre, Vermont now resides in Sioux Falls, SD.

- David L. Blodgett, Sioux Falls, SD

This is not a story, but being from Iowa, I want to explain that I signed up because I live across the bridge from SD and am a member of the SD VNV motorcycle group. I would like to participate in the commemoration with all my SD brothers.

-Chuck L. Blomberg, Sioux City, IA.

I am excited to see that South Dakota will have a memorial to its Vietnam Veterans. I have been involved with the Brown County and Minnesota State Memorials; in fact, they are a respectful way of saying "thank you" and more importantly, "REMEMBER the veterans and their sacrifice for all." I am proud to have served in the 1st Cav with many friends from South Dakota and beyond, as well as my brother Duane. 1969-71. Those from South Dakota and those from the United States have done their job. You have done well and have served with HONOR. The soldier, the marine, the sailor, and the airman knew what to do. Unfortunately they were not allowed.

-Roger L. Bobby, Coon Rapids, Minnesota

It was the best of times and the worst of times. All at the same time.

- John M. Boos, Sioux Falls, SD

William (Bill) Boyd graduated from West Point in 1954 and was commissioned into the Air Force. In 1968 he was assigned to the Air Force's 20th Special Operations Squadron (SOG) in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. His job was to support the Army's Special Operations Group (SOG). These groups were generally small (six men) who were led into Cambodia along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Boyd's mission was to deploy SOG teams to their areas and withdraw them without loss of life or helicopters. His helicopter had no markings to identify them as Americans and were marked and identified with a "Green Hornets" stencil on the tail. They worked in secret. From August 1968 to 1969, Boyd flew missions every day of the year, each lasting approximately 90 minutes. Many missions have brought Boyd and his crew to the brink of death. On one mission, Boyd returned with a bullet hole in the ship's nose, passed close to his head, and exited through the cockpit roof. If a firefight broke out, he and a second fighter would provide support with their machine guns. On one mission, he recalled a team glued to the ground warning him that the mini-weapons weren't doing his job. He was asked to fire missiles on both sides of his position. The team radioed that the missiles were effective, throwing bodies into the air on both sides.

The Green Hornet Squadron of the Air Force did not receive any public service during the war. The SOG teams that deployed and protected Boyd and others conducted extremely dangerous and high-loss missions, but served as a key intelligence-gathering liaison. Bill was proud of what he and his fellow Green Hornets had accomplished in Vietnam.

Submitted by friends, Roger and Ione Johnson

-William P. Boyd, Flandreau, SD

On the morning of January 24, 1968, I received a phone call from my father saying that he was delaying my resignation plan. That same day at 4:30 pm he drove to Lackland AFB, TX on my way to become a munitions maintenance specialist (bomb maker). Eleven years, two months, and two weeks later, I returned home and considered staying. Ten years later I joined the SD Air National Guard and traveled to Panama for the Noriega Days (Operation Just Cause) and two years later to Saudi Arabia (Insane Hussein World Tour) which was canceled 28 days after the start. Do I have any regrets? Not one!! Would I do it all over again? No way; You may not be so lucky next time!!! THANK YOU VERY MUCH to all veterinary colleagues; I love my freedom and my expression!!! God bless you and yours!!

LL. (Lewy) USAF BH (retired)

-Lewis L. Braa, Sioux Falls, SD

While painting on the dovetail with John Hardnack, Viet Cong grenades fell near the dovetail. Going into security I advised John to do the same as he thought they were dolphins the HQ alarm went off. In fact, John was ahead of me at the watertight door and he was at our station before I was halfway down the stairs.

-Stephen A. Bratton, Britton, SD

He was an expert in combat photography.

- Delvin Don Bren, Goodwin, Dakota del Sur

Apparently, only my family knew that I had been to and from the service. In this Middle East war, departures and arrivals have definitely changed for the better!!

-William J. Brennan, Sioux Falls, SD

I arrived in Vietnam on October 7, 1968. What a surprise for a 21-year-old from South Dakota. Tet was in full swing and we had helicopter casualties and we were busy day and night. I arrived with Evacuation Section 312, but was soon transferred to Surgical Section 27. As a registered nurse, I had the opportunity to see many children come home without arms or legs, and it was very difficult to do my job and not feel overwhelmed. for emotional feelings. We lost some of our doctors and nurses at Evac 312 and 27th Surg and it was very hard to lose a friend and continue to do their job and treat the injured. The small joy that we all enjoyed was the treatment given to the inhabitants of the town and especially to the children. I am sure that many are still alive because they were treated by American medical teams. The best part of my ministry in Vietnam was coming home in one piece; The worst part was the reception that many of us received at airports when we returned to the United States. Sure, our families have been wonderful to us, but not all have been as welcoming to Vietnam Veterans. Let's never forget those who didn't come home!!!

-Richard Lee Briscoe, Mission, Texas

I was first drafted on January 3, 1943.

- Harold Herbe Brost, Belle Fourche, Dakota del Sur

As written in the magazine, the 17th Cavalry of the 2nd Squadron 101st Airborne is on one of the toughest 101st missions in Vietnam. We killed 33 NVA on April 19, on April 20 we hired an NVA company. Weeks later we had a shooting that started at 10 am and lasted until 4 am the next day; that was a non-stop shot. We then reload more ammo and search the area again for bodies and weapons. There were a lot more shootings after that, a lot of it at night.

-Douglas L. Broz

I lived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota from 1973 until my father's death in 1975. During this time I enlisted and enlisted in the Naval Reserve at the Sioux Falls Naval Reserve Center. After I retired in 2000, I joined the Tri-State NCO Association in Sioux Falls and remain an active member.

-Charles E. Brunsting, Sioux Center, Iowa

I was assigned to Clark Air Force Base, PI and spent a total of 14 TDY months at Phan Rang AFB, Vietnam. Upon my return, I was assigned to Perrin AFB in Denison, TX until discharged. When I was hired, my job description was Ammunition Maintenance.

-Lawrence G. Bruyer, Sioux City, IA

I volunteered for design after my sophomore year at Northern State University. I enlisted in the US Army in October 1967 and completed my basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington and AIT at Fort Polk, Louisiana. After AIT, I was sent to Vietnam in April 1968 and assigned to the 1st Infantry Division in Dian, Vietnam. I served 12 months in Vietnam and spent the last four months of my active duty stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. After my discharge, I returned to the upstate and completed my college education on the GI Bill. For the past 32 years I have worked for a bank in Omaha, Nebraska.

- Melvin C. Buchele, Omaha, Ne

I joined the US Navy after attending Huron College in Huron, SD for two years. I have lived in Huron my entire life and wanted the opportunity to get out and see the world. I had four older brothers and three of them served in the US Navy. So I went in, hoping to catch up with time and the experiences they had in peacetime. However, I went through the Hospital Corps medical training program and was transferred to Field Medical School and assigned to the US Marines as a Field Corpsman (medic). From June 1967 to July 1968, I spent my overseas tour as a "Grunt/Field Medic" in the DMZ doing daily patrols, nightly ambushes, and tending to all the medical needs of a Marine Corps company/platoon. difficult and very long year. However, if I had to do it all over again and ever had to be in battle, I wouldn't hesitate to choose to serve in the Marine Corps! They were great and really took care of me!!!!!

-Roger W. Busch, Poway, CA

I will never forget that strange feeling when the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CVA 43) was escorted by a supply ship. It seemed pretty close when they shot the line and then a heavier one until we sent the load back and forth. The ships seemed to be listing and the cargo was swaying as we sailed forward. It was an ammunition resupply and we were dealing with 500 pound bombs in a line that ran between two ships. What an amazing experience, rolling 500lbs through the hangar in a hurry, but slow enough to keep control in case the boat rolls in the waves. It is just one of the many exercises that took place and it is very difficult to describe. If you've never done this before, it's hard to imagine; if you have it, you will never forget it. God Bless America, Robert K Bush AKAN VF-151 Fighter Squadron, 1967-1969.

- Robert K. Bush, Grenville, Dakota del Sur

To this day, I thank God and the United States Air Force for the fortunate fact that I spent my entire term in the United States during this "conflict." I have never witnessed the horrors of war first hand. To family members who lived and returned forever, and good friends who lived and died, and the simple fact that I could have been sent there at any time… My God, but those were hard years on such young shoulders. It's worth it? No, there has never been a war worth the cost of so many young lives. And that will never happen. Thank you to all the true Vietnam Veterans for your sacrifice... knowing that you all sacrificed a part of yourself. For those who gave everything, may God keep them close forever, because they truly came from hell for him.

-Ralph G. Bush, Pierre, SD

maybe again

-William B. Busse, Rapid City, SD

On September 3, 1966, we were at An Khe Base Camp, and I wrote a letter to my fiancée by candlelight. Then we got mortars so I grabbed my rifle, ammo belt and helmet and jumped into my flooded ditch (due to monsoon) and spent a few hours there waiting and watching. What a way to celebrate your 21st birthday. Another situation was when I was at home, my parents showed me a photograph in Watertown Public Opinion dated January 8 or 9, 1967 showing part of our company (including me) in a bomb crater. They wanted to know more about this and other photos I took and sent home. I would like to thank everyone who made this website and the slideshow. I feel like you did us justice. Thank you and God bless you.

-Roger J. Byer, Lake Havasu City, AZ

It entered service on August 2, 1943 and completed 32 years of active service.

- Robert J. Cameron, Burke, VA

Vietnam is a mix of emotions that most of us will probably never process or forget. This is not unique to a Vietnam vet. The sour taste of fear and your heart trying to get out of your throat is universal. The waste, the drugs used by so many young people, the contempt for authority and the shame of being in a position of authority are probably unique to Vietnam. There are many memories that are not so good. However, I am very proud of my ministry. I did the best I could and I think for the right reasons. I have great respect for those who serve and for those who have served. We all have memories of coming home. They aren't very good either. What people thought of me and where I was is not important. I know how I feel about my service to my country and they can't take that away from me. I have had two occasions where my service has been recognized. During Desert Storm, veterans were asked to stand up during halftime at our son's basketball game. I cried. During the same son's National Guard activation ceremony prior to deployment to Iraq, veterans of every war were called to rise. I cried again. I'm lucky... many never get a chance to get up and many still can't cry. Thank you to everyone who organized this Vietnam Veterans Appreciation effort and I look forward to being at Pierre for the celebration. Another chance to cry.

- Dale P. Christiansen, Rapid City, SD

Delayed call USAF Sioux Falls, SD. She entered active duty in June 1975. Four years of active duty in the USAF and 27 years in the SD Air National Guard.

- Reid A. Christopherson, Garretson, Dakota del Sur

A bit about my time in Vietnam: It was unusual in that I served in two different divisions. I served in Vietnam from September 20, 1970 to September 20, 1971. The first division I served in, the 25th Infantry Division 2/27. Wolfhounds, C. Co. was located in Cuchi, in the southern part of Vietnam. It was terribly hot and stuffy down there. When I was 25 years old, we mostly went on day missions and only a few times spent the night in the wild. We were constantly working with helicopters going back and forth to different places. We mainly worked in rice paddies and rubber plantations chasing Charlie and the Vietcong. In November, the 25th Infantry Division returned to its native Hawaii. To return to the department you had to spend six months with them and I haven't since I joined them in September. In November I was transferred to the 101st Airborne Division from Phu Bai. Now I was up north in rough terrain like the Black Hills, seven days in the jungle and seven days at a fire support base. We never made it to the back and you could see your breath at night as it was cold at times. While I was with the 101st we hardly ever went back as we were manning a fire support base or in the bush. While in the north, we entered the A Sha Valley twice and worked at the barbarian fire support base overlooking the DMZ. What I can say about my Vietnam tour is that it was hard to be there, away from home and hearing about the protests that are happening in the US, but I met a lot of good people, some good people I made friends and we were ALL proud to serve our country.

- Don S. Cisar, Scotland, South Dakota

Welcome home brothers.

- Eckhard Clausen, Chaska, MN

Bill served a year, two months and 12 days as a trucker with the Big Red One 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam.

-William M. Clouser, Aberdeen, SD

I was born and raised in Wall, SD. I entered the ministry after graduating from high school during the Korean conflict. I took a break from the ministry (December 1956-July 1957) when I returned with my family to Rapid City and worked in wholesale sales. I returned to active duty at Ellsworth and pursued a career in the Air Force.

-Ronald W. Connolly, Grandview, TX

(Video) Department of Veterans Affairs SD CDROM video production

I "flew" from Oakland, CA to Saigon, Vietnam in an Air Force C-124 that had no seats. It took 44 hours to get to Vietnam. Along the way, we stopped in Hawaii, Midway, Wake, and Guam, receiving Air Force breakfasts at each stop!

-Craig J. Connor, Rapid City, South Dakota

I have a story, but not quite my own. It has a lot to do with another person who served the country for 11 years. I was three years old, almost four, when she left for Vietnam in 1958, and the day he left was the day my journey began.

In case anyone is interested in hearing my story about the most evil Muthr in the valley, men who were never able to tell their story because so few knew of their existence at the time and took a vow of silence to protect the vital interests of this country. in Vietnam, and because they have served and report to the President. They were the Green Berets and their true story has yet to be heard.

Please contact me for more information.

-David J. Cooley, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

ROTC an der South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota.

-Thomas W. Curry, Elk Point, Dakota del Sur

Letter of Recommendation 1: On behalf of the President, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Chief of Naval Operations, now that you retire, I would like to congratulate you on the many distinguished years of service you have rendered in support of your country. 2. You started your naval career as a builder. Drafted April 16, 1964. After training as a recruit at the San Diego Naval Training Center, he enlisted at the Naval Construction Training Center in Port Hueneme, CA and graduated from "A" Builders School. In November 1964 he enlisted in his first command, the TEN Naval Mobile Construction Battalion in Port Hueneme, California, where he served five deployments to Vietnam and Thailand for a total of three years and five months. During these travels, he participated in a Navy amphibious assault on Chu Lau, established a base command post at Khe Sanh during the Tet Offensive, and coordinated construction projects for the Mao tribes in Thailand. After serving in Vietnam, they received a shared tour of Naval Air Station, Olathe, KS and Naval Air Station, Fallon, NV. At the conclusion of this shore excursion, he returned to the Mobile Naval Construction Battalion TEN with deployments to Rota, Spain and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In August 1973, he began his studies in the Marine Associate Degree Program at Olympic College in Bremerton, WA. He then reported to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion FIVE in Port Hueneme, California, where he served as project and training manager at Diego Garcia, Rota Division operations manager in Rota, Spain, and shipping chief at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto- Rich . He then enlisted in the Fleet Aviation Specialized Operations Training Group Detachment in Warner Springs, CA, where he served as a public works officer. On November 23, 1981, he reported to the 30th Guam Naval Construction Regiment as project manager for the Okinawa Battalion, where he managed 150 projects in the Philippines, Okinawa, and mainland Japan. As his final tour, Senior Chief Cutschall, he was tasked with creating and developing a facilities program for the Puget Sound Naval Communications Station. 3. During his tenure as Senior Command Chief and Facilities Manager, he has repeatedly demonstrated his superior managerial skills through his ability to manage a mix of military and civilian personnel, resulting in high levels of productivity. His contribution to the fulfillment of the mission of this command has been truly exemplary. Signed by Captain R. W. Baker, Commandant of the United States Navy

-Dennis Ralph Cutschall, Hemet, California

I served with the distinguished Marines of K Co. 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Battalion in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam. On February 28, 1968, the day after my 20th birthday, I was with ten other Marines on a patrol approaching the town of Hhi Ha. About 100 meters from the town we were ambushed and came under heavy enemy fire from about 600-800 NVA located in that town. As I was trying to crawl to help a wounded Marine, a bullet tore through the left side of my helmet and grazed the side of my head. I started to crawl again and a bullet went through my right side, through my right lung between my heart and spine, and exited behind my left shoulder. At that moment I was paralyzed from the waist down. I then rolled onto my right side and was shot four more times in my left arm and left shoulder. Marines led by Colonel John Regal and Master Sergeant Haywood Riley led aircraft and other Marines to attack enemy positions. A Marine named Bob Runge and another Marine crept up to my position and dragged me under heavy enemy fire. While the doctor was administering first aid to me, enemy mortar shells began to rain down on us. Corpsman Runge placed his body on top of mine to protect me from further injury. Paramedic Runge sustained a shrapnel wound to the neck to protect me. This is just one example of how Marines and Navy personnel care for Marines. On April 1, 2006, I return to Vietnam with 13 of the Marines I served with that day in 1968. We will travel from Saigon to Hanoi, visiting the places where so many of our best were killed or wounded.

-Dennis L. Daum, Yankton, SD

Drafted into the Army September 14, 1953. Joined the Navy December 6, 1968. Retired June 14, 1995.

-Vernon Willi Davis, Beulah, Wyoming

Dale spent 20 years in the Air Force and enjoyed most of those years. He died on March 5, 1992 at the age of 52. During his military career, he served in Japan and Korea before we got married. From there we parked on American soil. As a couple, we were stationed at Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyoming; Battle Creek, Mich.; Klamath Falls, Oregon; Johnson Atoll in the Pacific; Chunate Air Force Base; and Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. These are the basics that I currently remember. He will be missed by his family and many friends of his across the country and at his registered address: Hartford, South Dakota.

- Dale C. Decker, Eagle River, Alaska

The years 1968-1970.

ricardo decker

In 1968, a young man in his twenties was trying to discover the true path to a perfect life. The obstacles seemed to be everywhere: no young woman in her life to head the university seemed the wrong thing to do at the time, and of course the Vietnam War and conscription loomed as a real threat.

I grew up in a conservative family based on the Midwestern agricultural ethic. One such ethic that came into play was that anything worthwhile must be earned. The obvious was a "day's work for a day's pay," but the key thinking was that what we as a country and government should enjoy has been fought for and preserved by the citizens of every generation. There was an inherent responsibility to respond when the country was threatened (either perceived or real).

The ultimate yet subtle force that drives some youngsters is a lingering question to ask when it comes down to it and your options are limited only to your survival skills against deadly threats. could you cut it

When the opportunity to volunteer for two years in the military arose, it seemed like the right decision at the time. Of course, a two-year college degree would probably keep me out of the infantry and make me a clerk somewhere.

The army had other plans. I was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington for basic training and a whole series of tests. I again thought that they could use my talents and put a lot of effort into the audition.

After basic training, I was sent to the Advanced Infantry Training Course at Fort Lewis. Boy, was I surprised. I started training realizing that knowledge could one day save my life and I needed to take care of myself. During training, the Army gave me the opportunity to volunteer at Sergeant's School and learn how to be a sergeant and a leader of men. I thought about it for about five minutes and respectfully declined. I figured taking care of myself was responsibility enough.

The next thing I knew, I was on my way to Fort Benning, Georgia for NCO school and the honor of doing a good part of the Ranger School training for our training. During the apprenticeship, I had another opportunity to continue my studies because I had applied for a position at West Point. The Army normally selects a few teams each year to join the cadets. I accepted this, and after going to Fort Lewis as an infantry training corporal, I went home and awaited orders. I received a call from a colonel and he regretfully informed me that I was not going to West Point because I would be too old by the time I graduated. Instead, my orders were to inform Vietnam. All those repressed thoughts of "kill or be killed" and "survive or perish" came back.

My first impressions of Vietnam were not good. We were shown to a reception area and accommodated in large tents with bunk beds and mattresses. You had to walk on old pallet sidewalks to avoid sinking into the sand and the smell was so unlike anything I had ever smelled before. It was almost nauseating. As we walked to our first meal in the dining tent, we passed an old woman crouched washing dishes with sand and a bamboo brush. She would also chew betel nuts and spit the residue into the same sand she used to clean.

After a short time in this location, we were assigned to our units and sent out for indoctrination. I was assigned to Calvary First Division, Aeromobile. Once equipped, we were assigned to our actual units, and I drew Charlie Company, 1/8, a company-strength infantry company operating in a clear zone of fire to prevent enemy entry into the area in question. In a way, that was a good thing because there were no civilians living in the area or allowed to travel, so we didn't have the identity problems that troops working in the villages had.

We were in the field for weeks, carrying all our supplies on our backs or wherever we could think of securing them. We were flown by helicopter to the various patrol areas, which allowed them to take us to where the suspicious activity was taking place. Once inside, we were served by a helicopter every three days and tried to bring us a hot meal for the day. The rest of the time we walked from sunrise to sunset, stopping only for quick meals or when in contact with the enemy. At night, each squad had to secure a section of the perimeter, and the guard rotated every two hours.

During a break, we would sometimes do security for an artillery base, allowing us to have hot meals, cold showers, and try to catch up on our mail.

One of the sad things about serving in the infantry was that I never developed strong friendships. At first, people came and went very quickly. Second, I was promoted to Sergeant Buck, with responsibility for at least one group of men. I was always the one who had to hand out the details and write down when we moved. I doubt many of my men knew me by any other name than Sergeant.

Living conditions were appalling, and all the men contracted jungle blight, leeches, and malaria or typhoid fever at some point during their stay. During the monsoon season it rained almost 24 hours a day and of course we were wet all the time. Hygiene was not fully possible due to the lack of purified water.

-Richard Decker, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

I did my training at the Methodist-Kahler School of Nursing. Because it was affiliated with the Mayo Clinic, everything in the operating room was sterile, sterile, sterile. On my first day at Evac 91 Hospital in Chu Lai, I saw four operating theaters arranged one behind the other with no door between them. I watched the anesthesiologist examine one of the anesthesiologists. Asked if he needed anything, the anesthesiologist replied, "Yeah, I could have a martini." The anesthesiologist lowered his mask and emptied the glass, handed it back to the anesthesiologist, and continued with the case. I'm sure they could see me open-mouthed even with the mask on. I found out later that it was just water, but the way it was presented was excellent. Chu Lai's team personified the word TEAM. Long before 24/7 was invented, this group of people showcased what 24/7 care really is.

- Marsha R. Dede, Sioux Falls, SD

My story is not dramatic. I have served my country, a service that has required personal sacrifice. After more than five years of continuous active duty, I was honorably discharged from the United States Navy. If I was allowed, I would serve again. God bless America.

-James K. DeSaix, Beresford, Dakota del Sur

The highest rank was Third Class Fire Control Technology (Artillery).

- Dean W. Deuel, Aberdeen, South Dakota

Maybe I'll send a story later.

-Casey C. Deuter, Ree Heights, South Dakota

Born in SD.

-Terrance James Dillman, Lihonia, GA

My son Craig was in the Paratroopers in Vietnam at the same time that I was in the Marine Corps.

-James R. Doscher, Oceanside, CA

I am the son of a WWII veteran who served and I am proud that I did. My military service has had a positive impact on my life, which I have come to appreciate.

- Michael D. Dotson, Brookings, Dakota del Sur

I didn't serve in Vietnam, but I did during the Vietnam War.

- Nancy L. Dowding, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I had several experiences in Vietnam, some of which are very difficult to mention. On my first deployment to Vietnam, I was posted to Tuy Hoa AB as part of Operation Turn Key. This was a DOD project to build a fully operational airbase in one year. It was completed in ten and a half months. My initial role (civilian experience) was air conditioning and refrigeration maintenance. Most of the refrigerators and freezers ran on gasoline. The Colonel, the commander of the support group, found out that I was a capable club steward. My dirty work is done. I was assigned to the officers' club. Well done. I have also been an accompanist for many USO soloists, that is. Martha Ray, Chuck Conners, Charlton Heston, Nancy Sinatra, and Connie Stevens to name a few. I also flew as a crew member in an AC-47 attack helicopter/flare ship over Pleiku and DaNang, Vietnam. After my trip and transfer to the US, I was sent back to Vietnam with TDY status to help with the flare ship tasks at Tuy Hoa and Na Trang. Another job I had before was as a courier on a postal plane from Saigon, Tan Son Nhut AB. He would take the bank deposit from the Officers' Club to the bank in Saigon. He would see me as a young aviator flying here and there minding his own business. He was carrying a paper bag or sleeping bag that contained between $40,000 and $50,000. No one knew what he was wearing except the club manager and the bank employees. It didn't bother me one bit, but now that I think about it, it's kind of creepy. If the other bird boys knew what he was carrying... who knows what might have happened. Oh, another interesting thing... I also know that you can drive a new jeep with 11 bottles of Chivas Scotch. The best car deal I've ever had. My captain was speechless but he didn't make me return it. Of course I did that before I returned to the United States.

-James W. Dowding, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I was an avionics mechanic and was lucky to avoid a fight. However, no one in the country was immune from the threat of rockets and mortars fired regularly in the middle of the night. My first night in Vietnam at Cam Rahn Bay was my initiation into this "custom". I vividly remember the journey from there (Cam Rahn Bay was in the river delta area) to Phu Bai. Less than a week later, I heard that a bunch of "newbies" like me were shot down on their helicopter flight to Phu Bai. None survived. That's destiny.

- Antone W. Downing, Aberdeen, SD

As time goes! I recently (February 1968) returned from Vietnam. Back then, veterans of the Vietnam War didn't view community "welcome banners" the way our troops do today. In hindsight, almost everyone who served went home as individuals, not as a unit. I know that I was very well received by my family like most of us. Yes, we all knew neighbors, friends, and veterans who were against the war at the time and seemed to be protesting against us. That's a thing of the past, and it's time for all Vietnam Veterans to make sure our Veterans get the "welcome home," the "thank you," and the benefits they deserve. We have done a good job of welcoming home the National Guard units. We must now salute those who return home individually because they are serving on active duty, and how we, too, return home to families without fanfare. Vietnam Veterans, today it is our duty to care for our current, future and former veterans to ensure they receive the benefits they deserve. I encourage you, if you haven't already, to join at least one veterans' organization. It's a great and easy way to serve yourself and your fellow veterans.

- Russel LeRoy Dramstad, Huron, Dakota del Sur

Three years ago I met two vets; a chaplain and a non-commissioned officer who toured the country as disabled Vietnam veterans to spark interest in the DAV. When I met her, I introduced myself and told her that she was also a vet. Chaplin shook my hand and said, "Welcome home and thank you for serving your country." After 30 years I finally heard the words I've been waiting to hear. I finally felt at home.

- LE Draper, Sioux Falls, SD

I served a year in Vietnam as a munitions technician. He appeared on both ASP1 and ASP2 near Praia Vermelha. We provide troops with ammunition and supplies. A week after my departure, the ammunition depot was completely destroyed. What I remember most from my time in the country is the unbearable heat, the poor diet, and the night raids on the ammunition supply point. I didn't get much sleep, but I was relatively safe compared to my wrestling brothers, and I'm very grateful for that. Thank you to all the Vietnam Veterans and to the State of South Dakota for this memorial. It has been a long time coming, but it means a lot to me and my family.

-Roger D. Dunn, Sioux Falls, SD

Life is a series of memories. During my time in the US Air Force, I worked in Dover, Delaware as an engine mechanic for C-5 aircraft. But in July 1976, he had 30 days on duty for the base's military police. I was lucky enough to be on night watch on July 4, 1976. I still cherish the memories of watching the fireworks that night to commemorate our country's bicentennial and serving my country by protecting those planes. Fireworks appeared to explode over the plane.

The military gave me the financial means to continue my studies. Both my wife and I received our undergraduate degrees from SDSU through the GI account. Most of the benefits that I have enjoyed throughout my life are the result of God's blessing on my life and my choice to serve my country.

- Daniel C. Dvorak, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

My wife and I were together just a year and a half into our first four years of marriage. Our daughter was six months old when I first saw her.

- Terry J. Eachen, Watertown, Dakota del Sur

I was born in Rapid City, SD and grew up in Keystone, SD. She attended RCHS and joined USMC in 1953. My (maternal) family worked at Mount Rushmore in the 1930s and 1940s. see cemetery. I served twice in Vietnam and suffered two injuries. The second wound was sustained in combat by the Hue City RVN and I was taken to the Naval Hospital in Long Beach, CA (March 5, 1968). I later retired from active duty on March 1, 1974. I currently reside in Monroe, NC, but have built a new home in Fort Mill, SC. (June 2006). After retirement, I graduated from Palomar College in San Marcos, California and received my BS and MBA from SDSU, San Diego. After the death of my wife Beverly in 2003, I moved to Washington DC and am now in NC waiting for construction to be completed on my new home in Fort Mill, SC. Black Hills will always be my home... Always fi.....

-Ronald D. Eckert, Monroe, North Carolina

He served with Hotel Company 2nd Battalion 9th Marines as a field radio operator. He was assigned to the FAC's Advanced Air Control.

-Duane Eckert, Pierre, SD

I was on the first boat rolled in the Gulf of Tonkin.

- Milo P. Eckert, Pierre, SD

He joined the SD National Guard as a pilot in September 1971 and retired from the Guard in 2007.

- Francis J. Effenberger, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I served in the 82nd Airborne for five months and then transferred to the 1st Infantry Division for four months and then the 101st Airborne for three months. I was in the country from July 1969 to July 1970. I spent five months in a reconnaissance platoon, four months in a 4.2 mortar battery, and three months in a Cobra helicopter battery. I just returned from a 3 week vacation in Vietnam where I revisited the places where I have ministered and even traveled to Hanoi. I was there with a group called Vets With a Mission that builds medical clinics that serve the poor. It was a rewarding experience. I can't wait to go back.

-Charles D. Eggebraaten, Indio, CA

Born in South Dakota.

-Harvey Samps Eliason, Salix, IA

On May 31, 1969, I was the door gunner for a UH1D Huey helicopter. We were sent to pick up a special forces team southwest of Khe Sanh. As we were on a short final approach to pick up a two-man team, we started taking a lot of small arms fire. When the pilot began to gain strength, he received a blow to the left forearm. The aircraft could no longer pull the collective pace and would crash head-on with great force. At that moment, the co-pilot withdrew the cyclic stick and changed the attitude of the aircraft, and the accident went from nose down to belly down, saving the lives of all on board. After the plane crashed and he fought to the death, he was lying on his left side. I was on the right side of the gun. As I got up and climbed out of the rubble, I heard bullets crashing and cracking in the air around us. I found my M-16 in the rubble, jumped out and tried to stop the enemy advance. As I was looking at the accident, I saw the passenger side door open and I rolled out. I saw that his face was very hurt. As bullets continued to rain down around us, he pulled the pilot and others out of the crash, once again saving lives with no thought to his own safety. Soon after, our chase boat dropped off two Special Forces members and they helped us rally and set up a good perimeter. There were other planes in the area and some came to our rescue and got us out alive. I'm proud to say that the co-pilot who saved lives that day was also from South Dakota: the former state pilot who lost his life with Governor Mickelson, Dave Hansen. How I wish he was with us at this initiation.

-James M. Elkins, Watertown, Dakota del Sur

I served during a war/conflict where I was embarrassed to be in the military. Those of us who served were looked down on. Luckily I didn't have to go to Vietnam. I show no physical battle scars. It took me years to get a good sense of service when I did. Now I am proud to have served my country. My heart goes out to those who ministered in Vietnam, those who lost their lives, those whose lives were forever changed, and the families who suffered loss; God bless you.

- Ernest L. Elliott, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota

I spent all of 1967 and part of 1968 in Vietnam. I was proud to serve my country. When I returned, I quickly learned that there were people who didn't understand that serving my country made me proud. What disappointed me the most was that veterans of other wars abandoned Vietnam veterans. That was a lack of scruples for me. Later I joined the Vietnam Veterans of the United States and learned that there were thousands who were treated in the same way. I quickly accepted his belief: "Never again will one generation of veterans fail another."

- Michael J. Elsberry, Herreid, South Dakota

Shortly after arriving in Guam, I was posted as a guard in a remote area at Anderson Air Force Base. On a lonely night, I heard a low roar that grew louder and louder. Being new to the base, I couldn't tell what it was or where it was coming from, as there was a huge cliff to one side of the area where the roar was coming from. It wasn't until the rumble passed the top of the cliff that I could finally tell it was a group of B-52 bombers returning from a successful overnight bombing run over North Vietnam. Eventually, I found out that the "roar" I was hearing was coming from the huge B-52's eight jet engines.

- Ronald Leo Ensenbach, Yankton, SD

When I got hurt in Vietnam, my friend Dennis Foell from South Dakota took me out of the field. He now works for the SD Department of Veterans Affairs in Pierre SD. I give him credit for helping save my life; We keep in touch to this day.

- Donel T. Erickson, Albuquerque, New Mexico

I am very proud to have served. Our country needed volunteers and we accepted the challenge. The aircraft carrier I was stationed on flew eight combat missions in the Gulf of Tonkin, two of which I had the privilege of participating in. They spent long months at Yankee Station launching countless assault missions. Our ship's performance has earned her two Navy Unit Commendation Awards. I will never forget the many hours of hard work that went into bringing an aircraft carrier to life into a powerful combat ship and a safe home for sailors far from home.

- Glenn R. Erlenbusch, Sioux Falls, SD

The 69th Engineer Battalion was raised in Texas, where all personnel and equipment were assembled over a period of about a year, and then all shipped to Vietnam. I was a heavy equipment mechanic for the battalion, building helipads and high bridges in the rice fields around the Can Tho and Vung Tau areas.

- Robert R Ernst, Glenham, Dakota del Sur

I remember the smells. Local Vietnamese were hired to work on some of the fire bases. One of the jobs was cleaning latrines. They would take half the barrel out from under the seat, add some jet fuel or diesel and burn the dregs etc. What a smell!

-Max M. Evans, Centro Lewis, OH

The year 1968 began with a mixture of hope and restlessness. I wanted to graduate from Northern State College with a major in math and business, but I was worried about recruiting. The recruiting committee made it clear that I was on their list to go on a journey through hell. In the spring my mother died in a car accident. Shortly after this experience, the recruiting committee warned me that I was about to be recruited and advised me not to accept a permanent position. The short time lasted until December 1968 when I was drafted. On December 11, 1968, I went through the check opening ceremony and enlisted in the US Army as an infantryman. Basic training led to my being drafted into the army for the infantry. After infantry training, the Army sent me to Fort Benning, GA for NCO training. After the churning and baking, my orders were to train the next batch of NCO candidates. With each selection, I noticed that the skates were polished. I went to Vietnam where I would live in hell for almost a year. In December 1969 I boarded a big bird headed for Vietnam and arrived at TonSonNhut just before Christmas. At the Long Binh processing base, I was assigned by the 9th Army Information Department. A short cargo plane ride took me to Tan An, where I served with the 3rd Brigade, 9th Inf. Dept. I celebrated Christmas and went through the important NCO process. A jeep dropped me off at Rach Kien where I turned into 5th of 60th Bn. Assigned to Bravo Co., 1SG (TOP) he introduced me to two South Dakota soldiers who were leaving the country (in my training and service there were only two other South Dakota soldiers I knew of).

New Year's Eve was spent with these soldiers playing buck-ucker and getting advice on survival. While we were playing cards, a race war broke out around us between whites, Hispanics, and blacks. Fortunately, the PMs arrived before any of us were harmed. On New Year's Day 1970 I convinced TOP to transfer me from the base to my unit. I was dropped off by helicopter on the first train to learn the basics. Walk through points, inspect houses and bunkers, set up ambushes, find and disarm traps, learn radio procedures, etc. it became my basis for survival. After a few weeks I was transferred to the 3rd platoon and given the position of platoon commander. Now he was still experiencing the sinking sensation of the struggle. Enemy soldiers killed in grotesque positions, my men dying and sustaining horrific injuries, and constant fear drove me into the impersonal depths of war. I have stopped trying to meet men in person. I just wanted to know your skills and abilities to help my squad survive. In late April 1970, Tricky Dick, the Supreme Commander, decided to kick the North Vietnamese's butt one last time, and then to Vietnamize the war. As a result, my unit participated in the attack on Cambodia. Fragments of a B40 rocket found me on May 9, 1970 and got me out of this campaign in Cambodia. After recovering and going to Australia for recuperation purposes, I joined my unit in an operation near CuChi in the Hobo Woods where my unit experienced the Viet Cong tunnel system. It seems that VC had the ability to appear and then magically disappear.

Vietnamization brought the 9th Farben Inf home, but my men and I were transferred to other units. When I was transferring in DiAn, the army separated me from my men and sent me to the 1st Cavalry Division. I was flown by helicopter to my unit's base camp and assigned to special missions. I was eventually assigned to my campaign, operating in the jungles north and east of Saigon. Once again I was assigned the position of platoon sergeant. During the transfer, I removed the medical records showing that he had gone to Australia for recreational purposes. So I applied for another R&R for Bangkok about 45 days before the end of the year. He seemed to feel that he had to do this to survive. The fire log deletion worked, I was given permission to go to R&R and because of the lack of fire logs I was sent back to base for all shots and the new fire log. When I returned from Bangkok, orders to return home were waiting for me. I asked permission to return to the field to visit my unit before leaving. I wanted to do this because my men were ambushed in my absence and some of my men were killed and several of my men were wounded. They did not allow me to make this last trip to say goodbye. Once again I was separated from my husbands, but this time they put me on a plane out of Vietnam. Thirty-six years later, the smells, sounds, feelings, and experiences of Vietnam are as real today as they were in 1969 and 1970. I was fortunate to have the experience of serving and surviving in the infantry. I think I served with the best men in the army, the foot soldiers in Vietnam! I have nothing but respect for the men I have served with. I will never understand why I survived so well and why others died, others suffered horrific and disfiguring injuries, and others suffered mentally to the point of partial or total disability.

-Dennis David Evenson, Clear Lake, Dakota del Sur

I thank God for those who served in Vietnam and in all the other wars this country has fought to keep us safe and free. In the name of Jesus we pray. A man.

-Jeffrey L. Fallin, Rapid City, South Dakota

I first saw Vietnam when my ship approached the port of DaNang in the early hours of the morning. It was still dark and when we drove along the coast we were close to shore. I saw a torch go off and light up the slope and all hell broke loose. Tracer rounds went in both directions and explosions ensued. It lasted a few minutes and then stopped. I knew then that this was Vietnam and the real war. When we anchored in the port of DaNang, armed sailors were patrolling the decks and boats in the water surrounded the ship and dropped HE shells into the water to deter would-be swimmers trying to plant an explosive device on our ship. We got an admiral and his staff aboard our ship, which would make a good target. The hospital ship Sanctuary was anchored nearby and was in constant use with Huey helicopters bringing in the wounded for treatment. The fact that we were at war in Vietnam became real at that moment. I knew I would see and experience more in the future... which I did.

- Terrill R. Ferrie, Sioux Falls, SD

He was born in Sioux Falls and moved to California in 1967 after graduating from SDSU.

-David M. Ferrin, Fort Collins, CO

On my wedding day I went to the State Bank of Alcester to get money for our honeymoon in Canada. When I entered the bank, a friend of mine entered and we went to the counter. We talk a little about what we do. He said that he was done with ROTC and that he was heading to his office. I forgot where he was. We started looking around the bank to see where the employees were. All the lights were on and the safe was open. So the bank owner and a loan officer came in and greeted us and sat down at their desks. After a few minutes they looked at us and then at each other and said, "Are you the only people here?" We told them that we had been there for about twenty minutes and had not seen anyone. Turns out the person who opened it thought someone else was there, so he went back home. The other person who was with me was Arvid Thormosgard. It was the last time I saw him. Your name is on the wall.

- DeLane E. Fickbohm, Alcester, South Dakota

During my trip to Vietnam, I was assigned as a Port Operations Officer at the US Army Terminal in Newport. This transportation facility was upstream from the city of Saigon and was on the Saigon River. This facility was built by the US Army and during my voyage (March 15, 1972 to February 16, 1973) was the largest and most important military port facility in Vietnam. During my trip we participated in the massive movement of used military equipment out of the country, the massive movement of new equipment into the country for the South Vietnamese Army, and the delivery of all our port facilities and equipment to the south. - Vietnamese. Government. I was part of the last remaining US Army personnel to leave South Vietnam after the 1973 Armistice Agreement.

-William F. Flannery, Des Moines, Iowa

I was 17 years old when I enlisted in the US Navy in March 1970. After boot camp in San Diego, California, I received orders for the USS Alamo LSD-33. USS Alamo LSD-33 was ported to Long Beach, California. We did a 90 day move to get the Marines and equipment out of Vietnam and ended up staying in my first West Pac for 11 months. I remember B-52 bombers hitting the beaches in a bomb storm. We were about 30 miles from the beach and we swept three inches of sand from the boat during the morning sweep. I remember helicopters flying in swarms of all sizes, like a swarm of bees. At night they could be seen attacking the enemy with red tracer grenades. The Vietnamese used green tracer rounds and fired on the helicopters. It was a light show. There was always a parachute drop going off the beach. Most were white, but occasionally some were red. Sometimes they were followed by tracking shots. I spent almost three years of a four-year draft in Vietnam. I returned to South Dakota in March 1974. After an 11-year hiatus, I returned to the US Navy, serving during Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, and the War on Terror. With two stars on the national defense ribbon, I decided to retire. I retired from the Navy in July of 2005 and am back in South Dakota.

- Peter L. Fleming, Hermosa, South Dakota

I proudly served in Vietnam. When I returned to the US, my pride had been missing for years. I hid the fact that I was a veteran of that war. But now I'm not afraid of what I did there. Now I am blind and glad that I served my country. Thank God for America and the people who defend it.

- Larry James Folkerts, Sioux Falls, SD

I flew to the country in support of Vietnam for almost two years.

- Dale R. Fonken, Willow Lake, Dakota del Sur

I was posted to Sioux Falls, South Dakota on February 12, 1969 after graduating from Langford High in 1966. I did basic training and infantry combat training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. In August, after a month's vacation, I left for Vietnam, where I spent a year. For the first nine months I was in combat, dodging bullets and shrapnel. I spent every night in camp sleeping on the ground with my gun to my chest and my boots on my feet. During the first three months in the field, I was one of the oldest men left. Every day in Vietnam was eventful and some 35 years later I still remember most days whether it was a positive or negative experience. I remember my friends and especially Dennis Hill from Reading, Pennsylvania. He and I made a truce that we would see each other every day and NOT come home in a pine box. According to reports from friends, he and I made it back to the United States with no body part missing or damaged. I could never locate it. One of the things I remember most is that my friends and family would send me letters to keep me informed of what was happening at home. The first and most important helicopter to arrive at the camp was the mail one. I will always remember my 21st birthday and the cake my mom made and she sent me. My unit was in Colina 411 for a few days and my cake arrived for my 21st birthday. She toasted it, put it in a plastic bag, and filled the bag with popcorn. Everyone in my squad celebrated with me and we ate this special cake and wrapper. I want to thank all my colleagues for serving and fighting for our great country. I love the United States! Robert M. Foote, US Army SP4 '69-'71

-Robert M. Foote, Whittier, CA

My story is short. My father had 13 relatives and of the 13, nine were children. Of the nine boys, seven served in the service of their country, all for terms of three to four years.

My father's brother also had 13 family members. Of the 13, ten were children. Of the ten boys, I believe six to eight served in the military for terms ranging from three years to retirement. Also, one of them gave up his life in Vietnam for his country. I am very proud of both of our families and everyone else should be too. Thank you,

-Ronald E. Fortín, Glendale, AZ

He enlisted in the US Navy in 1961 and left in April 1966. He served two years in the Helonlisbron HS-10 Emerial Beach, CA at Ream Field. Transferred to HS-2 at Ream Field, CA. We put to sea aboard the USS Hornet, where we were deployed off the coast of Vietnam. In September 1965 she carried out rescue operations for downed pilots in the helicopter squadron. When the USS Hornet went R&R, we flew to the USS Sacramento, then the USS Kitty Hawk, where our squadron flew rescue missions. I returned to the United States in March. In April 1966 I received my honorable discharge. I would like to thank my parents, Lester and Corriene Fortin, for their contribution because out of nine children, seven of us served in the military and all received honorable discharges. Three served in Vietnam, one in Korea, one in Hawaii, one in Germany, and one in the United States. Thank you mom and dad for raising 13 children.

-James D. Fortin, Springdale, AR

I was a technical manager for a small unit in Vietnam. Not much is said about the work we did there. Our job was to build roads and bridges. Our soldiers worked tirelessly to build roads that any state would envy, in conditions that most builders don't experience. I have learned a lot and I am proud of what we have achieved.

- Ronald A. Frary, Chamberlain, Dakota del Sur

When President Kennedy was shot, it was my job to get the message across to sister ships and the admiral on board because I was in the radio group. It was midnight and we were halfway between Hawaii and here.

-Stephen L. Fredrickson, Groton, SD

Each year I sponsor an entry to the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade to commemorate the contributions and sacrifices of the Vietnam War Dog and all dogs that served in the military.

-James M. Frost, Phoenix, AZ

I entered the Navy flight program two years after graduating from the SD School of Mines and Technology when I was informed by the Sturgis selection committee that my number was about to be taken. I didn't want to be a private, so I asked the Navy what they had and ended up in Pensacola, Florida. It was a small world. A few weeks after arriving in Pensacola, I was at the gym and saw a face that looked very familiar. However, I thought Bob Pederson from Sioux Falls, who I went to the School of Mines with, wasn't crazy enough to do it. Turns out he thought the same thing about me. We are reliving old times, our wives met and we all became lifelong friends. I accompanied Bob during training and eventually my squad replaced his squad in Saigon. We felt guilty for living in a hotel by the river and came back every night looking for a bed and a hot shower, but we lived with it. Bob left, I stayed, and then I went back to Vietnam on the USS Kitty Hawk.

-Donald R. Gapp, Coronado, CA

I joined the Air Force in 1971 as an air cargo specialist hoping to land at Na Trang or some other airport operation in Vietnam. To my surprise, I was eventually assigned to Norton Air Force Base, California. The closest I got to war was transshipping supplies (and unfortunately) the remains of some of our war dead. It was quite a sobering reminder of the tragedy that war can bring.

-Robert D. Garcia, Rapid City, SD

I hated every minute I spent in the army. Now I look back and see that I had a lot of fun too, but I don't want to do it again.

- James W. Geditz, Selah, Washington

When I first arrived in Vietnam for my first deployment, I was assigned to the Engineer Battalion responsible for maintaining the An Khe Heliport, which was then the 1st Air Cav Division base camp. The heliport housed hundreds of the division's helicopters and was nicknamed the "golf course". It earned its nickname from its appearance, with lush green grass and small, gently rolling hills with no trees. The morning after a particularly long-duration rocket and mortar attack focused on the helipad, our first sergeant waved to us as we stood around the hole on a platform that had been hit by an 82mm mortar with the announcing that "we were continuing to take care of the greens, but Charlie reset the pins overnight."

- Carl H. Gehring, Harker Heights, Texas

While in Vietnam, I made a motion to our Governor to have a South Dakota flag flown in Vietnam. About two weeks later I received the flag and was so proud to fly it in the skies of Vietnam!

- Richard C. Geraets, Sioux Falls, SD

I served in the SDARNG from October 5, 1959 to March 15, 1968. While the Vietnam "police action" was underway in 1961, the main headlines came from Europe. I must confess that when our company was loaded onto a troopship and shipped to Fort Lewis, WA in the fall of 1961, none of us had heard of Vietnam. My active ministry lasted 13 months.

In the summer of 1961, President Kennedy was challenged by the Soviets, who began building the Berlin Wall for the Allies to "deal" with a divided Berlin. On July 25, Kennedy put the army on high alert and soon received authorization from Congress to call up 250,000 guardsmen and reservists over 12 months. Army and Air Guard units were activated in the fall of 1961. A total of 40 Air Guard squadrons with 21,000 men were mobilized. In 30 days of mobilization, 22 squadrons were deployed in Europe. As of early October, 44,317 Army Guardsmen were ordered to federal active duty. The 32nd Wisconsin Infantry Division was stationed at Fort Lewis. My unit was stationed there in a support role along with a combat engineer battalion from Wyoming.

Of course, the details of the Vietnam War played out over the next 14 years and eventually came to dominate our national consciousness. It is perhaps a coincidence that those of us who served during the Berlin crisis are among those who served during the Vietnam conflict. But still, we served in a nuclear age and had no idea what was to come when we left Lemmon with this troop train. Military service is like that. We were lucky.

Some of our companies later served in Vietnam. I think they all made it back.

- David A. Gerdes, ft. Peter, SD

He served with Bravo 1/1 1st Marine Division, MOS 0311 Infantry, OJT for H&S Co. 1/1 1st Marine Division as Bat. armored. He served one year with Super Squadron 1/1, 1st Sea Division, Infantry Competition and competed in the Marine Corps Broad Infantry Competition at Quantico, Virginia, placing third. Discharged with honors as a sergeant. with three certificates of appreciation on November 30, 1973.

- Cary J. Gill, Lusk, Wyoming

After high school, I joined the Army inspired by my uncles who served during World War II. I volunteered for training and airborne duty in Vietnam. Six weeks into the tour, I lost both legs in a land mine explosion. It was an honor to serve my country.

- Lloyd J. Gill, Sioux Falls, SD

From the hills of South Dakota to the skies of Vietnam, I have volunteered to fight for the freedom of strangers. I was a total of 22 months in a row. I have fought, I have bled, I have seen my friends die for the freedom of others. 3,500 hours of fighting, Huey's and months of sweat. The price others paid was higher and I appreciate you all. I started out as a private and ended up as a captain, mentoring NCOs, NCOs, and NCOs along the way. My country and its freedoms are still dear to me and worth fighting for, even dying for. May God bless these United States and the greatest of them, South Dakota.

- Norman R. Goeringer, Deadwood, Dakota del Sur

I'm not a hero at all. I went where "uncle" sent me. I was lucky (they say) to have returned to the land of the great PX. Life hasn't been easy since I came back from "Nam". In order to exist, I have built a security wall around myself for the last thirty years, determined that no one ever harm me again. After a while, a wonderful woman, the mother of our three great and loving children, came into my life. She is my soul mate and without her I would be totally lost. I have been told that she represented one of the so-called normal older adults who has managed to get on with her life. The problem is that no one knows my inner state of being, so they can't see the fear that happens on a daily basis. Thanks to my mother for taking us to church and Sunday school as children, because without this background, surely evil would triumph over good. Like many of my comrades at the time, I have no battle scars on the outside, but please try to understand the daily struggle and conflict within me. I am grateful to my Lord and God for keeping me safe.

-Larry J. Goette, Rosholt, SD

I am disabled with PTSD and have a shoulder injury. I also have heart disease due to PTSD. It was right before the treaty and the return home of the prisoners of war in Vietnam. I was also in Vietnam during the fall of Saigon.

-Dennis Gosnell, Solon, IA

Service records: Vietnam 1972–1973, Desert Storm 1990–1991. 1971-1974 three years in the Army, basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington, AIT-Military Occupation School at Fort Gordon Signal School, Georgia. Title of Specialist in Communications Centers-Teletype/Crypto Operator. Unit: US Army Special Security Group, Deputy Chief of Staff, Military Intelligence Unit. Indoctrinated at the Pentagon facility in Washington, DC with top secret crypto security clearance. As the 71B Crypto/Teleprinter Operator, we exchange "Black Books" and "Eyes Only" messages to corps commanders (generals in charge of 100,000 soldiers). In Vietnam I was in Saigon for a month, then 11 months in the Can To-Megong delta region. After Vietnam, I worked in Fort Hood, Texas for a year and a half. Registered Rank Sergeant. He joined the South Dakota National Guard, 153rd Engineer Battalion, Company B in Madison, SD in 1974. I served in the National Guard from 1974 until 2001 when I retired as a major.

- Darrel B. Gothic, Madison, SD

I am very happy that after all these years we have a Vietnam memorial. I only feel sorry for the fallen soldiers who cannot participate in this fantastic celebration. Of all the fallen soldiers, I would like to have one here in particular. My brother, Michael F. Gramlick, of the US Marine Corps, was in the country at the same time as me. We parked ten miles away. He was at Marble Mountain and I was at Red Beach. He was shot down and killed in action. I finished my tour and went home alone. I pray for all our brave soldiers who did not make it home alive.

- Gregory L. Gramlick, Sioux Falls, SD

I was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, so I consider myself a South Dakota who has served.

—Gary Thoma Green, Tampa, Florida

I don't have many stories to tell, just memories of friends and colleagues. There was a closeness that few know or understand; we were close like brothers and had only known each other for a short time. We take care of ourselves and we have our backs. That moment was something special in my life. Governor Daugaard, thank you for finally honoring those who lived, served, died, and were still forgotten.

- Douglas E. Greenwood, Sioux Falls, SD

While waiting for orders to leave for Vietnam, I married the girl I loved. We both got carbon monoxide poisoning at the new motel we were staying at. A week later I woke up from my coma to find my new girlfriend had died on our wedding night and I was barely alive with no explanation. After spending eight months in military hospitals, I was temporarily withdrawn, and despite my desire to go there, I was not sent abroad. Due to serious injuries, I was eventually released and retired in 1971.

-Anthony F. Grieshaber, Watertown, SD

Death in service related to Agent Orange.

-David Allen Grimlie, Astoria, SD

Before I went to Vietnam I was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Fort Riley, Kansas, and after I came back from Vietnam I was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

When we left Fort Riley, we took the train to San Diego, California. We boarded the USSN General Wiegel in San Diego, our heavy equipment was loaded on board and left with us.

After arriving in Vietnam I was in Long Bihn and soon after we camped in Bien Hoa. They sent us to Gia Ray for a while, and the last few months I've been in Vung Tau, a look at the quarry.

I've been with the Australians and the New Zealanders for a while. They drank cold coffee and bacon boiled in water. The most played guitar.

We accomplished a mission and plan to return the next day. However, due to enemy fire, we were in the field 30 days before our return. A shower and clean clothes were a priority.

During my time in Vietnam, I worked with a lot of the guys I studied with at AIT, so I had a lot of friends with me there.

We had a donkey and that was our pet. The donkey went to Vietnam and came home shortly after I got back. There was a great essay about it.

When I left Vietnam it was 114 degrees in the shade. When we stopped in Japan it was 40 degrees and it was raining. When we got to California it was around 70 degrees. It was colder when we landed at Pierre - 23-30 degrees and lots of snow. It took me a few days to get used to the cold.

After I got back from Vietnam, I was posted to Fort Sill and we went to the base around 7:30 am and finished around 3-4 pm. It was like a normal job. Some of my friends were also parked there. Except for the time in Vietnam and basic training, my wife Nila was with me. I keep in touch with some of my colleagues in the army. We made a lot of friends and overall it was a good living experience.

- Richard C. Groft, Redfield, Dakota del Sur

On the fifth day of work, at the main gate of the air base, I stopped an army military vehicle to verify identities. The driver was a person who lived in Platte and moved to Washington in his senior year. We were good friends and fishing buddies before he left. It felt so good to have someone around who knew me and could talk to. It was one of the best experiences of my life when we met. We were 8,000 miles or more from home, but we were still together.

-Michael L. Gropper, Blue Springs, MO

Sent in memory of Verdean Gross. Verdean was a very active and dedicated life member of the post-1776 Veterans of Foreign Wars in Huron, South Dakota. Verdean continued to serve veterans and their families until his death.

- Donald P. Gross, Spearfish, Dakota del Sur

Looking back at the reasons I enlisted, it was because my father served in the Navy with the Seabees during World War II. He knew that he would be proud that I followed in his footsteps. The problem I had was that he was in a war and he knew what he was doing was necessary, just like everyone else. My generation fought in a war we didn't understand, and when we came home they criticized us, yelled at us, spit on us and mistreated us in many ways. We had no justification, no heroes, and no treatment for wounds that no one could see. We try to figure out the reasons in our heads, but many of us, unable to deal with the reality of what we have done and seen, have done the only logical thing and moved on with our lives. We stored it in the back of our minds, in the back where no one could see it, and we didn't want to talk about it. Some were ashamed, some were bitter, and some buried it so deep that they withdrew from the world around them and could never enter it again. I learned from my bitter experience in Vietnam the importance of questioning authority. The Vietnam War destroyed the trust I had in my government, which I now don't necessarily see as a bad thing, but rather a lack of judgment on the part of some. It is sad that we are victims of economic interests that exert so much control over our lives, leaving some of us fired and often thousands of us dead. Nothing has changed to this day. What bothers me the most is that the people who chose to fight have never been there and probably will never know what it's like to kill a man, or feel pain, hunger and lack of love to suffer. In war you fear for your life every minute because the only thing on your mind is if you don't kill first you will be killed. Our country should be made up of Christians, but the majority are just parishioners. You don't seem to realize that there is nothing worse in this world than killing a man you know has a family and ruining your future. Sad, it is very sad, but it is the truth, and it becomes more complex when you realize that you were part of that truth. In conclusion, things are the same today, waging wars for some to gain financially and the government supports this with the life of the future. This dedication brings back memories that I have tried to forget for 25 years!

- Johnnie J. Guindon, Plankinton, SD

I have many good and not so good memories of my service in Vietnam. It gave me the opportunity to meet and work with many great people. After leaving the Air Force in 1972, I joined the SD Air National Guard and was fortunate to be hired full time as an Air Tech. I retired in June 2004 after 34 years of military service.

-Robert A. Gundeson, Sioux Falls, SD

David H. Hansen was born on July 11, 1947 in Plankinton, South Dakota. After completing a two-year carpentry course at Southern State College in Springfield, SD, he enlisted in the US Army in 1968 and received basic training at Fort Polk, LA. After completing basic training and helicopter flight school at Fort Wolters, TX and Fort Rucker, AL, he received his orders for Vietnam. In May 1969 he was shot down a mile southwest of Khe Sahn in an attempt to withdraw troops. Despite serious injuries that kept him grounded for two months, he stayed in Vietnam to finish his tour.

Returning to the United States in February 1970, he achieved the rank of CW2. His subsequent service in the South Dakota Army National Guard earned him the rank of CW3. On October 8, 1973, he joined the South Dakota Highway Patrol. After 17 years in law enforcement, he left the Patrol as a sergeant and became a pilot for the SD Department of Transportation.

On April 19, 1993, Hansen was killed in a plane crash near Dubuque, IA. Fellow pilot Ron Becker, South Dakota Governor George S. Mickelson, and five other South Dakotans were also killed.

David's family includes his wife Diane and their two daughters, Kristi and Cathy.

- To the family of David H. Hansen

Our unit was direct support for the B52 at Utapio AFB, Thailand. We transport bombs of all sizes to B52 for shipment to Vietnam.

- Dennis L. Hansen, Dell Rapids, Dakota del Sur

During my time in the Navy, I served in the Marine Corps and was a Hospitaller 3rd Class.

- Russel M. Hansen, Wichita, Kansas

I was one of eight officers and sixteen soldiers who flew the first four CH-37Bs, the largest helicopters in the US Army, on the ship MSTS from Inchon, Korea to Saigon, Vietnam. I was the pilot of the two helicopters based in Vung Tau and the other two were based in Na Trang. Our only mission was to transport the crashed helicopters back to a base for restoration/repair.

- Lloyd M. Hardy, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

Our wing was part of the unit's movement to establish Tuy Hoa Air Force Base, which was the first base (according to Air Force Museum documentation) built by civilian contractors. When we arrived there was a mountain of tents and a PSP track and we set up tents and bunkers to protect them. By the time we left there was a completely established base. Our munitions squad supported the F-100 fighter squadron by supplying bombs, napalm, bullets, etc. After leaving Vietnam in December 1968, I remained in the Air Force (serving as an officer) until January 1969, where I served in a B-52. manned. I then served in the Air Force in various capacities, retiring in 1994 as a lieutenant colonel.

-Edward J. Hargens, Mina, Dakota del Sur

I served in Vietnam with the 4th Infantry Division from September 1969 to February 1970. While there I tended to the medical needs of soldiers in Pleiku, An Khe and Bong Son, RVN as a Medical Platoon Commander. In February of 1970 I was assigned to Medical Depot 32 at Cam Rahn Bay, RVN. I was a supply officer for this unit until my STD.

- John T. Harlow, East Moline, Illinois

I was a registered pharmacist when I enlisted in the US Army to fulfill my ROTC obligation. I was temporarily assigned to Fort Gordon Army Hospital and served there for 18 months before being released.

- Melvin H. Harris, Rapid City, SD

Welcome home, big brothers, from the "little sister"! I am president of the Nebraska Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Highway 83, and through my Veterans Music Ministry, I belatedly sing "Welcome Home" and hand out Healing Heart medals at rallies and motorcycle races, tributes, and Vietnam Vet gatherings. Hope to meet you at Pierre. Monica Harvey, Stapleton NE

- Monica M. Harvey, Stapleton, NE

Unfortunately, none of my experiences in Vietnam have been pleasant. I'd rather not talk about that.

- Charles W. Heu, Sturgis, Dakota del Sur

It was a bright and sunny day and I was surrounded by pineapple trees and banana trees full of fruit. The flowers were in full bloom and for a moment I thought I was in heaven on earth. Suddenly the shots rang out overhead and they hit the ground ready for action. The reality realized that I was not in heaven and that I had gone to another country to help them be free. I thought, "God, I wish I could try my mom's cookies one more time.

-James A. Heilman, Denver, Colorado

The highest rank I received was Machinist 2d Class (E5).

- Rodney L. Heiman, Emery, Dakota del Sur

The weather in Vietnam has always been unpredictable, especially during the rainy season. I was with the US Army's 156th Ave unit, which was part of the Army Security Agency. I was the air technical observer with two pilots on this mission, which normally lasted about four hours due to fuel capacity. On this particular mission, we were flying near the Gulf of Thailand when a violent storm blocked our return to base. The storm also brought us closer and closer to the Gulf. The RU6A "Bucky Beaver" is a single prop aircraft that is not designed to fly over large bodies of water. The pilots kept circling trying to find a gap in the storm as the plane couldn't fly over it and we had nowhere to land. Tension in the cabin was high as we were not only being pushed across the Gulf, but our fuel for the flight home was getting pretty serious. The idea of ​​going through the storm did not seem a good one, since the plane, although very reliable, probably would not have survived the storm. Just when the odds were stacked against us the storm gave us a breather, although it took the plane a few turns to gain altitude to reach the storm hole. We reach the opening and return safely to the base. I really don't know how much fuel was left, nor did I care, since we got home safely and had to prepare for the next day's mission.

- Kenneth F. Hejl, Watertown, SD

As someone said, somewhere... Everyone gave something, but some gave EVERYTHING. The USS Shangri-La launched one air strike after another. For those who have given EVERYTHING in the country, I'm sorry I can't cover you. For those who gave it ALL on the ship, I'm so sorry you didn't come back with the rest of us. For those who made it back, I'm glad... Welcome home! Always remember... POW/MIA.

- Dennis J. Hennager, Rapid City, SD

Rod says, "The US government didn't care 30 years why does it care now?" He cared... he was... he served! He cried then and he still cries today!

- Rodney Raymo Henning, Grenville, Dakota del Sur

I joined the Marines to be one of the best. I signed up for four years, guaranteed combat service for an additional $1,500.00. It turned out to be about a dollar a day, a great bonus. I didn't know what I would get myself into or what I could get myself into. I was unable to go abroad twice, once to Saigon and once to Okinawa. When I arrived in Okinawa, Saigon had just fallen and I joined Hotel 2/4, the company that had just evacuated Saigon. I was lucky again. I was lucky both times. I have never seen a fight, but through my brother, two trips through Vietnam, and other friends and family, I realized how much they gave and never got the recognition they so deserved. I am and always will be proud of my service to my country, but even more proud of what my brother and all Vietnam Veterans have given for their service. We were only doing our duty to our country; Some people never got it and still don't, thanks to all the old timers. Sincerely, Sergeant Larry Lee Henry, USMC. I'm proud of my father, sergeant. Nelson G Henry Sr, WW2, and my brother, Spc. 5 Merle A. Henry, Vietnam, We Care.

- Larry Lee Henry, Sioux Falls, SD

Serving in a time of great upheaval like the 1970s was difficult for many of us. Working on the Minuteman rockets was a very interesting job, but we all hoped and prayed that they never saw action. Luckily that was the case.

- Timothy F. Hentges, Salem, South Dakota

After three months of riverine patrol boat training, I arrived in Saigon. In July 1967 I took an army convoy to Nha Be with River Sec. 542. After three months, I switched to Vin Long with River Sec. 535. The river patrol boats were 31-foot by 10-foot fiberglass guns. broad. With a crew of four, there was a forward gunner, a middle gunner, a rear gunner, and a driver. I was the lead gunner on the 50 caliber machine gun. Our job was to deploy and extract, search and destroy, Navy SEALS. My biggest challenge was during the Tet Offensive in 1968. We were in Chou Doc, on the Cambodian border, working with the Green Berets and Navy SEALS. We came under fire and came under fire for the next 36 hours with only one SEAL killed in action. By the time my tour ended, I had fired on two ships and destroyed one completely. Of the crew of a four-man gunboat, I was the only survivor. Admiral Zumwalt was quoted as saying that sailors in river gunboats have a 70 percent chance of being killed or injured. I returned to El Mundo in July 1968. In December of that year I returned to Vietnam on an aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) in the Hawaiian Islands. We had a fire on board that killed another 34 of my companions. I returned to the United States in the summer of 1969 and was released in February 1970. I turned 21 a month after my release.

- Richard Roy Hermann, Fort Pierre, SD

During my service in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969, I was assigned to assist paramedics and first responders in villages liberated by the Vietcong and NVA. The views of the Vietnamese people who have survived more than half a century of infighting will forever remain in my mind and heart. We Americans need to get on our knees and thank God that we have the privilege and honor of living in this great country.

-William R. Herzog, Las Vegas, NV

I was originally assigned to the "B" race, but when I got to the country, I accidentally got off the Chinook at the wrong LZ. Two months later, Viet Cong and NVA troops overran Battery "B" with only one soldier surviving. (Two, counting me.) God must still have a purpose for me.

- Ross A. Hickenbotham, Aberdeen, SD

Arrived in Korat, Thailand just before Christmas 1965. Helps establish communications in support of the Vietnam War.

- Terrence E. Hickle, Huron, Dakota del Sur

My mission to Southeast Asia began in October 1962 when I landed in Udorn, Thailand with MCB #3. Our job was to move the battalion another 120 miles northeast to the Laotian border and build a jungle airstrip that could land anything the Air Force wanted, including cargo planes, fighter jets, search helicopters and ransom etc for the next nine months. in the Jungwat (county) Ghost Jungle with heavy equipment such as bulldozers, bulldozers, draglines, rollers and other construction equipment needed to clear the jungle and create a base for an airstrip capable of supporting the transport and combat of the heaviest air forces. We were only attacked once by Laotian engineers (just under eight miles from the airstrip). We lost three men, one by accident, one by illness, and one was captured, tortured, and killed in Laos. Three Air Force men were killed when their plane stalled and crashed in the backyard of the local hospital. I left Thailand in July 1963, landed in DaNang, Vietnam, and flew to Kadena AFB in Okinawa. From there it was back to the US and back to Pierre, SD for a vacation where my wife lived. My tenure has included Adak, Ak, Guantanamo, Cuba, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and various US duty stations. I spent a total of 31 months and six days abroad. I was honorably discharged

- Robert M. Hinckley, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

My father served in the army during World War II. From a very young age I had the feeling that he wanted to follow in my father's footsteps. I also felt that it is the duty of every young person to serve his country to earn the right to live in a free democracy like ours and that our families can live in freedom. I had no idea that when we got back, the media would help turn the citizens of the country against Vietnam vets and despise us instead of glorifying us. Many have sacrificed everything so that you and I can still live freely. I was lucky not to be overlooked when I returned home to South Dakota.

- Gordon A. Hintz, Mobridge, SD

I served as an Army Chaplain in Vietnam. Although exempt from military service as a minister, I felt a personal obligation to serve God and country with others as a uniformed minister. I have never regretted my decision to volunteer for active duty and have always appreciated my wife Wanda's encouragement to do what I thought was important at the time. The opportunities I have had to minister to our people in Vietnam would be unparalleled anywhere else I have served as a civilian pastor.

- John W. Hisel, Webster, Dakota del Sur

I am happy to say that I made it home alive and unharmed. I didn't have to shoot anybody and nobody shot me. I am very grateful for the time that I have served my country and I will always be proud to come from South Dakota and represent this great state around the world.

- Leroy D. Hix, Case Elder, SD

While connected to the Delta 2/11 Battery, we had just moved to another hill (65 I think). I was a radio operator working in fire direction control. It was our first or second night in this new place and we started getting shelled and shelled. No bunkers had yet been built, just parts of the metal duct sitting on the ledge for protection behind it, plus the communications bunker already filled with people on duty. Corporal Jeff Brand (of Fargo, ND) and I decided to take cover next to a Duce and a half that was parked next to a large square object covered with tarps. We lifted the tarpaulin to see where we were hiding and saw that there were 105 howitzer cartridges! Bullets and tracers were flying everywhere, so we followed him to one end of the compound. When we reached the edge of the site, on the hill we were on, we crouched behind the edge of the ground in front of the 105 howitzers. Bullets and tracers were flying around us because there was a firefight down the hill between other Marines, ARVN and Viet Cong and no one seemed to know where the others were. The flares started going off so we could see if we were under ground attack going up the hill. That's when Corporal Brand and I realized we were the only two Marines at the bottom of the hill. Corporal Brand had two weeks left and I had five weeks left. We looked at each other and argued for about 30 seconds over who would look over the edge first, as we were both short-lived. There are! We decided it would be best to stop arguing and just do our job and think outside the box (even though we knew our silhouettes would appear under a lighted sky). Luckily there was no ground attack on our side. We were also lucky that no stray shells hit the 105 ammo we had hidden when the attack began. We laugh about it today, but back then it was "wrinkle time."

-Donald D. Hockhalter, Sioux Falls, SD

He graduated from SDSU in August 1967. He passed the ROTC program while in college and enlisted in the Army as a second lieutenant. In the first year of service he deployed as a battalion transport officer for the 260 QM battalion. He served in his second year as Company Commander at Headquarters.

-Myron L. Hofer, Rapid City, SD

I grew up with Vietnam. It was an everyday thing. It was always in the news and the number of men dying there kept growing. I never gave much thought to child support until I was 18 and had to submit to draft. I got into the Air Force because I wanted to work on jets; I didn't want to end up in the wild and had no other plans for my life at the time. I did my undergraduate training at Lackland AFB, Texas and Jet Aircraft Tech School at Sheppard AFB, Texas. I never thought that I would end up going to Vietnam. I got lucky and got my first assignment in the high desert, George AFB, Victorville, California. As the crew chief of the F4-C Phantom II, I got what I wanted. I loved George, the airline was big and loud. With 90 F-4 Phantoms and 45 F-105 Thunderchiefs (Thuds) a dream came true. My job was the closest thing to flying with them. I was assigned to Wild Weasel Squadron F4-C, OMS 35th White Section at George AFB. At the time, I had no idea of ​​the scope and importance of my role helping to train pilots for the Wild Weasel mission in Vietnam. I later learned that these guys (pilots) would be the "first" to blow up the SAM sites before the main events and the "last" to hold the SAM sites down until all our planes hit the area. The Wild Weasels mission started with the F-100 and it was a bit dangerous. But everything was dangerous for everyone. Now I can look back and see and understand the role I played in the "big picture" of Vietnam. Today I work on the F-16 Fighting Falcon for the South Dakota Air National Guard. I'm not the naive young aviator I was in 1974. Today, I sometimes think back to those days at the High Desert Flight Line and see the role I played. I hope all the guys (riders) that I helped train came home. God bless America, MSgt Jeffery D. Hofer, South Dakota Air National Guard.

- Jeffery D. Hofer, Sioux Falls, SD

The two and a half years that I served in the regular Army were followed by twenty-three years in the South Dakota Army National Guard, where I earned the rank of Warrant Officer W-4 as a Food Service Officer for the state of South Dakota.

-Donald R. Hosek, Wagner, South Dakota

Draft number 54 with the latest draft. He has held various positions for 22 years.

-David W.Hosley, Aberdeen, SD

I don't like to remember or talk about these things.

- James L. Huckabay Sr., Redfield, South Dakota

Like my husband, I can only state that I am a veteran of the Vietnam era. I have nothing but praise and respect for these people who have followed their nation's call and served their country during this turbulent time in American history. It is fitting at this time that the State of South Dakota recognize these brave sons and daughters who have served with pride! Let's not forget our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers, uncles and aunts; and cousins ​​who continue to serve the cause of freedom in the remote battle zones of the world today. You carry on a proud tradition of service to country as taught by our South Dakota, Vietnam Veterans!

- Katherine L. Hudlemeyer, Rapid City, SD

I trained as a doctor and volunteered for Southeast Asia; the Air Force sent me and five of my colleagues to "Southeast Alaska." to USAF Elmendorf Hospital. It is for this reason that I choose to claim Vietnam Era Veteran status out of respect for the brave men and women who served and died in Southeast Asia. A toast to those who have followed the call of their country and have given the best of themselves!

- Larry E. Hudlemeyer, Rapid City, SD

We do our duty in the honorable tradition of the American military. For an SD kid it was also a great travel experience; I have been to Thailand, Japan, Subic (many times), Hong Kong, Taiwan, Hawaii, and South Korea. I loved the sea and ships so much that I later worked as a US Merchant Marine for 20 years, finally going offline as a bosun on a container ship in November 2002. Life on land begins to make sense to me.

-William G. Huggins, Rapid City, SD

George was always very proud to have served his country. He told everyone he met about the years he had served in the Navy Seebees.

-George L. Hulbert

He may have been born into America's worst generation, but he disagreed with his direction. I volunteered for military service and service in the Vietnam War because it was the right thing to do. I proudly stand by my decision then and now.

-Tommy Irvin, Bloomington, Minnesota

Welcome home brothers!!!!!

-Tom A. Jackson, Rosebud, Dakota del Sur

When I was in Vietnam and Cambodia I was with the 7/8 Heavy Arty Unit. We've moved around a lot the year I've been there and I've blacked out the names of the big guys and the places I've been and the places I've been . I'm sorry about that because the guys were great and we all worked hard together on the 8-inch and 175 pistols (Ball of Confusion & Blood Sweat & Tears). I want to thank Ottie West for being me during my time helping out in the military! From Fort Lewis, Fort Sill, Vietnam and back home!! Thank you!! Thank you SD for bringing Vietnam Veterans together! God bless us all!! Richard Jaragoske was from Gettysburg, South Dakota. Service from 1969 to 1971.

- Richard A. Jaragoske, Sioux-Fälle, SD

I arrived in Vietnam and was assigned as a doctor at Hospital 12 in Cam Rhan Bay. After two months I was transferred to MEDCAP 842 and worked in the field with the ROK White Horse Div and in the speedboats off the coast of Vietnam. We worked with community action teams who visited remote villages where we held clinics and gathered information about operations in the area.

- Thomas F. Jaros, Pierre, SD

Gallantry served in service. He died on 9/17/05 from Agent Orange.

- Marlin Larry Johnson, Aberdeen, SD

As members of the Mekong Delta Mobile Pay Team, we spent approximately 11 days at the Nha Be base calculating and updating pay records for Navy and Marine Corps personnel. We then spent about four days in ground vehicles, helicopters, planes, stern boats, or whatever transportation we could find to get to the bases and boats across the delta to pay the soldiers. We then returned to the base to repeat the cycle.

- David R. Johnson, Alcester, SD

I went to Vietnam from high school to flight school. I was twenty years old when I came to Vihn Long. They killed me the first night I arrived. I arrived at a bunker in my underpants but without a gun! I have never witnessed anything like this! I flew Cobra helicopters for the first six months and then switched to Scouts (LOH). When I was flying with scouts, I got shot down twice. I have flown almost 1000 hours in 12 months. With just over 250 combat missions (Low Level - In Charlie's Face - Search and Destroy) he was shown to be mad, dazed and adrenaline pumping. I'm lucky to have survived. The men I flew with were brave and strong men. I would do it again to defend the right of others to freedom of expression.

- Sturm R. Johnson, Summerset, South Dakota

Currently AGR in the South Dakota Air Guard

- Terry C. Jones, Lennox, Dakota del Sur

Awarded: Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device Theater: Republic of Vietnam. Why: Specialist 5 Jorgensen distinguished himself for his heroism in ground operations against an enemy force on February 14, 1970 while serving as a carrier with Company M, 3rd Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, in the Republic of Vietnam. That day, Specialist Jorgensen's platoon called in C Troop to assist an infantry unit that had engaged a well-entrenched enemy force. Upon reaching the point of contact, the tanks began to attack the enemy bunkers, but were unable to use their main guns due to the proximity of friendly troops. As his platoon advanced towards the bunkers, Specialist Jorgensen fired accurate suppressive fire at the enemy, despite the lethal enemy barrage of bazookas, pistols and automatic weapons, silencing two bunkers. Despite being severely wounded when his vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, Specialist Jorgensen continued to fight, unleashing an intense salvo of fire at the enemy. When his vehicle was hit again by a bazooka, the crew had to evacuate. Specialist Five Jorgensen's actions were consistent with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great appreciation for him and the US Army.

-Samuel J. Jorgensen

He also served in the US Army until his retirement in January 1993 with the highest rank SFC (E-7). Bronze Star, 4th ARCOM Award, 7th AAM Award. He served in the 101st ABN Div, Desert Storm. He received MSM upon retirement on January 1, 1993.

-Raymond G. Juhnke, Marshall, Minnesota

I wish I had more stories to tell. My brother decided not to share much with me.

He belonged to the Oglala Sioux tribe and studied anthropology. He spoke four languages ​​at the time and was taught Vietnamese in the Marine Corps. He became an interpreter and interrogator.

His unit was returning from a camping trip when it was attacked by US Marines. They spoke Vietnamese and were mistaken for the enemy while crossing a river. My brother was carrying a large gun on his shoulder and the weight of the gun kept him underwater. When he returned to the surface, he found his companions dead.

He committed suicide in 1973. I believe his decision to end his life was due to his service in Vietnam.

I look forward to the dedication. I look forward to meeting some of the men he knew during his years in the Marine Corps.

- Cheri Leaping Eagle Waara por Irving D. Leaping Eagle

He has served two six-month active duties. This was the budget savings period from November 4, 1957 to May 3, 1958. Then it came back from October 15, 1961 to August 7, 1962.

- Clyde Henry Jundt, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

I was a marine doctor in Vietnam. This is a rarity as there weren't many SD soldiers.

- Larry G. Kabris, Rapid City, South Dakota

14. Reserve CMD 114. Civil Engr SQ im Joe Foss Field en Sioux Falls, SD.

-Donald Glenn Kasak, Brookings, Dakota del Sur

Dean joined the Marine Corps in 1953 just after finishing high school. He served his country for twenty years. He served in the Korean conflict, three deployments to Vietnam, and many other locations around the world. He loved the Marine Corps and followed in the footsteps of his older brother Vincent, who served in the Marine Corps in China and Korea. Dean died in November 1975 as a result of an accident on an oil rig. He is buried in Houghton Lake, Michigan.

- Decano Arade Kearns

Harold served as an operator for Intcpt Morse while deployed to Alaska. This was a maximum security operation and he was not allowed to talk about it. Harold died in April 2002 and is interred at Sturgis, SD National Cemetery.

-Harold M.Kearns

From 1970 to 1972 I served in the US Army Medical Service Corps. For most of that time I was assigned to the 36th Medical Company at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The 36th Medical Company was a unit that was a wellspring of medics and officers who distinguished themselves in Vietnam and returned from service. I was the first officer in this unit not to be sent to Vietnam due to declining troop levels. During my tenure, I had the privilege of serving with decorated soldiers who demonstrated exceptional bravery and bravery while providing medical care for their comrades.

-Donald J. Kehrwald, Cherokee, IA

SDARNG was called to active service during the "Berlin Crisis" of 1961-1962 and commanded in 1963.

- Ralph A. Kemnitz, Felipe, SD

I was originally assigned to a hit squadron based on Whidbey Island, Washington, with a detail on the John F. Kennedy. While training at Whidbey Island, a young married man asked me if I would like to exchange packages for Japan. I jumped when I had the chance. I was sent to a reconnaissance squad in Atsugi, Japan. The squadron had EP-3, EC121 and EA3-B. We had a detachment at the DaNang Air Force Base along the airline. We were there for six weeks each. I was there six times in 1970-1972. I watched the war slow down. Some of my favorite memories were taking off and landing the F-4, seeing Puff the Magic Dragon in the night sky, traveling to different places in DaNang, and traveling to other countries. When I look at photos from that time, it always amazes me how young and innocent we were. It makes me nostalgic for those times and people.

-Louis G. Kennedy, Hill City, South Dakota

I was proud to serve my country.

-Richard D. Kennedy, Tee, Dakota del Sur

My husband spent a week trying to find some kind of story to submit. But even after 37 years, it was very difficult for her to put his feelings into words. He said: "It's not something other people need to hear and they just wouldn't get it because it wouldn't work."

-Robert Allen Kenzy, Rapid City, South Dakota

I have been to the Far East and I have been to the Middle East.
I have seen how people live and how people die.
When a soldier goes to war in a faraway place,
You can see the worry and fear on his face.
It may be to a hot and dry jungle land,
Where your education and knowledge is the plan.
So, on a quiet moonlit night,
He's in his first shootout!
Bullets whiz by, grenades exploding everywhere!
Through it all he hears, "Stand firm!"
When it ends and a new day begins
All is calm; but for the soldier life is over.
I have been to the Far East and I have been to the Middle East.
I have seen people live and I have seen people die.
I'm going home now, home in heaven;
You see, my life on earth is over.
- John A. Kimball, Black Hawk, South Dakota

During our service in Vietnam, our ship was called to Korea to assist in an attempt to rescue the USS Pueblo. Otherwise, our duty was artillery fire support, including the 1968 Tet Offensive. The North Vietnamese Army fired on our ship, sustaining minor damage.

-William B. Kingsbury, Norfolk, Ne

My father joined the Army Air Corps during World War II. He later made a career in the United States Air Force. He served in Vietnam and Laos. He is from Blunt, SD and is buried in the Blunt Cemetery. His DD214 is on file at the Pierre Courthouse.

- Virgil J. Wo

I was one of the last of the draft era. My drawing number was 94 and my cartoonists assured me that I would not be selected. But in 1972 Uncle Sam called everyone on 95, so I followed him. I was lucky not to be called up for service in Vietnam and spent my service in Germany. It was a good tour where I got to experience and see a lot of the world and meet a lot of nice people.

-Keith R. Kleinsasser, Huron, South Dakota

I was in the Corps of Judge Lawyers and had a lot of contact with our soldiers, both officers and soldiers. For most of my trip to Vietnam I was stationed with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in the central highlands of Vietnam. I have always been impressed and proud of the care and concern our soldiers had for each other. Without hesitation, soldiers would risk their own lives to help other soldiers.

-William J. Klimisch, Yankton, Dakota del Sur

I served in Vietnam from January 1969 to February 1970. I was then assigned to the 6th MAS Sq at McGuire AFB, NJ where I flew to Vietnam for the remainder of the war.

- Bruce L. Knauer, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

In the South China Sea we lost all our reactors. We sat like ducks for three hair-raising days. We didn't know what would happen to us!

- Jerry L. Knispel, Rapid City, South Dakota

For me, the biggest stressors of combat duty are odors, which are indelibly etched into my brain. And the memories that accompany those smells. Luckily, no one here burns human excrement to use as runway lights. I will not miss it. But the smell of cordite and gasoline and the smell of daily combat brings back enough bad memories to keep me and many a vets from hunting again. Or maybe it's the explosive sonic shock wave inadvertently shorting the memory nerves of a 38-year-old man. Or meet an age-appropriate Vietnam vet of his and know right away that the Battle Brotherhood League is there. But the connection to the dead is also maintained when you see a similar face in the crowd, making you relive the death of your soldier friends. But time and VA heal most wounds, thank goodness for both. Although I can't make the wall yet, maybe this dedication is feasible. Thank you and I will be forever grateful to my vets for your help and understanding.

- John M. Knox, Montrose, South Dakota

In the Marine Corps and Army Reserves.

- Darrel Dean Knudson, Ashton, SD

In 1965 I served in the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington. We were not deployed to Vietnam and in March 1965 I instructed my first sergeant to find a unit that was en route; He wanted to volunteer in Vietnam. I was transferred to 41st Signal Bn as a switchboard operator. We passed a troop ship (Breckinbridge) arriving at Cam Rahn Bay in June 1965. We were the first to arrive along with a billion engineers. The Rangers had previously checked it out. We dug in and began to install makeshift wires and cables. After about a month, several of us transferred to the 593rd Signal Company. We travel a lot and install advanced communications in different parts of the country. I wouldn't say our unit (the 593rd) saw much enemy action (we had our moments), but we did lose a few men to disease and wounds while I was with them, and a KIA and others died shortly after I left. . 69 Sig Bn suffered some casualties while we were working with them. My STD was on February 4, 1966 and I left Vietnam on 1/28/66. I would do it again.

-Gary W. Knudson, Pierre, South Dakota

What a life changer, going from a farmer in South Dakota to a soldier in a cavalry unit in a country he had barely read about. It was a great experience going there, but coming home was even better, even though no one seemed to know you were gone or care about your return. I'm glad they finally recognized us.

—David C. Kogel, Woonsocket, Dakota del Sur

He only had to look around and see the soldiers dying. I knew right then that I had to do whatever it took to win the day! You don't win every day!

Specialist Kohl, Tunnel Rat (Mole 4) 1st Infantry

-Neil Kohl

Each day, while serving as a nurse at a hospital in Great Lakes, IL, we air-evacuate injured men to the field within 24 hours of rescue. The evacuation planes made a brief stop over Guam. The men we received were still wearing the clothes they were wearing when they were wounded. Each shift that I worked, we received evacuees who were assigned to the appropriate infirmary based on the injuries sustained by the soldier. At that time, one of us was the nurse responsible for four wards, each with 50 patients. We were the "responsible" nurses. Members of the Marine Corps were assigned to each station and were responsible for much of the immediate care of each patient. It was not uncommon for a badly wounded soldier to be in the hospital for a year or two, since he was not released until he was ready for action. It was a very intense moment for everyone. I especially remember the incredible patriotism of these boys and men. Despite their horrendous injuries, amputations and severe orthopedic injuries, they were dedicated to our cause and wanted to get back on their feet so they could continue their work. I also remember with great emotion the nurses, 18 and 19 year olds who would surely receive orders in Vietnam. It was only a matter of time. They knew that and when the orders came, they came to tell us. They never complained or questioned. They left with concern and courage. There we lost one of our best soldiers. He had gotten married shortly before he left. His death still brings tears to my eyes. We held a service for him in the hospital chapel. His young wife was there. She hit us hard and the loss still echoes in my heart. They were extraordinary young people. I have never heard anyone complain. I am proud to have served the United States of America in the United States Naval Nurse Corps.

- Geraldine C. Konenkamp, ​​Fast City, SD

I did my basic training at Fort Leonardwood, MO. I then received advanced infantry training at Fort Ord, CA. In March 1967 I was transferred to Camp Hovey, South Korea. I spent all my time in Korea in a secondary MOS, Communication. I was released from Fort Lewis, WA on June 26, 1967.

- Joseph E. Coast, Tyndall, South Dakota

My Vietnam tour was extended by several days because MCB 128 was stationed in Gulfport, MS. Unfortunately, Hurricane Camille hit the Gulf Coast directly into Gulfport and Biloxi, MS. We had to wait until the hurricane passed and the C141 could land at Kesler AFB in Biloxi. We were then transported to Gulfport and told that all permits and liberties were revoked until we left the Gulf Coast. What a "Welcome Home"!!!

- Leonard A. Kourt, Vencedor, SD

I entered the service for compulsory military service. I was wounded at the end of November 1967 trying to take Hill 875. I spent four months in Vietnam, six months in the hospital.

It is interesting how many from the Timber Lake, Glencross, Isabel area were sent to Vietnam and were injured or killed.

I love my country and I am proud to be from SD.

- David R. Kraft, Bismarck, Dakota del Norte

He was in charge of the AC generator room and boilers of USS Sphinx ARL-24. We support river rats up and down the Mekong. Most of the battles in Vietnam were fought under cover of night. Every night our ship moved in the dead of night, so the enemy could not identify our location. During the day we anchored and supported ships returning from their night missions. It was the Beef and Beer BBQ on Tuesday that helped us transition from week to week. The steaks were grilled on the deck of a moored barge and each received two helpings of beer. But night was coming too soon and she was back under cover and slipping into the night, moving once more and hoping and praying that you would return from your four hour watch on deck each night. On the watch, you were in complete darkness, ready to shoot anything that came flying towards the ship, as it was most likely a mine ready to contact. It was a party every Tuesday, you came back for another steak and two more beers.

- Gerald D. Kreul, Madison, South Dakota

No history, but I thought I'd explain my service records. After my initial period of active duty, I enlisted in the Minnesota Army National Guard for a total of 27 years.

- Elwyn L. Kropuenske, Sorpresa, AZ

After boarding the plane in Oakland, California and before leaving for Vietnam, this was my prayer:

God, please let me return to the United States in the same mental and physical condition that I am in now. Thanks god. A man.

-Larry Gene Kruger, Aberdeen, SD

I served in the Republic of South Vietnam from December 16, 1969 to April 4, 1970 as an engineer in the Rapid Area Maintenance (RAM) Team. In January of 1967, I received my mechanical engineering degree from South Dakota State University. As an engineer on the RAM team, I traveled to various locations in South Vietnam to design structural repairs for battle/collision damaged aircraft. After I retired from active duty in 1978, I remained in the Air Force Reserve, completing 30 years of service.

-Larry G. Krull, Layton, UT

Captain Arthur A. Krull was killed in a helicopter crash during a training mission on January 15, 1968, at Hunter Army Air Field in Savannah, Georgia.

Captain Arthur Krull was excited about his career as an Army aviator and served in the Army for nearly 11 years. He flew 882 combat hours as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and earned 23 Air Medals while assigned to the 68th Assault Helicopter Company. Arthur was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries sustained after his plane crashed during a rescue mission.

After his recovery, Arthur Krull spent the next year in the United States as a student and instructor of helicopter pilots. Ordered to return to Vietnam, Art began a training course to fly the AH-1 Cobra fighter. aerodrome.

Arthur and his flight instructor, CW02 Kenneth C. Weaver of Cleona, PA were killed instantly. It was determined that the accident was due to the design of a small door in the helicopter, which flew off during takeoff, hitting the tail rotor and then the main rotor.

Two weeks before his untimely death, Arthur spent Christmas with his family at his sister's home in Dearborn, MI. His parents came from Pierre, SD to see Arthur. As godfather, he attended the christening of his new niece, Katherine, who was born on December 5. He then brought his parents back to South Dakota to attend a family funeral at Willow Lake. Arthur wanted to leave the car in South Dakota while he prepared to return to Vietnam.

Arthur Arnold Krull was born on March 30, 1940 in Pierre, SD to Heyo and Vera Fern (Stevens) Krull and had a younger sister, Edna. He attended elementary school in Harrold, SD, then moved to Pierre in September 1953 and graduated from Pierre High School with the class of 1958.

Art played basketball for the Pierre Governors and during his freshman year of high school he enlisted in the South Dakota Army National Guard on March 27, 1957. He served four and a half years in the Pierres C Battery, 642nd Battalion.

Raised on Pierre, Arthur developed a love of flying over many flights with one of the Riggs brothers, Wayne de Pierre. While in college in 1960, he made a bet with his mother and won the prize for flying lessons.

After graduation, Arthur attended the SD School of Mines and Technology and South Dakota State University. He enlisted in the US Army on November 7, 1961 and completed basic training at Fort Ord, CA. He later served at Fort Gordon, GA and Fort Lewis, WA before transferring to Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA, where he received his service as a second lieutenant.

He attended Officer Engineering School at Fort Belvoir, VA, Airborne Jump School at Fort Benning, Helicopter Pilot Training at Fort Walter, TX, and Advanced Pilot Training at Fort Rucker, AL. In November 1964 he completed a nine-month service in Germany and returned to Fort Benning on August 22, 1965.

On November 5, 1965, he was assigned to the 68th Airline near Bien Hoa, South Vietnam. The unit's motto was "Every man is a tiger." During a combat rescue mission on August 26, 1966, Art's helicopter crashed due to mechanical failure. Despite a serious back injury, Art fought to get the crew and passengers out of the wreck. Art was taken to a military hospital in Japan, where he was promoted to captain.

Three months later, on November 5, 1966, he returned to the United States and became a helicopter pilot instructor at Camp Killen, TX. In March 1967, he completed a ten week AEROSPACE safety course at the University of Southern California.

In November of that year he reported to Hunter Army Air Field in Savannah, GA for instructions on how to fly the AH-1 Cobra helicopter, where he died on the night of January 15, 1968. Arthur was ordered to return to Vietnam on the 30th. January 1968.

Art will always be remembered for his warm smile. He always had time for friends, young and old.

Funeral services were held at 10:00 a.m. on January 23, 1968 at the First Methodist Church in Pierre, SD with Dr. Harvey Sanders. Woman. Sander was the organist and family friends Leland and Bruce Johnson sang his favorite hymns. Burial was held at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, SD, with members of the Charles E. Thorne Post 2038 Veterans of Foreign Wars performing military honors at the gravesite.

Current living relatives are her sister Edna (Dean) Steinberg, Rapid City, SD; niece Katherine Michelle Cooper, Rapid City; nephew James Arthur (Lisa) Cooper, Valley City, ND; granddaughter Jamaci J. Cooper-Jimenez; and great-nephew Cooper J. Crawford, Rapid City, SD. Presented by Sister Edna Krull Steinberg on January 15, 2006

- Arthur A. Krull, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

Commissioned September 8, 1963. Served on active duty until May 1, 1964. Served in the Army National Guard until September 8, 1969.

-Lyle R. Krumpus, Colome, SD

During his service aboard the USS Hanson in May 1972: "Freedom Train" (later renamed "Linebacker") made night sorties off North Vietnam. Hanson was involved in more than 30 of these attacks, including entering Haiphong Port with another Gearing-class DD to shell the airport a few days after Haiphong Port was mined. On May 10, 1972, the USS Hanson participated in Operation Custom Tailor, a historic raid that brought together the most formidable cruiser/destroyer armada in the western Pacific since World War II. During this attack, military objectives were hit within four miles of Haiphong, North Vietnam, and enemy resistance was strong. In total, the USS Hanson spent 183 of the 214 days at sea during the April-November operation, expending 14,486 rounds of 5"/38 ammunition and successfully conducting 97 continuous replenishments. In June 1972, during night raids, Hanson dueled with 155 rounds He landed batteries near the islands of Hon La and Hon Mat and was hit several times The shells used by the North were anti-aircraft so most of the damage was from shrapnel which pierced the superstructure During a day-long attack, the Hanson was struck by three Chicom missiles, with one unexploded warhead, landing just yards from a damage control party on the main deck gangway.

-Steven J. Kudera, Madison, Dakota del Sur

He also served in the Army National Guard and Air Force Reserve.

-Wayne Lyle Kulm, Wald, VA

Member of the SD National Guard Army Reserve.

-Darrell Lee Kulm, Rapid City, South Dakota

It was parked at Kimpo International Airport in Korea the day President Kennedy was assassinated. In Kimpo, we were less than 30 seconds away by plane in case North Korea decided to attack. At the time, no one knew who assassinated Kennedy or why he was shot, but being so close to a possible attack put everyone on high alert.

- Gary J. Ladner, Rapid City, SD

Some thoughts:

War is good, fight against hell.

A war without heroes.

President Jimmy Carter granted amnesty to 20,000 conscripts so they could return and add their insults to those of our fellow non-travellers.

Better not be a vet.

Always Fi, raise your glass, raise it, gone to war, back home, the letter said, here is your son, dead forever.

- Lacey W. Lahren, Mobridge, Dakota Del Sur

I'm going to submit a story in a few weeks.

-Richard D. Lamber, Eugene, Oregon

I began my military career in the Wyoming Air National Guard as a Captain in the Nurse Corps on our Medevac mission. I trained as a flight nurse at Brooks AFB in 1978. On my first flight nurse qualification flight, we stopped at Andrews AFB to transfer patients from Vietnam on a USAF C141 to our C121 and take them to military hospitals near New Shirt. It was the first time that the ravages of war became apparent to me. These patients were young men, still bleeding from their war wounds, missing an arm or a leg, but they were so happy to be making their final journey so close to home. It was about 40 minutes into our flight, but it was my first real glimpse of the war. I later joined the USAF and worked at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines for 15 months in 1971-1972. The Vietnam War was ending and we were awaiting the release of prisoners of war. The new injuries were from drug addiction and were the focus of treatment at Clark AB Hospital. This part of the war was just as tragic as the gunshot wounds, and the recovery is just as limited and disabling. Eva Larson,

-Effie A. Larson, Aberdeen, SD

Between August 1968 and August 1969 I served as a radar controller at an air force base in Thailand, just across from the DMZ. The link below is a snapshot of the small air station I was stationed at.

-Douglas Lee Larson, Port Ángeles, Washington

I remember the end of my trip to Vietnam. My unit was preparing to return to the US, but many of the men did not have enough time there, so they were transferred to other parts of Vietnam. Five other men and I wanted to go home, so they moved out and we stayed to clean. They gave us three days to do this. However, we did have company the first night. They left us alone but we didn't sleep. We got out of there around noon the next day. My unit didn't lose anyone the entire time I was there. It was good to be home. After my return I joined the SD National Guard and stayed there for five years. I received the South Dakota Medal of Valor for the Rapid City flood in 1972. Thank you for the memorial.

- Clarence K. Larson, Rapid City, SD

Although I did not serve in Vietnam, I have met and served with many who have. I lost friends there and had friends who fell victim to it long after the war ended. I still felt it was my duty and privilege to serve and was ready to go, except the war ended before I was commissioned. On campus and traveling across the country, I have been spat at and called a "baby killer" and many other slurs. I watched as Students for a Democratic Society occupied the Navy offices and the university administration building went up in flames. After the war ended and I was hired, I was ignored or even belittled. I have seen men die in training and on missions. I lost friends in undeclared wars in other distant places and then in Beirut. It was hard to be proud of my ministry when the pundits wanted me to be ashamed or forget about it. The pain of our loss was shared only among our brothers, and the pride of our ministry was left in a very small place. As the Governor said, I never received a handshake or a "thank you," that is, until November 11, 2005, when I attended my daughter's reunion at the Custer Armory, hosted by students from kindergarten through high school. . It was a moving, heartfelt, heartfelt commemoration. It was the first time in the 34 years since I took the oath that I felt someone cared about and valued my ministry.

-James M. Laverick, Custer, Dakota del Sur

I have always had the utmost respect for Vietnam Veterans for what they endured both in the theater and coming home. This memorial, like all the others, is long overdue and we hope it gives these veterans the recognition they deserve.

- Bruce A. Lee, Valley Springs, SD

Assists in the commissioning of the USS Fore 5 TAL (CVA-59).

-Leo James Leonard, Madison, South Dakota

The following is a letter that I wrote to my mother and father after learning that I am the father of a newborn girl. As I recall, it took the Red Cross three days to find me and when they found him I was on an ambush patrol and it was around midnight. A doctor friend of mine came to me to give me the information. I was a stunned guy.

I was in the 11th Armored Cavalry. and we were somewhere in the north of south vietnam.

The Jim I'm referring to in this letter is my little brother. He was in Vietnam at the same time as me, we were actually in the same unit. It wasn't supposed to happen, but it did.

Hello everyone, September 20, 1967

I got the message yesterday. It was a shock. You are probably wondering why it was so shocking. Come on, they keep me so busy I haven't even had time to think about home. After it was played on the radio last night, I was completely gobsmacked. I didn't know what to do with myself. The sergeant pulled out a bottle he'd had lying around for a while, and we all huffed. They all came to congratulate me. They were like a bunch of old ladies. I was glad when I found out it was a girl.

By the way, what's it like to be a grandfather? I'm in a good mood today. In fact, I've never been happier since I've been here.

I'm patrolling with three other guys and we find a nice shady spot to rest. 'Oh yeah', we even have some leg patrols in a cave unit. We have a new guy with us and he's a bit sloppy. I picked up a horn this morning. We walked more than a mile before I realized that he had never had a magazine in his rifle. He told me that he could hold his rifle very fast. I asked him if he didn't think I could shoot him before he did. He didn't say anything but he put one on. So we had to cross some paddy fields on dikes before the sun came up this morning and it fell three times before we got back.

It's 4:00 p.m. m. now and he ran out of water about 3 hours ago so now he's drinking mine. A while back I saw one of my friends nod as she gave him a drink. They think he should learn the hard way. Which it probably should. My water is going to run out soon anyway, so it's probably going to suffer a bit anyway. It doesn't bother me anymore, I've gotten hard and if you don't believe me, you should sniff me.

We sleep, eat and work in the rain, but that's another thing to get used to. But it's not so bad, we also have our laughs.

Have I already told you how our A-Cavs are put together? Well, they look like this. (Drawing currently not included)

In each lane there are 3 gunners, 1 of 50 and 2 of 60, a radio and a driver (me).

It looks like it's going to be longer than I expected before I see Jim. Looks like we'll be staying here for another 6 weeks. They supported the 9th Corps of Engineers. Hell, I joined the Marines too.

Well, looks like I'd better quit soon. It looks like it's going to get wet outside. You have never seen anything until you see a monsoon rain. The other day when I drove here it was raining so hard I was afraid I would drown unless I closed my mouth and breathed through my nose. When it doesn't rain, it's hellishly hot. I tan well.

Linda said in her last letter that it was snowing back there. It's a bit hard to imagine.

Speaking of Linda, I really miss that girl. Now more than ever.

I could write a book, but I better stop before this pen runs out.


PS Tell Paula, Jack and Deb I said hi.

- Robert J. Lester, Speerfisch, SD

My father tells that when they arrived in Vietnam they had to run every night to their bunkers in the dark because of the mortar attacks.

-Leo M. Liesinger, Hartford, Dakota del Sur

While working at USCG Port Security in Alameda, California, I was assigned to the Bomb Loading Supervisory Detachment in Port Chicago, California. The US Coast Guard has been tasked with overseeing the loading of bombs on ships bound for Vietnam. This oversight came into effect after the Port of Chicago was wiped off the map during World War II when the US Navy loaded ships with bombs. Alameda Port Security also worked to ensure that peace activists did not interfere with the loading of US Navy supply ships in Oakland, California. Numerous arrests were made during this period.

- James E. Loesch, North Fort Myers, Florida

Bryan served aboard the USS Davis during his four years in the Navy and sailed around the world aboard that ship. He made two trips to Vietnam, where the Davis patrolled the coast and fired inland in support of operations. Bryan returned to civilian life, eventually landing a career as a conductor with the Burlington Northern Railroad. He was a patriot who raised the American flag every day and a lifelong Nebraska Cornhusker fan. Because of his unwavering loyalty to "Big Red," then-Governor Mike Johanns named him an Admiral of the Nebraska Grand Army in 2003.

Bryan has worked for the Burlington Northern Railroad for most of his life since joining the Navy. While living in Edgemont, SD, he served on the city council and was active in the local union. After joining Gillette, he became active in the union again, even serving a few terms as local union president. He died at his home on November 14 after battling lung cancer and a heart condition. Although he took great pride in his naval service, he rarely spoke of his experiences.

- Bryan E. Lolley, Gillette, Dakota del Sur

After graduating from San Diego College of Physical Therapy, I reported to work at the United States Naval Hospital (Oak Knoll) in Oakland, California on the day of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. His death caused such chaos that I was put in temporary housing and basically forgotten about for almost two weeks. My most memorable experience at Oak Knoll was helping care for young Marines returning from Vietnam who were missing an arm or a leg. They displayed extraordinary courage and determination to recover from their injuries and learn to use their "new limbs". You were an inspiration to all of us in the Physical Therapy Department and it was an honor to have met you and assisted in any way with your rehabilitation.

- Richard A. Lolley, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

Fred is in the Belle Vista Nursing Home in Rapid City, SD as a result of a motorcycle accident in 1995. James Long, his brother, is his P.O.A./guardian.

-Frederick Leroy Long, Hettinger, Dakota del Norte


-Kenneth H. Lore, Rapid City, SD

After my Air Force pilot training, I was assigned to a C-130 squadron in the US and spent a lot of time on TDY in the US and Europe. So I volunteered for Combat Talon training and was assigned to the 15th Special Operations Squad (later changed to 90th SOS) in Nha Trang, South Vietnam. I spent April 1970 - 1971 flying a few bazaar missions around Southeast Asia. Our aircraft (12,130 modified, four for Southeast Asia, four for the United States and four for Europe) were equipped with terrain radar for low-altitude missions, most of which were conducted at night. We mainly work with special forces and a group called SOG. I found the special ops mission more interesting than the standard C-130 "garbage truck". After completing my trip to Vietnam, I was assigned to the Special Operations Squad in Germany for three years, and then I went to Florida.

- Anthony E. Lucas, Pierre, SD

After thirty-nine years, my experiences are crystal clear in my mind. This year was the biggest event of my life. I realized what my parents gave me and how good it is to live in the USA. My first thought when I came back from a year in the infantry was: How did people mentally survive in WWII after sometimes up to four years in the infantry? Today we have staff from the Veterinary Center with whom we can talk at any time. thank god for them. There are many stories that I could tell, but I will wait for the right time. Thank you.

- Kenneth P. Lübke, Rosholt, SD

Embarkation from Fort Bliss, Texas with the Arty 6/27 (8 in 175 mm) in October 1965 aboard the troop transport USS General W.H. Gordon. The battalion arrived in Vung Tau, Vietnam late in the month after a stopover in Okinawa after several weeks. In a staging area, the battalion moved to Phouc Vinh. My MOS was an Ordnance Surveyor and I was also cross-trained in Fire Direction Control (FDC). Bill Stallman from Reliance, SD was also there in the Survey Section, and we shared the same dugout or bunker a few nights when we "arrived." I left Tan Son Nhut on January 23, 1966, and was discharged in Oakland, California.

- Curtis D. Lunde, Sioux Falls, SD

I just want to say that I am a proud Vietnam Veteran to have served in Vietnam for just over 20 months 34 years ago.

- Dennis A. Lundstrom, Canton, South Dakota

Kenneth Luvaas and LeRoy Tarbox, classmates, enlisted the same day and completed basic training together. Kenny went on to repair communications and LeRoy as C-130 crew chief. We didn't see each other for two years until we met at the airline at McQuire AFB, NJ.

- Kenneth Luvaas, Henry, Dakota del Sur

My flight helmet and uniform were cut on July 2, 1967 and are in the Smithsonian in Washington DC. My flight helmet is on display at the National Museum of American History. It appears in the booklet The Price of Freedom, Americans at War. "CREW CHIEF" is engraved on the front of the helmet.

- John M. Lynch, Sioux Falls, SD

Shawn Mack was injured during his second tour of duty in Vietnam. He received RPG shrapnel wounds to the head and side. After the war, he was left physically and mentally disabled by these injuries. He received a 100 percent disability from the VA. Despite his shortcomings, he was a positive and grateful man, very proud of his country and of his service. He rarely complained about anything. In the last years of his life he lived in Brandon, SD. That's when we became best friends. We had a lot in common (they both served on two tours, etc.) and we became instant friends. We found that we could talk openly about our past and had a lot of laughs along with the serious stuff. We take care of each other. Shawn often lost his balance and occasionally had seizures. On January 31, Shawn succumbed to his injuries and fell for the last time. He passed away on February 1, 2005. At the dedication, I am honored to wear his Vietnam Service ring, which was given to me by his parents. I miss my friend and brother so much. Larry Ottoson

- Shawn S. Mack

Note: Launch date above refers to active service under DD 214. Withdrew from AF Reserve in 1990.

- Edwin F. Madigan, Hot Springs, Dakota del Sur

Four and a half years of active duty in the Air Force, 3rd Combat Group COMM, Tinker AFB, Araxos AFS Greece, Luke AFB (1975-1979), 114 Combat COMM Flight, South Dakota Air National Guard (1980-1984), 315 Combat COMM Group, Air Force Reserve at Charleston AFB (1985-1988), 114 Combat COMM Squadron, Florida Air National Guard (1988-2003) [Saudi Arabia, Desert Storm 1], [Sarajevo, Bosnia, Joint Endeavour].

-David V. Mager, Melbourne, Florida

One of the proudest moments of my mission was when I received the privilege of being invited as a member of the Funeral Squad of the 25th Infantry Division. We were chosen to honor the brave soldiers who died and buried them in various cemeteries in Hawaii. The honor with which these men and women served their country was reflected in the manner in which they were buried. It was a moment in my life that I will never forget and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.

-Emil A. Magnuson, Rapid City, SD

On the first mission to Southeast Asia, I flew the F-105 from Takhli AB, Thailand. On May 10, 1966, I was to attack the Yen Bai Arsenal with two #3000 bombs (my 102nd combat mission). Coming out of the bombardment (target destroyed) I was hit by an AAA leaving a meter long hole in my right wing. After a few seconds I started to lose control of the plane so I got out. I landed in a mountainous area south of the Red River. At first I was restricted by members of my group, then the A1-Es protected me until the Jolly Green helicopters arrived (about two hours later). They caught me and as we were leaving the area we were attacked by North Vietnamese Migs. They fired heat-guided missiles at the rescue plane, but the missiles did not conduct. The helicopters landed on a mountain in Laos occupied by US special forces. They refueled the helicopters using 50-gallon drums with hand-cranked pumps. I later learned that my miraculous rescue was the farthest north a pilot had ever been rescued from. My second trip to Southeast Asia was to DAO, Saigon. I was heavily involved in the evacuation of Saigon in 1975. After the chaotic evacuation was complete, we were transferred to the USS Midway. The next morning, a Vietnamese commander piloting an O-1 told the Midway's captain that he wanted to land on the carrier and had only one hour of fuel left. He also said that he had his wife and two children on the one-seat plane. The captain decided to let the O-1 try. The Vietnamese major made a successful landing, which was a first for the US Navy. The captain also told the major that something like this could only happen in the United States. A happy ending to a sad war!

- Martin H. Mahrt, Custer, South Dakota

I was in Khe Sanh during Lam Sanh 719 in March 1972.

-Owen W. Maier, Wichita, Kansas

In particular, I remember hitchhiking back to the base in Langley, VA after returning from overseas. They spat at me as a car went by yelling "Baby Killer" and I kept walking around with this Lugie in my face and didn't wipe it off until they were out of sight so I wouldn't get credit for their action. There were no yellow ribbons, no cheering crowds, and many friends were disappointed that I volunteered and was proud to serve America.

- Charles R. Mancini, Parmelee, South Dakota

Born in SD.

- Nick L. Maranell, Esterville, IA

Driving light vehicles and cooking.

-Russell Lowel Martin, Elk Point, Dakota del Sur

During the year and a half that I spent in DaNang, I tried to keep track of the number of rocket hits we encountered. On my last day there I had made nearly 2,000 shots. Hence the name: Rocket City.

- Delbert R. Maxwell, Rapid City, SD

I was a TDY for much of my Vietnam tour. The task was to collect data for a provisional light infantry brigade. On one of my layovers (about a week) I noticed a date on the side of a bombed out building. It read: “You didn't live until you almost died. I noticed the same quote on the Mickelson Memorial under one of the slain pilots.

-Kenneth G. May, Rapid City, South Dakota

The Vietnam veteran's worst enemy was Vietnamese protesters and politicians, who constantly protested the country's support for the military. Inas Kerry, McGovern, Andall: Their voices prolonged the war while the NVA counted on them to weaken the resolve of the American people and therefore the efforts of all. Don't let that happen in Iraq now. Show solidarity with our men in their service to our country.

- Patrick J. McCarthy, Sioux Falls, SD

I initially enlisted as an Airborne Unassigned and served three years with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY. I was the chief of Sergeant E-5's weapons squad when the draft ended and I went back to school. When I graduated from the University of South Dakota at Vermillion in 1966, I was commissioned by ROTC and assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. I then served with this division in Vietnam for three years as a platoon commander, a company commander, and a staff officer. When the division returned to the United States in late 1971, I joined Advisor Team 162, the group of American soldiers who served in the Vietnam Airborne Division. I served as Senior Advisor to the 5th Vietnam Airborne Battalion. At the time, US forces were being drawn down in Vietnam, and I was not replaced when I left the 5th Airborne Battalion in mid-1972. From then on, Vietnamese units fought without US help until they were subdued in 1975. My post-Vietnam career has included study and service in infantry units, and for the past ten years (1985-1995) I have served as a military attaché in the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia. In summary, my service can be divided into three phases: combat as a paratrooper, education (including graduate school, army command and staff school, and army war academy), and infantry units in times of war. peace and, finally, military service. Diplomat stationed at the US embassies in Southeast Asia. I have taught an alternative program at the high school level for the past several years, but I plan to return to South Dakota around Thanksgiving to hunt pheasants. Once South Dakota, always South Dakota.

-Michael A. McDermott, Anacortes, Washington

We were at our shooting quota. In short, a few that come to mind are listed below:

We supported an artillery base that was almost overrun by the "green line". The enemy was on the second strand of wire. The enemy was defeated by superior firepower including small arms, artillery, cannons, and other aircraft at our disposal.

Another one that comes to mind is that when the company came out of the swamp up the side of a hill, we ran into a large contingent of enemy soldiers. The lead squad suffered heavy casualties and withdrew. My platoon was on the right flank and the platoon sergeant and I moved forward to try to remove the fallen guns to keep them out of enemy range. Our remaining troops covered us and we were able to secure most of the weapons. I won the army award with a "V" device.

The last thing I'll mention is where I got the Purple Heart. One of the things I was proud of was that in all my time as a squad leader or platoon commander I never lost a man to enemy fire. I was in the middle of my time in the field and we were securing a landing zone for the support helicopter. All the men were spread out in a 360 degree radius and we were taking turns getting our supplies. The enemy must have concentrated on the noise of the helicopter and began to launch mortars. One of the rounds fell behind my squad and five of us had to be evacuated. Happy to say four of us made it back to the field with the fifth coming home on the Freedom Bird. Nobody was killed.

My most recent tour of duty in Vietnam was a month-long assignment to help plan B-52 strikes known as Arc Lights. We analyzed enemy activity and made targeting recommendations.

Like everyone else, I was ready to go home and count the days. When I got to Oakland they sued us and made us all go into Class A or put on uniforms to fly the rest of the way home. It didn't really matter what we were wearing, we would just go home and if our parents or relatives could get away, they would pick us up at the airport. For many years, people simply wanted to forget about Vietnam and not be remembered by those who served during the conflict. There were several years where I didn't even say I was a veteran on my resume. At first I felt slighted, but over time that stopped mattering.

Now it can be part of the story that we pass on to the next generation and people are really interested.

My first trip was from March 1964 to March 1965 as an adviser to the High Yen Special Sector. We were the southernmost MAAG. The sector was the home of Father Hoa, a Catholic priest who moved his congregation from China to South Vietnam to escape communist rule. His story has appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, Readers Digest and an NBC TV special called The Village that Reused to Die. It has been an interesting year. My second station in 1970 was at USARV Headquarters and I was the Army planning officer to identify units that would return to the US during the withdrawal phase.

-Mark E. McGlone, Flandreau, Dakota del Sur

a healing story

Gregory's graduating classes meet every five years. Since I graduated in 1970 and my brother graduated in 1965, our reunions coincide. On July 4, 1995, while I was home for my 25th high school reunion, Ed Haines approached me. Ed took me to the American Legion Club and introduced me to the Reflections print by artist Lee Teter. The engraving shows a man in his forties leaning against a granite wall with his head bowed. He's probably thinking about the friends he had a fight with who haven't come home. If you look back and reach for the man inside the wall, you see images of six young soldiers. Their youth is forever frozen with their names engraved on the black stone wall. Ed pointed to the printout of my brother's name, which he couldn't believe! A local resident saw Denny's name just a week before. Mind you, there are over 58,000 names on the entire wall and only about 200 legible names on the "Reflections" print. What are the chances of this print ending up in the American Legion Club in my brother's hometown? Ed purchased the print in Sioux Falls and donated it to the American Legion Club. He hung there for about a year and a half before Denny's name came out. I have often wondered if Denny had converted to Christianity before he died. Since everything said above plays out like this, this is purely coincidental. I believe that God works in mysterious ways. There is no question that Denny found the Lord and God brought him home for his 30th meeting.

-Dennis C. McPherson, Edwards, Illinois

Wow! In the military, you can choose where you want to be stationed. My first choice was Alaska. Boy, did I dream. In 1965, after basic training at Little Korea (Fort Leonard Wood), I was supposed to be trained in medicine, but somehow got transferred to a heavy machinery operator. In this position I learned how to operate cranes. So they sent me to Transport 155 in Cam Rahn Bay. Here I trained in my MOS as a stevedore unloading cargo ships 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for free. Wow, we hated to see a ship go to the depths of the water, as all too often we knew it was a cement ship and the bags had to be manually moved to the crane most of the time. I think one of the most memorable moments was when they were working the night shift one time, when all the guys signed a petition that they didn't eat as well as the day workers. We were reprimanded by the company commander, but the food was much better the next night. The other moment in memory was when we were in Tu Hoi to unload some boats that had some jeeps. After unloading the ships, the jeeps had to be returned to the company's premises. With a group of 20-year-olds who hadn't driven in six months, that wasn't a problem. So we sped down Highway One toward our campus 20 miles away. Our company was next to the South China Sea, so the last mile traveled was an open area of ​​sand and brush, so everyone walked by and had a good day. A jeep fell while attempting to drive through a brushy area and collided with rocks inside. We were never asked to help drive vehicles again. We had a favorite saying: "What will they do, send you to Vietnam."

That experience!

- Jerry A. McQuay, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

I was fortunate to serve my country in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. My mother, Majory, raised three sons in Tyndall, South Dakota, all three of whom entered the Navy after high school. As the eldest son, I joined after my brother Richard got back from naval boot camp and I was so proud of him (not to mention loving his uniform). I joined in July of the same year (1964). My younger brother, Mark, also joined four years later in 1968. After my training in San Diego, my first assignment was at Marine Base EL Toro in Orange County, CA. Then I went to the Hospital Corps school in San Diego. After Corps School I was transferred to the Naval Hospital in Bremerton, WA. From there I went to the Field Medical Service School at Camp Lejeune, NC, where I was certified as a Combat Trained Corpsman (Medical). Not long after, he was treating wounded Marines on I Corps territory in Vietnam. After Vietnam, I spent about two and a half years aboard the USS Piedmont (AD-17), where I reenlisted. I was discharged from the Great Lakes Naval Base, where my son Jamie was born. In total I have given six and a half years and I would be willing to give another six and a half years.

-Clayton Lee Mennis, Farmington, Minnesota

From 1970 to 1971 I served in the Vietnam Military Assistance Command of the Civilian Operations and Rural Development Agency at the Vietnam National Training Center at Vung Tau. Vietnamese rural development teams were trained there to return to the countryside and restore civilian government, health services, paramilitary village defense training, etc. It was a little-known effort that had a tremendous nation-building impact.

US forces won the war in South Vietnam. All combat troops were withdrawn in 1973 under the Paris Peace Accords. In early 1975, the North Vietnamese broke the agreements and invaded the south with conventional forces. The United States did not respond to help the South, and the Republic of South Vietnam fell to the North due to political ineptitude and a national unwillingness to re-engage in the South's defenses.

Thank you for honoring our comrades, especially those who gave their lives for a noble cause we won, and the politicians.

Dave Mikkelson COL (Ret) US Army Finance Corps

-David W. Mikkelson, Indianapolis, IN

(Video) Military & Veteran Discounts | Veterans Benefits | Department of Veterans Affairs | theSITREP

I was a rifleman trained for the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam. I used NM M-14 rifles with ART I precision scopes. At night we used star scopes. The medals I received were a Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, three Army Medals, a Combat Infantry Badge, and an Air Medal. When I got home I tried to lead a normal life, but I was a different person. I married my wife, who deserves credit for supporting me. I started in farming and became a workaholic staying at home most of the time. This is how I dealt with the war. The healing began in 1992. I reached out to my filming partner Howard Kramer from Pennsylvania. It was like the day we left Vietnam. In 1994 I was looking for my shooting instructor in WA. In 1995 I came into contact with Colonel Holaday. We keep in touch with all these people. In 1996 I told my wife: "I have to go back to Vietnam." It was a tough 22 hour flight. About 100 miles after Saigon, I thought, “What am I doing? I have a successful farm business, a wife, and three daughters. Am I throwing it all away? I was scared, but to my surprise, when the plane landed, there were no weapons. The people loved us, they couldn't do enough for us. We visited the area where we served as snipers. It was like the day we left. They are still cultivating the same. They don't hold a grudge against us. I took another shooter friend in 1999. That helped him too. I go to all the vet meetings in Vietnam. I am glad to have served my country. Thanks to my wife, three daughters, three sons-in-law, and my granddaughter for putting up with me.

- Deono D. Miller, Olivet, Dakota del Sur

Although I am considered a Vietnam Veteran based on my military service records, I did not serve in Vietnam. Most of my awards came in a later conflict (Operation Desert Storm) when I flew F-111s towards the end of my USAF piloting career.

- Marshall C. Miller, Piemont, Dakota del Sur

"Christmas Through My Wounded Eyes"

It's Christmas under the full moon of 2004. I see the Vietnam War through my wounded eyes of 1966-1967. This year, however, I wanted to listen to Christmas music again with an open heart and face the PTSD pain of my life...

I have been listening to Star 106.3 every day for the past six weeks. There were new songs that lifted my Christmas spirit, "Last Christmas!" by Wham! and "This Christmas" by Joe, which also touched the heart of the child in my soul...

Der alte Kenny Loggins sang „Let's be like children again“ and „We Celebration Being Home for Christmas“. Amy Grant wärmte mein Herz mit „Joy to the World“ und der Hymne „Hark the Angels’ voices are listen…“.

Natalie Cole gave me her "Adult Christmas Wish", which I haven't asked for since the war, and sang the story of "No More Blue Christmases", which made me have no more bad Christmases with PTSD. ...

There was a Christmas carol from the racy voice of Gloria Estefan who brought me out of the war to her hilarious new fan with an updated version of "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow," and yet you heard how she did it. he sings "I want to see Christmas through your eyes."

I had to grow up and see the world through different shades of doubt with wounded eyes...

I want everything to go back to the way it was before * to be a child again and think that the world was good. I see the rain, you see the rainbow hidden in the clouds, don't be afraid to show your love, won't you show me how...?

Finding my innocence back through my child's heart * I want to learn to believe again, help me find a way, help me to be a child again and think the world is mine. I want to see Christmas, Christmas with my wounded eyes...

A sonnet by Ronald E. Miller, a proud Vietnam Veteran. Full moon, December 26, 2004.

* The last 9 lines, except 'my boy's & my hurt', are lyrics from 'Christmas Through Your Eyes', written by Gloria Esteban and Diane Warren, 1990.

-Ronald E. Miller, Rapid City, South Dakota

He enlisted in 1942 and served 25 years. A severe gunshot wound to the arm in Okinawa caused permanent nerve damage and he took no further action. SMAJ Millette went to Vietnam in January 1968 to serve in the Personnel Services Battalion. He worked at Camp Evans near the DMZ and his duties included reporting to the Pentagon on war casualties. He died in Thua Thien Province and returned home to be buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery. His wife Gertrud is buried with him. The plaque at Vietnam Memorial 52 W, Row 36 is named after him. His children, Harlan Millette and Barbara Cover, live with their families in Pennsylvania and Georgia. SMAJ Millette has received many awards and citations over the years for his service in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. He earned the United Nations National Defense and Service Medals, the Bronze Star, two Army Commendation Medals and three Purple Hearts.

- Harlene Eugen Millette, Duluth, Georgia

In stock until June 4, 1974.

- Jerry B. Mills, Aberdeen, SD

I was in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. During this time, my parents wrote to me and said that people in the farming community were asking why their son was in Vietnam and fighting a political war. They also told me about the men who burned their draft cards and those who went to Canada to stop serving our country. It was very frustrating at the time and I have never forgotten it.

-George C. Moore, Austin, Colorado

In June 1969, my six-person reconnaissance team made contact with the enemy in the central highlands of South Vietnam. I didn't think I would see South Dakota again that day. When I think back to that time in my life, I am constantly reminded of how difficult it was to do a job that few people can do or many people would love to do. I am proud to have served my country in the recognition of the US Marine Corps. I have had some doubts from time to time due to the fact that we never had the full support of the people of the United States as we should have. I like that this state honors those who served in Vietnam. I'm sure the men who left this world prior to this dedication would be honored to see this happen. I know I'm happy about it. Thank you for the memorial for us Vietnam combat veterans.

- Robert H. Moran Jr., White River, Dakota del Sur

I completed 26 years in basic training and I was the oldest in my company; the second youngest was 19 years old. I wondered why and how I got there, but I was proud to serve my country. I feel like our country has done a lot of good for the future of humanity by being there.

- Milton L. Morris, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

Read a funny short story of mine in "Mercy Warriors" by John "Doc" Coombs.

- John G. Mulholland, Sioux Falls, SD

NOTE: I have several photos... worth sharing if interested.

- Donald R. Mundt, Spearfish, South Dakota

In the summer of 1968 B Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry was attacked in a night area near LZ Swinger west of Kontum. The action was particularly violent. My friend Gerry Smith and I saw an enemy mortar tube about 50 yards from us. Gerry grabbed his M79 grenade launcher and fired three shots ten meters from the tube. The fourth round was a direct hit and put the tube out of action. We were packing up to move to a new location when we heard voices coming from a large bush nearby. They looked like North Vietnamese Army troops. They soon started yelling, "Boo G.I., Boo G.I." We didn't know what to do, so Gerry and I set a claymore mine in the direction of the noise. We never heard from them again. The next morning, the Golden Dragon Squad patrolled the area looking for any injured or dead communists. They found three bodies in the brush. These three North Vietnamese soldiers learned the hard way to keep their opinions to themselves.

Especialista 4 James Nagel, Gettysburg, SD

-James Nagel, Gettysburg, SD

MOS: 153.10, Artistic reviewer.

- Dale L. Neely, Nord-Sioux City, SD

On January 1, 1968, I left the United States for Vietnam. My base camp was Dion. I went as a medic, but spent most of my time riding a supply wagon with a shotgun. On September 15, 1968, we received the news that we would be attacked that night. They sent us to burn all the brush outside our camp. I was halfway through the area when the gas exploded and set me on fire. I had second degree burns on almost 40% of my body. I spent over two months in the burn center at Fort Sam, Houston, Texas. I couldn't say goodbye or get directions, but I remember some of the guys. We called our sergeant Crispy Critter, there was Detroit, Moton Son and Detroit Dick Strickland. I would like to hear from someone.

-Leo K. Nelson, Belle Fourche, Dakota del Sur

I was a Master Diver so I have many stories related to diving. I have been involved in many diving related activities around the world and was also a Master Diver under Commander Scott Carpenter in the Sea Lab Safety Investigation Team 2.

- Arthur L. Nelson, leader, S.D.

During my first tour of duty in Vietnam, I served under a distinguished colonel who was a seasoned war veteran. We drove the jeep through dangerous territory with the colonel at the wheel and me with the shotgun. We came under enemy fire, and as bullets whizzed past our heads, he calmly remarked, "Hoss, are those bees I hear?" So scared!

- Maynard L. Nelson, Spearfish, Dakota del Sur

I've had the privilege of developing recognition films for the SR71, as well as U2 and various wrestlers. I have held temporary positions around the world as needed for the aircraft.


- Stanley L. Newman, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

Callsign Vietnam: Danger 24.

-Craig W. Nickisch, Spearfish, Dakota del Sur

I was a counterintelligence agent for MACV Team 36, a Phoenix team dedicated to "neutralizing" the Viet Cong political infrastructure in the Central Highlands. We have done a good job and I am proud of my service. Why do I keep crying?

- Robert S. Nickisch, Sturgis, Dakota del Sur

The US bombardment of enemy troops in Cambodia (particularly in the summer of 1973, when heavy airstrikes (known as Arclight) were used to deter a Khmer Rouge attack on Phnom Penh) gave Lon Nol the reign but did not contain the impulse of the communist forces. . Official US documents list 79,959 sorties of B-52 and F-111 aircraft over the country, dropping a total of 539,129 tons of munitions, about 350 percent of the tonnage (153,000 tons) in the United States. Japan during World War II. Many of the bombs that fell on Cambodia hit relatively uninhabited mountainous or forested areas; However, as declassified US Air Force maps show, others fell on some of the country's most densely populated areas, such as Siemreab province, Kampong Chnang province and the countryside around Phnom Penh. Deaths caused by bombing are extremely difficult to estimate, with figures ranging from 30,000 to 500,000. Regardless of the actual extent of the casualties, the Arclight missions over Cambodia, halted by the US Congress on August 15, 1973, wreaked havoc on the lives of many of the country's villages and, according to some critics, led to Cambodians to the Arms of the Army. Khmer Rouge.

The bombing was by far the most controversial aspect of the American presence in Cambodia. In his book Sideshow, William Shawcross paints a vivid picture of hellish conditions, particularly during the months of January through August 1973, when the Arclight raids were most intense. He claims the bombing helped forge a brutal and stubbornly fanatical Khmer Rouge movement. However, his arguments were disputed by several US officials, including former Ambassador to Cambodia Emory C. Swank and former Commander of the Air Force in Thailand, General John W. Vogt, in an appendix to the second volume. of memories to then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

However, from the Khmer Rouge perspective, the severity of the bombardment was outweighed by the treachery of the North Vietnamese. Cambodian communists refused to participate in the Paris peace talks. When North Vietnam and the United States signed the Paris Peace Accords on January 27, 1973, the bombing of Vietnam and Laos ended. Fighter-bombers and other launched aircraft were diverted to attack Khmer Rouge positions in Cambodia.

Operations New Life and Baby Lift resulted in 773 aircraft transporting South Vietnamese refugees through Guam in 19 days.

-James E. Nobles, Black Hawk, Dakota del Sur

Most of the Vietnamese I met were happy with their family life, even though they had almost nothing. It was good to be a part of the US Army's work building the roads, buildings, and power systems that still help it today.

-Steven J. Ogden, Louisville, Tennessee

In 1970 he was hitchhiking in a helicopter between fire stations northwest of Saigon. To my surprise, the door gunner had "Wall Drug" written on the back of his helmet. I never got a chance to talk to him and always wondered who he was.

- David R. Ohlen, Rapid City, South Dakota

200th Artillery Division, 52nd Artillery Group

I was born in Timber Lake, SD and graduated from Timber Lake High School in 1959. My parents retired from the farm and moved to El Paso, Texas in the fall. I enlisted in the US Army in September 1961 and graduated from the Nike Hercules Guided Missile School (OGMS Redstone Arsenal, Alabama) in August 1962.

Transferred to direct support 200th Artillery Division and assigned to 52nd Artillery Group Nike Hercules, Fort Bliss, Texas. The 52 was a 72 hour STRAC warning kit. However, when the "Bay of Pigs" incident occurred in 1962 and they decided we should go to Florida to protect Miami from Castro, it took a few weeks to load the A, C and D batteries into the boxcars and go to Florida. . . Our B Battery landed on Johnson Island where they launched and tested some rockets. They joined us in Florida at Homestead, AFB. We set up Battery C in a cow pasture in north Miami and Battery D on the west side, in the middle of a ten-square-mile tomato field. Batteries A and B were located south of the city of Homestead, which was south of Miami in the Everglades. A total of 72 pitchers were ready and waiting for Castro.

In 1964 direct artillery support number 200 was deactivated and our functions were assumed by officers. I ended up being the last man of the 200 to leave in May of 1965 when I was discharged from the Army. The 52nd Artillery operated until the early 1970s and then was sent back to Fort Bliss, TX.

- Robert J. O'Leary, Brush Prairie, Washington

Many Vietnam era veterans served in Thailand. There is a good book on all the units that served on the bases built in Thailand. It is titled The Secret Vietnam War: The United States Air Force in Thailand 1961-1975 and can be found at There are many photos and stories in the book. My squadron, the 45th TRS, is mentioned in the first part of the book when we were at Don Muang Airport on the Able Mable Project in November and December of 1961.

- Leland G. Olson, Arlington, SD

He served on DD845 USS Bausell from January 1970 to May 1973. He was in the combat zone for over 20 months and the ship fired over 15,000 rounds. The ship was struck amidships while she was on patrol off the North Vietnamese coast. The Mighty "B", as she was nicknamed, had to be removed from the gun line and shipped to the Philippines for repairs. Repairs were completed and Mighty "B" was back in the line of fire, performing her assigned duties. She is now found at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, and she was used for target practice after she was discharged.

-Larry A. Olson, Brandon, SD

I remember volunteering for the draft because I knew sooner or later I would get caught. I was just a young farmer and didn't know much about the world outside of South Dakota. The army picked me up in a hurry! I believe that all young men should serve in the military for the discipline and training they provide. I was employed at our headquarters in Germany and I remember counting the casualties every day in the "morning reports" that came to our office from the local units fighting on the front lines. It was humbling to know that so many men were willing to give their lives for our country. If I could do it again, I would not hesitate to apply in my country.

- Dennis M. Olson, Mina, Dakota del Sur

Twelve years of active service. He served in the Navy from 1967 to 1971, in the Army from 1981 to 1986, and in the Navy from 1988 to 1991.

- Jesse D. Olson, Mitchell, SD

Thank You Note: On your transfer to the Retired Reserve after more than 24 years of service to your country as a Navy personnel, congratulations on an outstanding job! You enlisted on active duty in the Naval Reserve on October 31, 1956. After your discharge from active duty, you returned to the Naval Reserve on December 11, 1976. You and your family should be proud of your accomplishments in your service to the nation. On behalf of myself, her shipmates, and the Navy, I wish you good winds and head seas. Commander J. M. Nugent, Naval Reserve Center Sioux Falls, SD. March 11, 1995.

- Clarence Baxte Olson, Oneida, SD

I joined the Marine Corps three months after my 17th birthday. I spent a year in California with the 5th Marine Division. I was sent to Vietnam shortly after my 18th birthday with the rank of L/CPL. They sent me to the 1st Corps area near the DMZ. I went to Quang Tri, then Dong Ha, Cam Lo, then LZ Stud and Vandergrift Battle Base. In 1970 I returned home to Sioux Falls. After seeing the family and my girlfriend for a bit, my future father-in-law said, “We're going to the VFW. I was honored. (He had a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart from Italy in World War II.) We drove to the VFW, me in my Marine Corps uniform and him limping. We went in and he ordered two whiskey Cokes. He toasted me with his glass and I could see tears in his eyes. He said, "Damn, glad to see you home. Back then, some drunk jerk at the bar asked me if I was a 'baby killer or a drug addict'. 'You're all baby killers and drug addicts,'" he said. The bartender wanted to stay out of trouble and asked me how old I was. When I answered "19", he poured me a drink and told me to go away because I was underage in South Dakota. We walked and drove home and sat in the my father-in-law's garage drinking my "Welcome Home" drink The lookalike thank you gene Not a day goes by that I don't think of the Marine Corps, Vietnam and a "Grateful Nation"!

- Calvin F. Olson, Rapid City, SD

I was 19 years old when I came to Vietnam. I was lucky to have a fan, a mosquito net for my bed and a cooler for my drink. The food was good! We had a shower that we could use at any time. I never got into drugs because I wanted to go home. As military police, almost everyone hated us. When he was on patrol in a jeep, he would always try to catch the soldiers he saw walking around with large backpacks. When he was on guard at a gate, he would go through the security perimeter and find all the other troops to show them he wasn't asking for trouble. These troops would ask me if he was "cool" and I would say that he was the "Iceman". It meant that they could trust me as another soldier. I saw how many soldiers destroyed their lives there. If I look back after more than 30 years, I would say that it was worth it to be there. We have shown many Vietnamese that there is a better life, but the price has been high for some; I was very happy. I myself created part of this happiness. I would love to go back to Vietnam to see how it is today.

-David R. Osbeck, Brookings, Dakota del Sur

Almost daily I am reminded of that fateful day in February 1965 when our base was infiltrated by Viet Cong engineers and simultaneously hit by mortar fire. 23 of my companions were KIA. These and other memories make me wonder why some children were killed so young and some of us survived to be grandparents. I know they will be with us in spirit on dedication day.

-Larry V. Ottoson, Brandon, Dakota del Sur

It was my youth when I found out about my great-grandparents who served in the Civil War. Wounded at Gettysburg, two lost in Confederate POW camps. My great-uncle served during World War II and had lifelong nightmares after seeing action during the Battle of the Bulge. How was he not going to serve when my resignation came? I am and always will be an American and my family means the world to me. It is important for them to live in a country that gives them the freedom to pursue whatever their ambitions entail. There is no bigger or more compassionate country. I don't feel guilty for serving my country. My only wish is to have youth and health so that I can serve again. I am an American and I am proud to be a veteran.

-Steven Lynn Overby, Douglas, Wyoming

Total years active and reserve: seven years and 11 months. Deputy Squad Leader in Basic Training 3rd Battalion 4th CST Bde, USATC, Infantry Fort Ord, CA. The Army discharged Specialist Four USAR on July 20, 1978. He recovered after six years and was discharged on August 31, 1978 as a sergeant in the 6th US Army. Certificate of Appreciation: Rollin R. Page Sr. The people of this nation will be forever grateful for your service during the Cold War period (September 2, 1945 - December 26, 1991) in promoting peace and stability in this nation. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield. RR Rollin Page Sr., AMVETS CFO, VFW Post 9565, 11700 Wadsworth Blvd, Broomfield, CO 80020

-Rollin R. Page, Westminster, CO


- Timothy John Parker, Agenturdorf, Dakota del Sur

I was stationed at NAS Miramar with the F4 Fighter Squadron and was responsible for training the pilots to fly the F4 Phantom jets. I was in the aerospace weapons department, in charge of the bombs and rockets launched from the phantom jet. Radar pilots and officers came to our squadron to learn how to fly the system. The bombs were 580 pound Mark 2 general purpose bombs, Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles, and Sparrow radar-guided missiles.

-Douglas R. Parker, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

I am submitting the names of friends from South Dakota who lost their lives in Vietnam. David Morehouse and Darrell Hartman (high school friends), Vern Harris (college roommates), and Dennis Stockwell, a friend. You are in my thoughts forever and we will meet again.

- Gary D. Parry, Canistota, SD

I became the designated maintenance test pilot for the helicopter company. One day in June 1964, after our company had led Vietnamese troops into an area controlled by the enemy, a terrible firefight broke out. Our 3rd Armored Boat Platoon (named Cobra) needed a pilot to fill one of the seats in a helicopter that was preparing for combat. They tried to radio me while I was on a test flight and couldn't find the radio and frequency we were using. They then went to one of the "smart" ship's platoon officers and found 1/Lt James (Paige) Wright (Custer, SD). He boarded the plane which was shot down within an hour, killing him and the other pilot. Jim and I did SDSM&T and after flight school we flew the 114 at Vihn Long together. He was my connection to a family life on the other side of the world. What a loss, and he took "my place" on this flight!

—Walter D. Paulsen, The Villages, Florida

From Long Beach, California, to the port of Haiphong in a US Navy wooden minesweeper sailing at nine knots, that's 48 days at sea.

- Patrick D. Penney, Sioux Falls, SD

No story, but my daughter died at the hands of Agent Orange and I was injured three times, but isn't it because of my disability?

-Raul M. Perez, Fresno, CA

I cannot classify my career in this area. I was drafted after graduating from Vivian High School in 1968 and reported for duty on February 24, 1970. I underwent basic training at Fort Lewis, WA, advanced training at Fort Ben Harrison, IN, and then returned to Fort Lewis, WA to be shipped to Vietnam. I served in G-5 PsyOp for a year, handing out flyers and doing public address broadcasts. I have been active ever since. Since then I have served in every conflict. I will retire on April 30, 2006 after 36 years of active military service. I would not change anything. It was a great trip and I enjoyed everything.

-Ronald W. Peterman, Riverview, Florida

Toby was sent to Cameron Bay, but because he was top of his class in pole climbing, he was sent to the antenna maintenance school at Shepherd AFB and was based in Germany and Turkey.

- Henry T. Peters, Sturgis, Dakota del Sur

I was an adviser to the RVNAF headquarters in Saigon and made numerous trips throughout the country. The constant impressions on my mind are the intense heat and humidity (98%) for most of the year, the kindness and keen intellect of the people, the sheer wealth and beauty of the country, and the utter futility of the conflict. Our military could go anywhere (if they asked us, we would take Hanoi), but it was the wrong war in the wrong place, and we knew the American public would no longer support it in 1969. I regret the lasting impression most Americans is that we lost the war. . Yes, we, the United States, have given up. Our armed forces did not lose, but politically they had to withdraw from the battlefield. Maybe for the better, since we shouldn't have gone there knowing that the Vietnamese would not allow China to expand into their country. So much for the "Ripple Effect", our rationale for going there in the first place!

- Berwyn L. Platz, Condé, SD

No history but proud to serve during the unpopular war. I'm glad the returning veterans are now getting the treatment they deserve.

- Don A. Porter, Sioux Falls, SD

I enlisted in the Navy under the 120-day delayed enlistment program. Four of my colleagues and I went to recruiters on the same day, and I was the only one who chose the Navy. The others went to the army and the air force. I view my time in the Navy as a true coming of age experience. I feel lucky to have gotten the type of work and jobs that I did. I really enjoyed the trip, especially on 2 WestPac cruises. It was great to see so much of the world; Most of these places were very nice with warm temperatures and therefore not difficult to bear. I have great respect for the young men and women who have served in the most dangerous areas and been injured or killed. This really brings me to the point that "freedom is not free". I try to attend the funeral services and parades in my hometown of Dell Rapids every year when I can as it makes me humble and grateful for all who made the sacrifices we left behind. Plus, I'm even more grateful for the freedoms we have in this country for the veterans who didn't come home.

A highlight of my career (which I only realized after my discharge) was being only 100 miles from where my father had fought a battle in the Philippines on the island of Luzon. I learned more about all of this when I was in college and interviewed him for a World History article about his experiences in World War II. He surprised me a lot and I felt that he gave us something in common. I was the only one of his three children who did military service and I was his first child. He and my mother set great examples for us children through their service and dedication at the American Legion Post in Dell Rapids. They were both so active and involved in this organization that I'm not sure it would work without them. Both have more than 50 years of commitment each. With that example set, I had no doubt that he would serve in the military and I don't regret enlisting at that time. It was a scary time for many of us, kids fresh out of high school in the 1970s, and conscription affected many of us who hadn't chosen to go to college. I am happy with my choice and the end result. I am proud to be a Vietnam era veteran and always will be.

- Burdette J. Posey, Bruce, SD

I boarded the USS Forrestal in the Philippines in June 1967 and joined VA 65. We arrived at Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin on July 14, 1967. then on July 29 disaster struck when an inferno ripped through the deck Forrestal flight. My worst memories were realizing how many people died that day and the destruction all over the ship. I still have pages from Life magazine covering the disaster and Forrestal's 1967 cruise book.

- Arden A. Price, Britton, Dakota del Sur

I served in Vietnam and I didn't really want to go, but I went to serve my country, which my father did in World War II. The experiences I had there will stay with me for the rest of my life, some good and some bad. After all these years I still remember all the good friends I made there. Even if we don't keep in touch, I'll never forget his faces. I have two brothers who also served during the Vietnam era but did not serve in Vietnam. I am very proud that (back then) they fulfilled their military obligation. I don't want to go into details (conflict), but I wanted you to know that I am proud to serve. Thank you,

-Anthony E. Rangel, Miller, SD

I will always remember when our MAC wing was involved in airlifting refugees from Vietnam to the US and how a C-141 was needed to transport everything from Nixon to California.

-David B. Ransford, McCook Lake, Dakota del Sur

I was elected in 1969 by Local Council No. 45 Lake Andes, S.D. move. I enlisted in the USAF, served exactly four years, and was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant.

-Carl J. Remme, Carson City, Nevada

He served in Vietnam from August 17, 1969 to August 17, 1970. MOS: 05H (Morse code intercept).

-William F. Renneker, Brookings, SD

I came from Fort Campbell, KY with my 101st unit. I arrived in Vietnam in late November/early December 1967. The highlight of the season was the Bob Hope Christmas show. We traveled north until we were operating near the DMZ in the far north of the country. I was wounded in operations in the Ashaw Valley on April 5th. I ended up being evacuated home via the Philippines, Japan, Travis Air Force Base, and Fitzsimmons Hospital in Denver. Finally, after treatment and recovery, I was billeted at Fort Reilly, Kansas, until discharged on January 12, 1970.

- Robert A. Rennolet, Menno, SD

I enlisted in the Army on July 28, 1961 in Sioux Falls. I trained as a typist and traveled around Korea for 13 months. Upon my return to the US, I served with the Army Security Agency at Fort Hauchuca, Arizona, and obtained top secret/crypto security clearance. I returned to Sisseton and went to college at Northern State University. I enlisted in the United States Navy from Chicago on November 16, 1965 and attended boot camp and Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes. From there I went to Quantico Naval Hospital and near Camp Lejuene to the Field Medical School. I was assigned to the 1st Marine Division - Vietnam. On the way to Vietnam I ran into a troop leader who had served on the USS Renville (an aircraft carrier with my last name). He asked me if he wanted to stay in Okinawa or go to Japan. I took the opportunity to go to Japan (Iwakuna Marine Corps Air Station). I could easily have stayed out of the war. I stayed there for a few months and because I was young and stupid I asked to go to Vietnam. I was in Vietnam for a few months and they needed a doctor to go back to Japan. Surprisingly, no corpsman volunteered, so I raised my hand and was sent back to Iwakuni. My recruitment was almost over and since I had no money saved I volunteered again to go back to Vietnam where I was able to save some money and finish my 13 month tour. I got fired from Treasure Island. Five months later, my brother, Arden Renville, who was a medic in the 1st Infantry Division, was killed in action. I always thought that the troop leader who served on the USS Renville and the two parallel voyages to Japan probably saved my life.

- Grady W. Renville, Sisseton, SD

No story, but I would like to thank everyone who served in Thailand and Southeast Asia for serving so diligently and tirelessly to support those who are serving in Vietnam.

-Dennis W. Reuss, Denver,

I was with the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Infantry Division from 1966-1967. I was a sergeant. The unit's mission was to build bridges, airstrips, and highways. We didn't get a lot of small arms fire. We mainly received artillery and mortar fire. One night we were attacked around 7:00 p.m. m., so my four cooks and I ran to the bunker. When we came out about half an hour later, we saw where our dining tent had been hit and everything had been blown up. So I sent in C rations and we ate that for three days until I could get new equipment.

-Dwaine F. Reuss, Titusville, Florida

Our Auto-Track radar units have been deployed to Vietnam to act as forward guidance for B-52s on their bombing runs. So our guys were in trailers in forward positions in the jungle with very little ground security. Not all of us went to Vietnam, but for those who did, the casualty rate was very high. I have lost many good friends.

- Leo T. Reynolds, Sioux Falls, SD

I arrived at Korat RTAFB, Thailand in August 1975. My first impression was the smell, the intense heat and humidity, and the huge "walls" of the monsoon rains. You couldn't see across the road during a monsoon rain. I was a doctor, and even though the war ended in May, Hospital 388 (a series of attached trailers) continued to see many casualties: venomous snake bites, machete attacks, gunshot wounds, etc. the stench of blood, X-ray film, and jungle as we worked feverishly to create a Captain who had six gunshot wounds, two to the head, some to the chest and abdomen, and had his second cardiac arrest on the table x-rays while trying to stabilize him for an emergency medical evacuation to Clark AB in the Philippines. I heard he did it. I remember many late-night emergency blood drives, and as we know, heroin was a problem in Southeast Asia. I can still see young Americans behaving like chimpanzees in the locked cells of our heroin detox center. Physician assistants' shifts were 12 hours a day, 12 hours off, seven days a week. I am grateful to the USO for being there and staying open all night. I took my uniform off after my Freedom Bird dropped me off at Travis AFB because I also saw how the local "bad" soldiers were greeted. Thanks for listening and thanks for the opportunity. Don Rickard, Mankato, MN. South Shore, SD Class 1971. Introduced in Milwaukee, WI 1972.

-Donald W. Rickard, North Mankato, Minnesota

The reality of this hopeless conflict hit me as I watched a planeload of KIDS bound for Vietnam wearing helmets two sizes too big and buying jewelry at a gift shop in Okinawa to send home. That's when I realized we were sacrificing these guys for politicians for politicians in the US and South Vietnam.

-Robert F. Riggio, Rapid City, South Dakota

I served in the First Marine Expeditionary Force, called up by President Johnson on March 8, 1965. We had been on standby for three days when the official call came. We then drove 6x trucks from the northern part of Okinawa to the southern tip of the island and flew out of Naha Air Base. We were informed that the Vietcong (VC) diehards were preparing to attack the DaNang airbase and our mission was to defend and hold the airfield. As we approached DaNang, we flew over Monkey Mountain, a VC stronghold, and our C-130 was fired on. When we landed, we saw that the wings of our plane felt like Swiss cheese, but the lower armor protected us. This further reinforced why we were there. There was a lot of speculation and condemnation about the political reasons we were there, but Marines were only there for military and humanitarian reasons. And we have seen many of the abuses and cruelty inflicted on the local population by the VC. Our unit was unique because we were the first official unit deployed there and almost all of us were together for about three years before going to Vietnam. We went through boot camp, infantry training, and a year with the 7th Marines at Camp Pendleton. Our battalion was like a small town; we knew everyone in our unit. When someone was hurt or died, he was like a brother and that pain is still with us today. After we were in Vietnam for about a month, someone from "Charlie Company" stepped on a French land mine, and about a month later, our battalion's ammunition dump blew up. After staying at the airbase for about three months, we were transferred to the hills overlooking the airbase and eventually moved into the jungle, doing day patrols and night outposts.

- Jones W. Robert, Brookings, Dakota del Sur

You know we thought we were doing the right thing. Heck, we were created to listen, honor and obey. What we got when we got home I will never forget. Luckily, the time has come to put it to rest. Thank you anyway.

-Donald E. Roberts, Inwood, IA

Stories from Vietnam... I toured Vietnam twice (1968-1970), mainly in Chu Chi, South Vietnam. I have many stories, but I prefer to keep them to myself. I can say that my brothers and I were not covered by any shadow during my stay in Vietnam; We knew how much people at home despised us for doing our patriotic duty, and we tried to focus on what we should be doing there. We were more than brothers because we had to trust each other every day. I remember the day I took my "freedom bird" home. It was a great loss for me to leave what I considered mine, my friends, knowing that I would probably never see them again. But I left like many before me. I felt like time stood still as we processed the breakup in Oakland, California. We ate our last meals in the army and left. They forced us to leave the base in uniform. Our departure was rude, hurtful and hateful, but I tried to put it all behind me. On my flight home I wasn't too surprised that the only kind word I received was from the woman sitting next to me thanking me for the service, but then again, she was from Canada. The next insult came when they pardoned all the traitors who had rushed to Canada to escape conscription. My greatest gift of ministry in Vietnam was an almost unrelenting anger that was within me at all times. PVSS was called and the military was kind enough to treat me to therapy for six months and while it did help a little with my anger, it had already cost me a marriage and the respect of my children. I have now remarried and, to my wife's credit, she has the patience of a saint. Would I do it all over again? Instantly. I felt that we were doing the right thing and that it was my duty. Now I hear on TV all the heroes who died in Iraq... Don't get me wrong, all the guys there deserve the respect and gratitude of this country! But if all our fallen soldiers are heroes, doesn't that detract from those who were true heroes? I greet all those who have followed me and will follow in my footsteps.

- Victor L. Robertson, Brandt, SD

I served as a foot soldier for nine months, most of the time there on foot patrol. I was wounded in the 1968 Tet Offensive. I was rushed from the field to Fitzsimmons Hospital in Denver in 11 days with shrapnel wounds to my left hip from a B-40 missile. I spent over a year in the hospital recovering from a fractured left femur. I was lucky to have an excellent recovery. I am very happy to be alive at home and to be able to participate in this celebration. Luckily I have a motel reservation.

- John E. Roers, Sioux Falls, SD

While my ship was in Subic Bay, Philippines, four other ships were also in port resting and recuperating. I knew some friends from my hometown (Redfield) were on those boats as well. There were six of us in the port at the same time and the five of us found each other. Needless to say, we got up just before the end of the night. We never imagined that so many members of the small Redfield community would be so far from home.

-William H. Rose, Colorado Springs, Colorado

In December 1972, our base at Udorn, Thailand flew F-4E missile decks for B-52s during Operation Linebacker II. The pilots reported that they had to fly sideways to pass SAM missiles the size of telephone poles. Several F-4s were dropped from the skies over Laos. After five days of the ten-day Christmas blitz, they were out of Sams and Migs. This continuous bombardment (fighters during the day and more than 100 B-52s at night) also produced the first ace of the war: the Captain. Rich. I remember the winning roll at the airline. On one mission, we carried 2,000-pound laser-guided bombs to hit the perimeter of a POW camp, hoping some might escape. Best of all, the Paris Peace Accords and POWs went home!

- Rodney M. Satrang, Mitchell, SD

He graduated from Edgemont High School in 1958. He attended the South Dakota School of Mines for one year. He joined the US Air Force Academy in 1959 and graduated in 1963. He first served at Spangdahlam AB, Germany as an F-105 Bomb Commander. F-105 combat tour at Korat RTAFB, Thailand, December 1966 to July 1967. 100 combat sorties in North Vietnam and 15 combat sorties in Laos. F-105 Flight Instructor and Flight Examiner at McConnell AFB, KS, 1967-1971. He resigned from the commission in June 1971 and entered the University of South Dakota School of Medicine.

-Steven J. Savonen, Lamar, Colorado

Army Nurse Corps, Vietnam, 1968-1969... An experience I approached with great reluctance and ambivalence. How ironic that the experience I feared and feared the most turned out to be one of the most rewarding, rewarding, and rewarding experiences of my personal and professional life, an experience I am proud of. Now I can say "proud"; However, many years after returning from Vietnam, it was very difficult to talk about being a part of the unpopular war. People were too busy protesting the war to listen or care what the veterans thought. The 22 hour flight to Vietnam is a bit confusing for me. Women were, of course, a minority and I felt a bit isolated when I realized that, with around 200 young men, I was the only woman on the flight. I will never forget the utter silence as we approached and landed at the Bein Hoa airbase. As a doctor, I felt pretty safe in a war zone, but I wondered how many of us would be back a year from now? Reality hit us as we were quickly towed from the plane to the buses in the dead of night. The windows were closed and the armored guards told us what to do if we were attacked, as we had been a few weeks before. The bus was driving with no lights, almost a total blackout. My first few days on duty in the intensive care unit recovery room were physically and mentally exhausting. I soon learned a painful new appreciation of what our young people were exposed to. Our shifts were 12-hour days, six days a week, and since we had a shortage of nurses, we were heavily reliant on our first responders. It was not uncommon for 20 wounded to be airlifted in by helicopter at the same time. The noise from the helicopters was constant day and night. At Hospital Evacuation 93 we had daily evacuation flights. We treat it immediately and ship it to the United States as soon as possible. Long Binh was the target of the Tet offensive that year. For three nights we were in total blackout as the hospital prepared for triage - the emergency situation of triage and treating patients. I was in the area to treat minor injuries and send the person back to the field. It was a terrifying moment. There were three evacuation flights a day, with a constant turnover of patients. One morning while administering medication to a patient, I noticed a picture on the table next to him. It was an action scene with guys running towards the bunker, obviously under fire. He said, "That's the last photo I'll take." Yes, he often stopped to take a photo and the result was that his arms were amputated. My best memories of Vietnam are the friendships and the special closeness with my fellow Americans. The hardest part was watching these young men die while trying to keep them alive.

- Bonnie M. Saxton, Centenario, CO

As an instructor, I trained Green Berets for three years, among other things. As a member of the country's Special Forces A-Team, I worked with many of the same people I had trained. After earning the Army Specialist Infantry Badge with the 1st Kav. Division I he was drafted into the special forces where I spent the rest of my service. During the Tet Offensive in 1968 I was wounded and lost a leg and after my recovery I returned to the special forces as an instructor and operations until I retired. As an instructor in the SFTG, I received the Army Commendation Medal.

-Lawrence W. Schmidt, Huron, Dakota del Sur

I served on the Navy Swifts on the rivers of Vietnam and was wounded. Naval Special Warfare was SEAL Teams and Swift Boats. We got the rivers and canals to prevent the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army from taking control of the waterways to transport weapons, ammunition and troops. Rivers were a dangerous place to operate and our casualties were heavy. I am still in contact with the men I served with and we are a very close group. In a unit with almost 90% wounded or KIA, they were easy to board. I am very proud to have been chosen to serve in these small units, on these ships, and with these men.

- Wesley J. Schneider, Rapid City, SD

After high school in New Effington, SD, I enlisted in the US Army. I went to Fort Rucker and graduated from Multi Eng Aircraft School. The next stop was Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I was assigned to Caribou 62-4149 as an assistant crew chief. On June 22 we left east for Vietnam with our 18 aircraft. We arrived in Saigon on July 4, 1963. I spent my first six months in Hue and the last six months in Vung Tau. In March of 1964 I was assigned as Crew Chief on Caribou 61-2593. On May 4, another crew chief wanted to transfer with me to get there earlier, so I did. The next day I took his crew and his plane and he took my crew and plane. Around 10 a.m. We heard from my plane that there was a fire. They crashed, killing all 15 people on the plane. Because he wants to transfer with me, I'm here, and his name and my team's name are on the wall. This plane crash was the first major US military air disaster in Vietnam. I am now an Air Soldier with the AAHF and once again the crew chief for Caribou 62-4149. I will be in Pierre in September with Caribou 62-4149. It will be my honor to show Bou 49 to the vets in my home state.

- Robert G. Schrader, Kindred, North Dakota

My career began in the US Navy, where I was discharged in 1960. Then, in February of 1962, I enlisted in the South Dakota Air Guard. Until January 18, 1988, I was a full-time Air Guard Technician as a Sergeant in the US Air Force at 29 years and nine months full time. During my time in the US Navy, I received the Navy Good Conduct Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and many others.

- Alvin H. A. Schroeder, Tee, SD

I was lucky to serve early in the war (I was in Vietnam from September 1965 to February 1967) before public opinion turned against me. It never occurred to anyone I knew there to question our mission. That was not our job. Our country calls us to serve, and we serve with honor. I have been a crew chief/gunner at Huey Helicopters and saw my part in executing the various missions we undertook. In the year and a half that I was there I never saw drugs or met anyone who used drugs. There was no time for that. When we weren't flying, we were busy with construction projects at our home base, which when we arrived was an abandoned WWII Japanese airfield. My service there is a chapter of my life that I will not detail, but I am proud to have had the opportunity to minister with many brave young men of all races who proudly did what they were called to do. Not all of them returned alive. By the grace of God, I never got seriously hurt.

I grew up on a farm near Corona, SD, Roberts County and was drafted in February 1965. I was working in Denver, CO at the time, so I enlisted there to secure an aeronautical MOS with the Army. I want to thank the state of South Dakota for thinking of us and I would be honored to be a part of this event.

-Duane E. Schulte, Longmont, Colorado

I spent my first three months in the country as a BG field worker. Burton, HQ of 3D BDE Set, 1st Cavalry Division [Airmobile]. Every day we flew into the theater of operations and visited various units in the bush or on fire bases. Invariably, I found an SDSU grad serving in the RVN at the same time. General Burton was saying, "John, that's not possible. There aren't many people in South Dakota." I had to explain that ROTC was mandatory back then and many men with advanced ROTC went on and received commissions.

-John T. Schultz, Brookings, SD

Getting home didn't seem fast enough.

- Joseph B. Schumacher, Madison, South Dakota

Fresh out of high school, I turned 18 in June 1969. I volunteered for military service and went to Fort Lewis, Washington for infantry training in July. I flew to Vietnam on December 1st and met 20 great guys at Camp Evans. We moved to the country and we walked, walked, walked every day. "I was only 110 pounds, but I never gained a pound in 1970!"

The war seemed to be fought at night! Land mines and booby traps were our worst enemies. We always worried when the helicopters came to take a dozen people on an "Eagle Flight" because some sensor would show movement in a forest. On March 7, 1970, we were near Hue Point and Sg. McCarthy stepped on a Bounce Betty, killing it and injuring three of us. We were taken to the USS Hope hospital ship that was stationed in the Gulf of Tonkin. Many children lost their legs in this war.

The land was beautiful, with sandy plains, rolling hills, mountains, and swamps. The local population seemed very accepting of our presence; they just wanted to be left alone. Returning home was another sad and lonely experience. No one seemed to care where you've been for the last year. My favorite quote seemed to be that I was on "my senior year trip" to Southeast Asia. Many good friends were made in Vietnam, some of us are still in contact with each other. I can't believe I still love camping after all this!

- Larry N. Schuster, Eden, South Dakota

The main task was to rebuild roads in Vietnam and clear mines along those roads.

- Richard R. Schwanke, Sioux Falls, SD

I worked in the Evacuation 95 emergency room in DaNang, where I saw more than anyone should see, both injured and casualties. Some were slightly injured, some guys were torn in half. We've covered everything from junkies to clapping dudes. During the year that I was there, I met several people that I knew from home or from elementary school. It is a small world. I got hard real quick and didn't let some of the things I saw get to me. Where I'm from we didn't know anything about drugs, and thank God I found out from people who took them. When I saw that, I never wanted to use them again. Vietnam was a place where you grew up very fast. I made good friends and we promised to see each other when we got home, but I didn't see one until later in life. My time in service and in Vietnam is time I wouldn't trade for anything. I am very proud to be a Vietnam Veteran and to have spent time there. I don't think I would be the person I am today without the time I spent in the military.

A few years ago, the mobile wall came to our city. I went to check it out but the first two times on the trail I had to turn around and wait to see if I had the courage to check it out. I got there and when I entered the field where she was she hit me like a big wave when I realized why I was afraid to see her. I realized that I had seen some of these brave men die and did not know who they were or where they came from. Seeing the wall at half the size is amazing and I can't imagine what it feels like to see the real wall. I have been very lucky in life. I have a very good wife, nine very good children and ten grandchildren and a very good job and a very good house. I have much more than I deserve. Thanks to everyone who was part of this time.

- Lloyd C. Schweigert, Sioux City, IA

I joined the Army in 1965 after deciding not to return to the USD and losing my semester stint. I always wanted to learn to fly and was lucky enough to be accepted into the Assurance Office Candidate Program to train in helicopters. After graduating from Army Flight School in December 1966, I was assigned to the 498th Medical Company (Air Ambulance), and reported for duty in Vietnam in January 1967. I flew as a "Dust Off" pilot under the callsign "Dust Remover 47". . I served ten months of a 12-month tour in the II Corps mainly in the Bien Hoa area supporting US, Korean and Vietnamese troops in far north Chu Lai and south Nha Trang. During those ten months I flew 600 combat hours and evacuated 1,875 patients. The reason I only served ten months of the 12-month trip was the sudden death of my mother in late November 1967, which required a 30-day emergency leave of absence, leaving me less than 30 days to serve in the country if he came back. Therefore, I received orders for my next office. During this 30-day vacation, I was lucky enough to be reunited with my family, including my newborn son who arrived in September. At Christmas 1967 we had a visitor at my wife's parents' farm east of Flandreau. A young man heard that I was home and came looking for me. He said, "Gary, I want to personally thank you for evacuating me in Vietnam." As I recall, he was recounting how he was on patrol and a booby trap went off, filling one or both of his legs with shrapnel. They called an EMT, and as they loaded his stretcher into the helicopter, he looked up and saw my name on my helmet. He said that he was in too much pain to say anything at the time and now that we were both home he came to me. We compared the location and dates of the action and discovered that I was in the area at the time and didn't know any other Dust Off drivers with the same last name, so it must have been me. This young man had worked for Terrace Park Dairy while he was in school, delivering milk to my in-laws' farm. He and I knew each other, but we didn't know each other well, but we were both kids from South Dakota. I've often wondered how likely it is that two SD men would find themselves in a combat area like this. I remember his name and wonder if he'll be at Pierre's for the party, since I haven't seen him since Christmas 1967.

- Gary L. Scofield, Watertown, SD

I was in the Infantry in Vietnam for 12 months in the 3rd Platoon of Charlie Company. We spend most of our time in Ashaw Valley and LZ Sally. John Perkins from Georgia was my platoon sergeant. and we became good friends. We have had several meetings in the South and also here on our farm in Scotland, South Dakota. I'm still in contact with him and others I met in Vietnam... like Freddie McLendon, Steve Frojen, Wayne Holden, Jerry Palmer, David Strand, John Sandhoefner, Rudy Gonzalas, Don Scribner, Don Lewis. If anyone knows names call me....

- Joseph W. Sedla, Escocia, SD

Note: Additional active tour from November 12, 1987 to September 30, 1989, Naval Reserve Recruiting Command, Great Lakes, IL.

- Margaret A. Seljeskog, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

He was in Asp1 at Hill 327 in April 1969 when the ammunition dump exploded.

-Ronald W. Selken, Sioux Falls, SD

He entered the ministry and attended an indoctrination course in Davisville, RI for four weeks. Gulfport, Mississippi request to reopen WWII base for SeeBees. He volunteered for the Advance group in Vietnam and left on December 29, 1966. He volunteered for departments that build auxiliary buildings for the Army and Marine Corps. He worked with NVA and Vietcong prisoners, building shelters with the help of a 10-year-old interpreter (Go Bah). He became the proud father of a son during the post. He returned to Gulfport, Mississippi and went to Camp LeJune to build a fake Vietnamese village for training purposes.

- Jerald E. Shantz, Pierre, South Dakota

A record label at the time of the introduction was Winner, SD.

-David L. Sharkey, Goldsboro, NC

I grew up on a ranch 20 miles southwest of Gregory, South Dakota, which I still call home to this day. I was selected by Winner, SD. I reported for my physical in Sioux Falls, SD on November 22, 1963, the day of President Kennedy's funeral. As a result, my exam was postponed to the next day. On February 12, 1964, I reported for duty. I completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO and Advanced Infantry Training (A.I.T.) at Fort Riley, KS, where I was assigned to B Company, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Division, also known as "Big Red One". . In June 1965, the entire division, "Equipment and Men", took the train to the West Coast, transferred to the US Gordon and traveled to "Southeast Asia", which happened to be Vietnam. After 19 days, my dizzy companions and I landed in Saigon. The Big Red One was one of the first full divisions in Vietnam. We set up camp (which involved clearing the jungle, building bunkers, and pitching tents) at Bien Hoa, 28 miles north of Saigon. This camp was later named Camp Ranger and became our base of operations. We have seen much of Vietnam from a helicopter, traversing rice fields and through jungle in search and destroy operations.

John E. Sell, originally from Clearfield, SD, and I joined the ministry, owned the same company for our entire ministry, and came home together. A hometown friend, Bill Schueneman, was also on the US Gordon for 17 days when his unit was transferred to Cam Ranh Bay. While my company was securing the roads for the transport of supplies and troops, a caravan, led by Bill, stopped right where I was. It was great meeting up with friends, even in the middle of the war and in a place that was over 17,500 miles from home (since a sign at Camp Ranger indicated the distance between Bien Hoa and Pierre, SD). Well hello.

I am proud to be an American and to have served my country during the Vietnam War. After the service, I realized how lucky I am to be an American and how well we live here in the "Land of the Free."

Thank you South Dakota for this dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial.

-Ronald C. Shattuck, Gregory, Dakota del Sur

On June 6, 1963, just 19 days after my father's death, I enlisted in the SD Army National Guard. I was still in high school and entered IDT on September 9, 1964. I was on active duty for over 181 days at Fort Knox, KY until March 28, 1965. The active duty I was on lost me in its troop movement and no training. So I ended up with over 180 days on active duty. I was honorably discharged June 5, 1969. I was out of service until April 6, 1985 when I re-enlisted with the 235th Sup Co of Rapid City, SD. On September 29, 1985, I was reassigned to Det 2, Belle Fourche, SD as a full-time AGR soldier. I was discharged as SFC STARC HQ SD on January 31, 2005 with an honorable discharge. Thinking I might have had the longest hiatus in SDANG, I returned to active duty. My wife worked at the hospital in Fort Meade, VA for 29 years as a psychiatric nurse and has worked with many Vietnamese vets.

- Robert W. Siedschlaw, Sturgis, Dakota del Sur

I was proud to serve my country and I still believe that we did the right thing in Vietnam and would have won the war had it not been for the negative media reports and all the bad publicity the war would have received. I love this country and I would do anything for it because it is the best country in the world and I am very proud of the men and women who serve this country in Iraq. I feel horrible every night watching the news and seeing all the young men and women being killed or injured in this far away country, but I think a lot of people felt that way when we were in Vietnam. Always Fi, Stephen Siemonsma, USMC, retired.

- Stephen E. Siemonsma, Tee, Dakota del Sur

While serving in the Delta in 1968-1969, I developed a severe rash from which it took several months of treatment to recover. At worst, he really did look like a walking wound. Hence the nickname "scurvy." In later years it was suggested that it was a disease caused by Agent Orange.

- Rollin W. Sieveke, Director, Dakota del Sur

I have more than 400 days TDY to Southeast Asia. Our crew flew several missions over Hanoi, North Vietnam. We were saved by the good hand of God. Some of our B-52s weren't so lucky. May God bless them and their families.

- Donald W. Sievers, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

1968 Vietnam Diary/Journal of SP/5 Larry D. Simon, 195th Assault Helicopter Company, RSVN 1968:

Thursday, March 7, 1968. We flew to the 199th Inf. (Grupo Tortuga) and left food and ammunition. Then head over to FSB Pineapple for a 34 Huey Slick and 12 Huey Gunship Combat Attack in NVA/VC. During the attack, we loaded US WIA soldiers onto my helicopter and took them to the nearby 93rd Evac Med. Certainly not a job for a weak stomach. I felt bad seeing people like me get into my helicopter injured, screaming and dying. I worked two hours to clean all the blood from the deck and the blood that was running down the belly of my plane. Larry D Simon

- Larry D. Simon, Sturgis, Dakota del Sur

Still in service with the SD Air National Guard.

- Roger Lee Montag, Canton, South Dakota

When I arrived at the Dong Ha base, another Marine had a mongoose that his commanding officer allowed him to get rid of since pets were not allowed on the base. I caught him and hid him in our drink until I could get him to a Vietnamese vet for all the necessary injections. I took him to the P.X. and a general entered the P.X. and he said to me: "Marina, don't you know that it is a crime to have a pet on the base?" I said "Yes sir" whereupon he turned to Snoopy (my mongoose) who was sitting on my shoulder and asked why he was wearing dog tags. Snoopy put her arm up to her ear where he licked it and the general said, "What the hell is that thing?" I told him it was a mongoose and he said, "One of those animals that has a cobra, can kill a snake." ". I told him that the name tags were a record of all his photos. He played with Snoopy for a while and then told me to be at P.X. in the morning with Snoopy. I was sure he would be sued in court and Snoopy would be gone However, the General came to the P.X. with a cameraman and photographed the General playing with Snoopy. When he left, he gave me a paper giving me permission to keep Snoopy at the base. Later, the General made me take Snoopy to his office a few times so I could play with him. The General tried to help me get permission to bring Snoopy back to the United States, but a mongoose was not allowed in the United States. Snoopy remained my little boy faithful friend during my five-month stay in Dong Ha.

- Richard J. Slowey, Yankton, South Dakota

The smells of the countryside were so different from the smells of the "country" in which I grew up; they were so sharp. The smell of the Nuc Mom(sp) where the fish oil was collected will never be forgotten. Freedom in Saigon was good and the sight of the beautiful buildings and abject poverty was an eye opener; What a contrast between rich and poor. See how the women sweep the dirt and even the dirt road in front of their houses to collect the last bit of trash. So they burned everything that could be burned to cook their food. The best memories I have are of those I have served with. We were a big target in the country and we had to trust and depend on those we served. What a diverse and large group of men they were. I turned 18 just before I left and I remember how scared I was when we landed in Saigon. I don't think the fear ever went away, it just became a numbness that I've learned to live with. One of the worst days was when I received the letter from home that my grandmother had passed away. I had never felt more alone than that day and there was nothing I could do about it. Chaplin gave me a license from Saigon so he can go to the USO headquarters and call home. The tour wasn't the best time for me, but I'm glad I went.

- Rodney G. Smith, Chester, Dakota del Sur

While in South Vietnam, he was a career advisor to the 7th Motor Transport Battalion. He also participated in jet train patrols.

-Ralph K. Snoozy

Note: Although I enlisted in Seattle, WA, I was born, raised, and educated in Wessington for 12 years and Wessington was my registered place of residence during my military service. After my discharge I returned to SD and worked and married in Huron for two years before moving to Minnesota.

I enrolled in Seattle, WA and did basic training in Fort Ord, CA, then spent nine months at the Cryptograph School in Fort Monmouth, NJ. I worked briefly at Fort Bragg, North Carolina before re-enrolling in Okinawa. In November 1966, after completing my trip to Okinawa, I volunteered for Vietnam.

I was assigned to the 69th Signal Battalion at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. The 69 was in charge of operating communications in the Saigon area. I was responsible for the maintenance of teletypes/cryptographs at the MACV Combat Operations Center.

The food there was repetitively and invariably bad, powdered eggs in the morning and roast beef for lunch and dinner. Since it didn't taste like roast beef, she assumed it was buffalo.

Saigon was a dirty place; Garbage was piling up on the streets and a haze hung over the streets due to congestion on the roads with transportation polluting the air. It was common to see street vendors carrying their wares on a pole slung over their shoulders; the goods attached to each end of the stick. I once saw a mamasan running down the street and accidentally dumping a pot of noodles down the drain. Amazingly, he pulled them out of the gutter and back into the pot.

There were many bosses at MACV, but since our communications center was in a remote location, we rarely met with them. One day, however, I ran into General Westmoreland. We were not inside, we were under a canopy. While I was covered, he wasn't, so the welcome situation was iffy. I followed the saying “when in doubt, say hello” and therefore received a unique salute from the Commander of the US Forces, Vietnam.

I left in November 1967 and flew to Travis AFB and then Pierre where I was met by my father. Having been away for two and a half years, I have never been so happy to set foot in SD again.

Charles Snyder, Apple Valley, MN – Born and raised in Wessington.

-Charles R. Snyder, Apple Valley, Minnesota

I have no stories to tell. What I remember is the warmth of the flight deck during daytime operations and the warm breeze blowing from the flight deck at night, as well as the beautiful sunsets. When I think back, I think of the pilots in our squadron who take off and some of them never come back. It is difficult for many people to imagine what a veteran carries inside, remembering specific people, places or events that happened and still listening today to someone who died as a result of that war. It is a necessary evil to preserve our freedom. If necessary, I would do it again. At least we never forget our POW-MIA. David V. Snyder, Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class, USS Coral Sea. Attack Squadron 82.

-David V. Snyder, Salem, South Dakota

I am proud to have served my country in a "very unpopular war." Regardless of the outcome, "it was what it was," and we all have to move on in life. The real heroes are those who didn't make it home, dead or missing, and those who sustained permanent injuries, physical or mental. It's sad, but there were and are many. I greet each one of you. lloyd sun

- Lloyd W. Sohl, Rapid City, SD

Sent home in November 1968, difficulties

- John F, Solon, Cadoka, South Dakota

I remember standing outside while eating and cold rain falling with every bite. My wife never understood why I didn't like picnics. Thank God I spent most of the year in a safe area where no one shot at me.

- Lyle J. Sorensen, Comfort, Texas

A birthday wish fulfilled

The dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial in South Dakota becomes a birthday wish come true for a man from Freeman, SD. For his 80th birthday, Chester Sorensen of Freeman (a World War II veteran) will want all four of his children to attend the ceremony with him. This marks the first time the five have gotten back together since their mother's funeral in 2002.

During the six years and nine months that they had at least one child in the Army, Chet often had to comfort his wife, Marj. Keith was admitted two months before Tim's release; and Sam was arrested two months before Keith was fired. He always said it was easier to wait for Chet to come back from World War II than to wait for one of his "sons" to be released.

Keith and Sam followed in Chet's footsteps and served in the military. Tim and David were the renegades who joined the Army.

Tim ministered in California, Vietnam, and the Philippines, while Keith spent time in Missouri, Alaska, and Arizona. Sam spent most of his time in Germany with his new girlfriend. David spent his only day in Omaha.

Tim and Sam followed their father's example and became actively involved with Veterans of Foreign Wars. Keith has worked with veterans who serve with the American Legion. He began a full-time career as a Veterans Service Officer in 1978 and continues to do so today.

-Keith A. Sorensen, Newport News, VA

He died on July 25, 1971 in Asardia Lake, MS of complications from accidental drowning during an authorized release.

-Mark Dale Sorenson (deceased)

I was born on May 8, 1948 in Redfield, SD. I lived on a farm near Miranda and studied at Orient and Faulkton. In 1967 I graduated from Faulkton High School.

I didn't know much about the Vietnam War at the time. I remember our class dedicated our yearbook, The Trojan, to those who went above and beyond the call of duty for our country in Vietnam.

He did not know that in 1968 he would receive military service as a birthday present and would serve in the army on May 7 of that year. He did basic training at Fort Lewis, WA, Co E, 3rd Bn, 1st Gde, 4th Platoon. I went straight from basics to SUATC Armor, Fort Knox, KY, A-5-R-2 and received orders to go to Vietnam. I was very nostalgic and afraid of the war. I came home for two weeks and then went to Vietnam.

I served with B-Troop 1 Sq 11th ACR, 2nd Platoon in ACAV #20 from October 1968 to August 1969. I saw a lot of action. On November 7, 1968, the driver of our ACAV (Kenneth Ybarra from California) who I became friends with went to a stupid school and got killed. Our ACAV was lost in combat and its crew split up. On November 8th, our Captain, John Hayes from Florida, was killed and I was in that shootout with him. It was hard losing friends. A few days later, the ACAV left gunner assigned to me (I was the right gunner) was killed a few meters from me. We fought the NVA for several hours as he lay at my feet. At that time I didn't want to get too close to anyone for fear of losing another friend. That gave me a serious reason to defend myself. Later I adapted and took it one day at a time. We got a new ACAV to replace the loss from the fight and the sergeant, the left gunner and myself and a new guy were back in business. But I had to drive, which is not the safest place. We were running the force and the mines were a big problem. I drove for months and never hit a mine, but those who followed my tracks and didn't follow them did. I remember one time I was driving through a bombed area and ran over a log that dropped a 250 pound bomb that hadn't exploded yet. We were very lucky. He could have blown up the whole train.

With the exception of R&R in Australia, life on my tour was like this. After more shooting and more casualties, I was shot in the chest on August 15, 1969, and sent to Japan. From there I was taken to Fitzsimmons General Hospital in Colorado.

On September 27, 1969, I married my high school sweetheart. We returned to Fort Knox, KY and served in Co A, 6th Bn, 32 Armor until May 6, 1970 when I retired from the Army with the rank of 5 Specialist.

Sheila and I have two children, Dulcey and Jeromy. We are located in Redfield, SD. I started working with Ready Concrete and still do. I am also a member of the VFW, the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans, and the Veterans of the 11th Armored Cavalry from Vietnam and Cambodia.

Vietnam was not a walk in the park; it was more like walking through the valley of death. With occasional nightmares, I survived. But I thank God that I had a practically normal life with a wonderful and loving family.

- Graph R. Sprague, Redfield, South Dakota

I was in the Medevac unit in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971, mainly in DaNang. I just wanted to say hi to all my fellow vets who have been there and back and also to those who have lost someone there. My daughter Heather's high school class built a Veterans Memorial here in Herreid, South Dakota. I invite everyone to come and see. thanks heather I also want to thank my wife and family for always being there for me... Always fi mates... Al Starkey Herreid, South Dakota

- Al E. Starkey, Herreid, Dakota del Sur

Although I have not ministered "on earth," I have many friends who have. I trained as a medic at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and witnessed firsthand the destruction and pain of many of my comrades. Fort Sam was the Army's burn center and as such the injuries sustained were gruesome to behold. These wounded soldiers can never be rewarded for the sacrifices they made, but we hope this memorial gives the rest of us reason to appreciate them.

-James Steckelberg, Yankton, SD

TDY over a period of 18 months from Okinawa to Vietnam.

-Walter D. Steele, Rapid City, SD

no story. I grew up in Pierre. I have served my country for 22 years and my only regret is that I would have liked to serve longer, but after the desert storm, the military wanted to reduce the number of people in service, so I retired after more than 20 years of service. I still miss the navy. I think every young man should serve in her country for at least one or two years. It makes them grow up with a little more respect for what America stands for and their own rights.

-Raymond Lee Stehlik, Austin, Minnesota

I arrived in Vietnam on April 8, 1970. I got off the plane and it was like being hit with a wet towel. I showered four or five times a day until I got used to the heat and humidity. I will always admit that being based in Saigon was very easy. No amount of thanks would be enough for the soldiers in the field. After Vietnam I was stationed at Ellsworth. I left in 1972 and South Dakota has been my home ever since. I have lived in South Dakota most of my life. I tell people, "South Dakota is my home and California is my home."

- O'Malley H. Steven, Rapid City, SD

I was drafted into the US Army in June 1967. I completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and advanced as a gunnery surveyor at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. I was then sent to Germany by PCS, where I was assigned to the 569th Personnel Services Company. After about five months in Germany, I received orders from PCS for Vietnam. I arrived in Long Binh and was assigned to the 91st Finance Company, later renamed USA Central Finance & Accounting. I worked in/out processing for all Army officers and enlisted, living or deceased. We worked seven days a week and were on night watch at the nearby Ben Hoa Air Force Base. Duty was extremely good. All of the script funds used by US troops were "traded" twice during the year I was stationed in Vietnam. All scripts were collected, counted at least twice, and new scripts were issued. An extreme task is generally completed within 24 hours of receiving the notice to proceed. My business trip ended after 365 days in Vietnam and I was cleared in Oakland, California in early June 1969. Here we met the anti-war protesters and immediately changed into civilian clothes to begin our journey home!

- Donald W. Stoltz, Rapid City, SD

Dear Sir/Madam, I was born in September 1942 in Britton, SD. In December 1956, at the age of fourteen, I moved to California. There I joined the army. I did basic training at Fort Ord, California and then Morse code training at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. Then I served in Japan for almost two years. While I was there, some of my dresses were shipped via TDY to Vietnam. When they were done and returned to Japan, they were delighted to be back safely. The worst thing I saw was communist protesters arriving at our door in crowded buses. They threw bottles, cans, stones, etc. over us and sang "Yankee Go Home." We secured our camp with fixed bayonets, but were not allowed rifle ammunition. However, this would prevent them from doing anything else. Thanks God. I have great respect for those who have served on the battlefield and deserve the highest honor. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am proud to have been part of the support they needed.

Proud to be an American, may your flag fly long.

Sincerely, Orman K. Booth, RA 19 722 174

-Orman K. Strand, Colorado Springs, Colorado

The A-7E plane at Watertown airport was one of the planes that arrived for my VA-146 squadron aboard the USS Constellation in the early 1970s. It was a replacement plane for one of the 28 planes we lost in that cruise. One of my memories from the entire war that still haunts me is that when we returned to the US, we were not allowed to wear our uniforms when we left the ship/NAS Alameda base. Protesters like Joan Baez, John Kerry, and Jane Fonda led protests against us. We serve the country and we couldn't be proud of our uniforms.

- Richard J. Stricherz, Watertown, SD

In 1962, some soldiers in my unit volunteered to be trained as helicopter pilots, with the understanding that upon completion of the training they would become non-commissioned officers. Most of us had never heard of "Vietnam" and really had no idea where it was. Also, I think those who volunteered for helicopter training thought they were working as "consultants" and not going to war.

-Gordon A. Strom, Sioux Falls, SD

There are many stories we can write about what happened there, but many we can't or won't write. Some stories are hard to believe, others are just too hard to write. Instead of trying to write some of this, I want to talk about a true hero. My wife, whose maiden name was Maureen Earl. Maureen is a South Dakota girl from a farm near Mount Vernon. She hitchhiked from Fort Monmouth, New Jersey to Mitchell's in December 1967 to marry my friend Maureen. Six months later I received orders for Vietnam. I had to leave my 19 year old fiancée who was six months pregnant. We drove back to SD from NJ in our old Mercury with everything we owned on a small U-Haul trailer. Somewhere north of Des Moines, the car's engine blew up. With help, we were able to drag it back to the SD for disposal. Maureen had to return to the farm to live with her parents. I asked the army to send me to Vietnam until the baby was born, but they refused. I can't tell you everything she went through the year I was in Vietnam. I know it's been a hard winter. She didn't have a car. Of course, I was never there to help. Thank God she had her parents and her brother. In addition to the photos, our son was nine and a half months old when I first saw him. My unit was on the wrong side of a ground attack the day he was born. As far as fighting goes, it was a pretty minor clash and pretty common there. Still it was difficult. I often think about it. However, I cannot imagine what my wife went through here in South Dakota. Having a baby when she was a teenager without her husband near her. No job and little money, just a military quota. Worried about being in a combat zone and wondering if the boy would see his father. Every day the bad news about the war, in the newspapers, on the radio and on TV. Waiting for a letter without a stamp (free postage from a combat zone). Fear of a telegram. It must have been hard living like this every day. My wife Maureen was waiting for me there with our son when I got back from Vietnam.

- Lyle W. Sunderland, Mitchell, SD

While stationed on the USS Canberra, he made two deployments to the Far East and joined 7th Fleet ships supporting the RVN and US forces in Vietnam. Canberra fired over 25,000 rounds from her 8-inch gun. The cruiser was involved in operations ranging from driving a shotgun into a truck convoy to supporting the first full landing in the Mekong Delta. Canberra provided naval gunfire support in the I, II and IV Corps areas from the Mekong Delta to the DMZ and spent 88% of her time at sea with him. While she was stationed aboard the USS John King (DDG-3), she sailed to West Pac and linked up with the 7th Fleet. She fired thousands of 5-inch shells in support of US forces.

— Leland L. Swensen, Wakonda, Dakota del Sur

He enlisted in September 1941.

- Gerald Sylva, Fort Peter, South Dakota

Team leader on the C-130. He flew in and out of Vietnam for 13 months. On his final mission to Saigon, he suffered a broken leg, head injuries, and spent the next six weeks in a crushing unit and hospital in Japan before being flown back to Offiut Air Base, Omaha. When the family visited him, they managed to get him home to recover. A trip from Omaha to Garden City, SD in a die-cast Pinto sedan. It was a tight fit, but he went home.

- Kenneth E. Tarbox, Bradley, South Dakota

Best job I've had in 34 years, from flying C-130s in Taiwan to Command Chief, Master Sergeant. representing the 114th Fighter Squadron at Joe Foss Field, Sioux Falls, SD. The people of South Dakota are the best!

-LeRoy N. Tarbox, Sioux Falls, Dakota del Sur

CTF73, the unit I served in, spent most of its time on sight ships in Vietnam, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam. I was a second class radio operator. I served in CTF73 and ComServGru Three from June 1965 to August 1967.

- John Kent Taylor, Trustee, SD

I flew my first mission from Clark Field, Philippines in October 1964. I was on a 60 day TDY from Ellsworth flying a KC-135. I did a lot of voyages across the Pacific, "Mother Henning" fighters flew to Vietnam and always ended up at Anderson AFB, Guam. I did two six month tours on B-52 and A/C Fighter resupply missions, all services. A typical six month voyage would start with 30 days at Kadena, 30 days at CCK in Taiwan, 30 days at Utapao, Thailand (combat supplies), nine days at Guam, then the full rotation would start until the 179th. If I don't remember Wrong, I made about 300 raids in the zone. I finally retired on February 1, 1971. I have logged over 9,000 hours of military time.

- Gerald E. Teachout, Piemont, Dakota del Sur

Korean War Veteran 1950-1951 on USS Chara AKA 58.

-George D. Thaler, Augusta, Georgia

He remains a current member of the South Dakota Air National Guard. I didn't get a break from active duty to guard duty.

- Lee A. Thedens, Sioux Falls, SD

When we disembarked at the deep water pier in DaNang port, the commanding general of the 1st Marine Wing told us not to fire our weapons until they were fired upon. They also told us that we would have to account for every shot. Apparently that was someone in Washington's idea of ​​how to win the "conflict."

- Robert K. Thompson, Howard, Dakota del Sur

James N. Thronson died on October 6, 1985 from complications related to Agent Orange.

-James N. Thronson

After college I joined the Navy in January of 1965. My military training was north of Chicago, and my A school was there as well. I graduated from Corpsman Hospital School in August of 1965. My first assignment was to the Kittery, Maine Naval Shipyard at the Naval Hospital. I was doing E-4 (or Petty Officer Third Class) at the time. In May of 1966 I received my invitation to join the Navy Fleet at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, to train in the "Mean Green Machine." I was assigned to the Field Medical School and after graduating from the Second Marine Detachment, India Company. I then attended and graduated from the Jungle War School in Panama. I changed battalions thinking I would go to the Mediterranean (Mediterranean for NATO training), instead I went back to Panama to do more jungle warfare training with H&S Company, Battalion Relief Station, etc. In November 1967 I received orders to report to California and the 3rd Marine Division for deployment to Southeast Asia (Vietnam). After two weeks of classes and injections etc. in Okinawa, I flew to DaNang, Republic of South Vietnam. I can't remember how long I was there before I got the chance to "volunteer" for duty with the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion on Phu Bai. I volunteered because I felt I was as prepared as anyone in my group when I came to the country to serve. When I arrived at Phu Bai I was assigned to Alpha Company and with this company and vanguard we moved to our permanent base camp at Quang Tri. Quang Tri is located in the so-called "Iron Triangle". Within that geographic area is 3rd Recon's area of ​​responsibility: Khe Sahn, Camp Lo, Con Tien, Dong Ha, Camp Carrol, DMZ, and a few locations I can't remember. Some notable geological formations are: The Rock Pile, The Razor Back, Dong Ho Mountain, Ashau Valley, etc. On one of my first patrols out of Phu Bai, my team saw a large troop movement in our area of ​​responsibility for just a few hours. before a holiday called "TET68". ! That's right, my dangerous and heavily armed seven-person recon team reported a breach of the TET party peace. We asked for a legitimate fire fight on the attacking masses and we were denied. That moment changed my whole perspective on how I would participate in this war. Some time later, during my mission, my team of five scouts was ambushed at a border and we killed three North Vietnamese soldiers, one of whom limped away. We were tied up and that's why three of them escaped with their lives, two fell in the firing range. It was then that I made my second resolution, to survive and tour the United States at the same time. The rest of my shift was relatively uneventful. I was to work exclusively at the Battalion Supply Station as a "senior" medic until someone older than me with no experience in the bush demoted me. That's fine since I was a "temp" and was due to resign in a few weeks. On a beautiful day in December 1968 I was taken to a steel airstrip and "Air America" ​​came down in a DC-10 and took several of us to DaNang for a rendezvous on a C-130 to Okinawa. I spent a couple of weeks there advising and collecting documentation and clothing, supplies, etc. So I was on a Western Airlines plane bound for El Torro, California. When we landed there was no fanfare. There were buses from the Marine Corps and the Navy to pick up the passengers and take them to the different nearby unloading or service stations. I was supposed to report to the Long Beach Naval Hospital for discharge planning and a complete physical. I got a 48-hour pass and took the bus to Riverside, California to visit my sister and brother-in-law, who were seniors in the Air Force at March Air Force Base. While I was waiting for the bus, a man not much older than me came up to me, held out his hand and said, "Thank you" while shaking my hand. I was shocked because I heard some bad things about how the military was treated. When my brother-in-law took me to the officers' club on the base, he caught everyone's attention: "This is my brother-in-law, he just got back from Vietnam, he served in the Navy...". standing ovation from everyone in the room. I was a little embarrassed, and then I choked. They offered me more drinks than I could consume. I left California two weeks later to fly to Rochester, MN to visit my parents and siblings. So I flew to a small town called Exeter, NH, where my year-old girlfriend was waiting with our four-month-old daughter. As Robert Frost once wrote: "I have miles to go, miles to go before I sleep..."

- Paul A. Tovin, Watertown, Dakota del Sur

After training and a few wins with the Boxing Smokers, I was offered a spot on the Naval District 11 boxing staff and soon transferred to Ream Field. I was ordered to Vietnam twice, but my orders were changed both times so that I could complete boxing. I was a four-time flyweight champion and was called the Flyweight King of the West Coast. I competed in the All-Navy Championships every year. I finished runner-up in 1963 and was selected to play in the Pan American Games, but never went and received my waiver. I have competed with the 11th Naval District team in smoking and boxing matches in the United States. We have provided live entertainment for Sailors and Marines at many Golden Boxing Gloves, AAU, and military bases and stadiums.

—Telford L. Tofflemire, Dewey, AZ

I stayed in the Army Reserve and retired in 1994 as a Command Sergeant Major.

-Bruce L. Trego, Vacaville, CA

He flew 149 missions in North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and Cambodia in A-7 Corsair II aircraft from USS Oriskany (CVA-34). Wet feet, no holes, no dangling.

-Robert E. Treis, Pensacola, Florida

On my first day in Vietnam, a noncommissioned officer handed me my M-16 and ammunition. When I put the magazine in the M-16, I saw that the rifle was covered in dried blood. I looked at the other Marines to see if they also had bloody weapons. They did it. I realized that the practice was over and that I was in a place to die. A few months later, they took me to the DaNang hospital. My helmet, bulletproof vest, and M-16 have been added to the equipment stacks. A planeload of new Marines would arrive soon.

- Craig A. Tschetter, Brookings, Dakota del Sur

At the age of 21 he was wounded in action. He was shot in the leg, shrapnel from a hand grenade struck him in the face, knocking out his teeth, and shrapnel hit the muscles of both arms and chest. At the same time, his commander and the battalion commander were killed. He graduated from Riggs High School, Pierre, SD. He enlisted in the United States Army on November 22, 1966. After basic training at Fort Polk, LA, he received additional training at Fort Lewis, WA before being deployed to Vietnam in June 1967. On December 10 In 1967, he was awarded the Bronze Star by Major General John Hay and others for gallantry and bravery. On December 19, he was promoted to Special 4 Private First Class. Urban's train is known as "Dracula" or "Black Scarves". It was televised on CBS and NBC News, among others. According to a letter received by relatives, Presho's man was holding the slingshot full of dead Viet Cong members as they were picked up by a large two-bladed helicopter. The scene later appeared on Walter Cronkite's CBS Evening News.

-Anthony Frank Urban, Presho, Dakota del Sur

During the Vietnam era there were five sons or brothers. There were three of them in Vietnam at the same time, I was serving in another part of the world and the other one was at West Point. Only one was injured and is still alive. (We were the lucky ones.)

-Libby Usera, Black Hawk, Dakota del Sur

People have often asked me why I joined the Navy. He used to quickly say: "...for the soldier's bill." My brother served in the field and returned home safely; We were lucky. Those of us left behind when our parents, brothers and sisters, and veterans went to war try to live normal lives in the shadow of the evening news. The recruitment was in response to daily sightings of flag-draped coffins being gently lowered down stairs and corridors at dusk. Then we tried to pretend it didn't affect us. Some will call us impetuous, but the service was not just a call to the unknown, to the duty we felt; it was a response to the flag to which we swore allegiance growing up a few thousand school days. It was all of that and a touch of guilt for being left behind.

🇧🇷 🇧🇷 🇧🇷 It was an honor to read my poem to my brother Larry 280 years after he returned home to the post of welcome. Maybe it's time to share so others can understand how genuine our welcome home is.

1969 It was Valentine's Day, my freshman year, I spent the whole day serenely in the gym, ironing locks of red and white crepe, rushing home to shower, curling up and squeezing a thigh-length black and silver dress, my first. date arrived in a purple "hot" car, nervous and late, had to walk the challenge to pick me up, suffer the snapping, then dance on a polished floor in socks to a blaring band, with curfew near, we ran while we were driving the twelve miles home in the brightest moonlight I've ever seen shining on a world of barren fields, a shy good-night kiss in the cool winter air, I floated to the warmth of the stove, and Mama emerged from the lamplight from which he was looking for the last letter Vietnam

y ballet

y ballet

- Jeralyn V. Valdillez, Raleigh, North Carolina

During the entire Vietnam conflict, there was only one incident that really stuck in my memory to this day. This incident was the operation called "Frequent Wind". While evacuating Saigon in May 1975, we witnessed the interesting landing of a fixed-wing aircraft. They circled the carrier several times and finally left a note on the flight deck telling us to move all the helicopters out of the way so they could land; They ran out of fuel and threatened to fall into the sea. It was an incredible sight to see them land on our aircraft carrier. Thank you.

—Keith Van Bockel, Blunt, South Dakota

I was a gunner with Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 11th Artillery, 101st Airborne Division at Ripcord Firebase in northern South Vietnam. We had orders to block communist infiltration on the Laotian border. Since Ripcord was in an area where the enemy had held out for a long time, the soldiers expected trouble from the start. After a period of relative calm, the attack began. Twelve Americans were killed and 58 wounded while on patrol within a mile of the base. The next day, still under heavy artillery fire, the paratroopers packed up and evacuated Ripcord. The commanding officer and two soldiers were killed during the morning's withdrawal. A total of 61 Americans were killed and 345 injured at Ripcord in three weeks. This was the most painful US military operation in Vietnam since the bloody attack on Hamburger Hill. I fired a 155 howitzer alone for a week because everyone in my platoon was wounded or killed during the siege of Ripcord Firebase.

- David E. Voight, Mansfield, South Dakota

I am now 100% disabled due to my ministry in Vietnam

- Wayne A. Vollmer, Sturgis, SD

We were sent to Bangkok, Thailand, in the summer of 1972. We were in an imminent danger zone, and I remember getting off the plane when the temperature was over 100 degrees and the humidity was high.

In September 1972, Henry Kissinger came to Bangkok for peace talks, and I was on duty on Air Force One that night. I was proud of that and I will never forget it.

While in Bangkok I visited the army hospital and saw first hand that some of the brave men were seriously injured and it completely changed my view of war. I thought how lucky we are to have people willing to stand up for our country and risk it ALL for other Americans.

I would like to add that I took great pride in serving my country. I fell into the alcohol trap but stopped drinking in 1978. Military service was a blessing because I learned a LOT about myself and my abilities.

- Kenneth Harr Wallenstein, Huron, Dakota del Sur

On February 11, 1965, I enlisted in the South Dakota Army National Guard and served with the 109th Engineer Group until June 1970, when I was assigned to the Army Aviation Schools at Fort Wolters, Texas, and Fort Rucker. , Alabama. After graduating from flight school, I was assigned back to South Dakota as an OH 6A helicopter pilot with the 147th Field Artillery Brigade. He served as a pilot in OH 6A, OH 23, TH 55, OH 13, UH 1A-B-D & H and UH 60A helicopters for the 147th Field Artillery, 109th Engineer Group and 1085th Medical Company (AA) and C Company 1/189th GSAB . I am currently on active duty (AGR) as a training officer with Company C 1/189th GSAB and have over 41 years of military service under my belt.

-William V. Waeckerle, Rapid City, SD

Arriving 'in the field' in the middle of the monsoon season, it was my first experience of 'horizontal rain'. Little did he know that it would not stop raining for three months and that staying dry would be a distant memory.

- Wayne D. Wagenaar, Rapid City, SD

Stacey, my oldest daughter, was born when I was with the I Corps near Phu Bai, Vietnam. I found out about her birth by ground mail from her a few days after her and saw her for the first time in Hawaii when she was seven months old.

- Gary D. Wahlert, Sorpresa, AZ

It is the 1966 monsoon season in Kontum Vietnam in the highlands. The rain is relentless. We are Company B, 1st 327th of the 101st Airborne Division. Major David Hackworth is our battalion commander, the most decorated soldier after Andy Murphy. They only told us that we have to go back to base camp due to monsoon and lack of helicopters. There were murmurs of disturbance until we heard Hack's voice and realized that "The Eagle" was coming back with us.

This hump in the highland jungle is full of memories, but one stands out. Among the prisoners was a woman whose leg was just below the knee. A fight ensued between some "bad guys" who found them hiding under a stone ledge. The topic of conversation was: "How do they leave her behind, dead or alive?" Our doctor, Doc York, stepped forward and offered to carry the woman on her back. Doc did this until we set up camp late in the afternoon. Then the bandits appeared, claiming that the woman was "spoils of war" and threatening to return that night to take back what they said was theirs. Doc came to me and told me that he couldn't stay up all night protecting her from her. Would I help him? Knowing that Doc was something of a pacifist (except when faced with an injustice that required proper action, and I wasn't sure those bastards understood that), I stayed up with him all night. I was the company scout/sniper. (Part of my baggage was the Hollywood reputation that shooters have no feelings and therefore no conscience.) This worked in our favor as the buggers would sniff around to see if we were serious and then stay out of sight.

The next day we learned that the woman was an NVA nurse. We always feel bad about handing over NVA men to the ARVN S-2 and there was no way we could give them that nurse. Before she allowed him to hobble away from her on her makeshift crutch, she drew a map on the ground for us showing the "bad spot" ahead.

We share this information and how we deal with NVA Nurse with hack. She scolded us and said that she had handled it differently. She said that she scared those repentant bastards the moment they hinted at her lewd intentions.

We relied on fire through the "bad spot" and took retreating fire as our flanks advanced on those waiting to ambush us.

Doc York grew up in Menno, South Dakota and now resides in Bryant, SD. Hack said it was his proudest moment when we finally made it back to base camp, victorious in all the firefights we had along the way. It was also our proudest moment.

- James P. Wainscoat, Viborg, Dakota del Sur

La fecha real del reclutamiento fue el 24 de octubre de 1942. Primero estuvo en la Armada y luego en la Fuerza Aérea.

-James L. Walker, Hopkinsville, Kentucky

My Seabee gang, MCB 11, had a Medal of Honor winner, Marvin Shields. It was given to his family when we returned from Vietnam in January 1967.

-Gary L. Warne, Aberdeen, SD

After graduating from college, he was drafted and joined the Air Force. He was one of the first members of the support team that established an airbase in southern Italy. (He was assigned as the officer in charge of preparing accounting, inventory control and sales procedures at the Luigi Bologna airport, Taranto, Italy). The purpose of his stay in Italy was to assist the technical staff in assembling rockets. He completed three years on the base and was later honorably discharged.

-Gary R. Watzel, Pierre, South Dakota

On Saturday, September 25, 2004, Wayne was honored at a ceremony at Mount Rushmore where Senator Tim Johnson presented him with his long-awaited medals. A copy of the published Black Hills Pioneer report appeared on September 28, 2004.

- Mundt R. Wayne, Spearfish, South Dakota

My service in the United States Air Force lasted from October 25, 1957 to June 2, 1961. My active duty lasted until October 24, 1963 with reserve duties. In 1997 and 2001 I chaired meetings of the 903rd AC&W. Later I was Treasurer of the 903rd AC&W Sq. 2005. Meeting. The square 903 AC&W. from Gettysburg, SD served in the USAF from 1955 to 1968. 926 AC&W Sq. in Iqaluit, Canada, ended on November 1, 1961, five months into my one-year long-distance solitary stint.

- Bernard J. Webb, Gettysburg, SD

Sergeant Major Webster, a native of Huron, South Dakota, was born on October 19, 1949 in San Diego, CA in December 1968. After completing boot camp, he was sent to the 2nd ITR and Air Force School. Basic Infantry Training at Camp Pendleton, CA. After graduating from BITS in May 1969, he was assigned to the 3rd Combined Action Group in the Republic of Vietnam, where he served as a rifleman, team leader, and combined action platoon leader. In June 1970 he was posted to Camp Pendleton, where he served with the Marines of 3rd Battalion, Mike Company. In July 1970, he transferred to Alpha First Battalion Third Marines, First Marine Brigade in Hawaii, where he served as squadron commander until February 1971, when he transferred to H&S First Battalion Fourth Marines, 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa, where he He served as a section of the squadron. Chief of the Flame He returned to the Republic of Vietnam with the First Battalion, Fourth Marines, H & S Company. In July 1972 he was assigned to the Army Security Guards School. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the Maritime Security Guard Detachment in Caracas, Venezuela, where he served as Surveillance Standard and NCOIC Assistant. In April 1975, he transferred to the Drill Instructor School at MCRD, San Diego, CA, and after graduating from the school, he served as a drill instructor with Echo Company's 2nd Recruit Training Battalion until June 1977. As a drill instructor, he transferred to Echo Second Battalion Third Marines, First Marine Brigade in Hawaii, where he served as a platoon sergeant until October 1979, when he transferred to recruit school at MCRD San ​​Diego, CA. After graduating from high school, he was sent to a recruiting branch in Bemidji, MN. In February 1983, he transferred to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, CA, where he served as Sergeant for Dragon Platoon, Gunny Company for Kilo Company, Master Sergeant for H&S Company, and Chief of Operations for the Arms Company. In October 1986, he transferred to the MCB, Camp Pendleton, CA, where he served as training officer for the H & S Battalion MCB, Camp Pendleton. In September 1987 he transferred to Camp Pendleton Infantry School and served as Chief of Weapons in the ITB until September 1989 when he transferred to the MCT Battalion to serve as Chief of Battalion Operations. In August 1990, he was assigned to the First Marine Infantry Battalion and assumed the position of Chief of Battalion Operations. While with the battalion, he was deployed to the Persian Gulf for Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In September 1992, he was promoted to commander of operations of the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion. In July 1995 he transferred to the MCB Infantry School at Camp Pendleton as Chief of Operations. He retired from the US Marine Corps on January 1, 1999 as a Gunnery Sergeant Major.

-Paul C. Webster, Oceanside, CA

I'll upload a photo later and update my prices as well.

- Robert D. Weddle, Columbia, MO

I have never been to Vietnam, but I sent your committee a collection of period Stars and Stripes magazines that might be of some entertainment value to those who served there. I have also sent some photos of the Bob Hope concert in Okinawa that I hope will be useful to the committee. In case you're interested, I also have an audiotape of the show that I've converted to digital MP3 format. Tony Rae and I go to meetings together, so let him know.

-William S. Welch, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

I served as an assistant chaplain in Vietnam. Around Christmas 1970 I had the honor of meeting with Cardinal Cushing of New York and General Sampson, head of the Capelan Corp. We dined at Saigon Cathedral and attended a Catholic mass at the Cathedral. It was very interesting to visit them. General Sampson was the chaplain who appeared in the movie The Longest Day and also retired to Sioux Falls a few years before his death.

- John H. Wellhouse, Pierre, South Dakota

I was assigned to observe the tower for the first few nights after arriving in Phu Bai, Vietnam. Not knowing that my course was 180 degrees we were attacked by mortars, I informed that I was coming from the south when in fact I was coming from the north. Needless to say, the next day there was a compass painted on the tower.

- Richard L. Wendt, Glenham, Dakota del Sur

When I turned 18 and conscription was close at my heels, I decided to enlist. I told my father, a World War II Army veteran, that I would follow in his footsteps. His comment was: "I'm going to shoot you in the head to save the Viet Cong out of trouble. You have two choices, the Army or the Air Force." Here I am, 36 years later, at Ellsworth Air Force Base. That's my story and I'll stick with it, I always felt like I missed something by not going to Vietnam, but as I get older, I don't think anything has changed.

- Timothy Charl Werlinger, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I was in Vietnam in 1971, mainly at the DaNang Air Force Base. We had about 50,000 military on the base and you would think the area would be safe. But when we landed our KC-130 at night, even without lights, we could see the trackers coming from the end of the runway. Our sleep was often interrupted by sirens heralding another missile attack. I remember thinking, "If we can't protect even this small part of the country with all our might, how can we control the rest of the country?" As a C-130 pilot, I was pretty sure. I have the utmost respect for all who served in Vietnam, especially the Army and Marine infantry, who fought the hardest and suffered the most casualties.

- Roger A. Whorton, Spearfish, South Dakota

Medals/Awards (continued): Air Force Commendation Medal with two sets of oak leaf blades, Air Force Achievement Medal, Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation, Air Force Distinguished Unit Award with Valuable Device, and leaf sets of three leaves Oak, Air Force Good Conduct Medal with a silver Oak Leaf Cluster, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Short Ribbon with an Oak Leaf Cluster, Service Award Ribbon Air Force Longevity Ribbon with Three Oak Leaf Clusters, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Military Education Graduate Ribbon with Oak Leaf Cluster, Small Arms Specialist Marksman Ribbon with One Oak Leaf -Set, Air Force Training Ribbon , Republic of Vietnam Cross of Bravery with device

- Larry A. Williams, Paris Junction, Indiana

I was in Vietnam from June 21, 1970 to June 20, 1971. During my time in the Air Force, I was fortunate to serve with TALCE of the 834 Air Division. TALCE was the Transportable Air Transport Control Element deployed by the Air Force in the Advanced Operational Sites. I was assigned to the US Army MACV 76 Advisory Team at Song Be Airfield and we reopened Khe Sanh Airfield in February 1971 for Operation Lam Son 719. Through my involvement with the Army unit, I received the MUC tape from the army.

- Bradford T. Wills, Black Hawk, South Dakota

Served in the Navy and joined the Army on October 15, 1976. Retired from the Army on October 14, 1992.

-Patrick John Windschitl, Wentworth, Dakota del Sur

always fi

-Mark B. Wofford, Sioux Falls, SD

I praise God that I was able to return to the great United States without serious injury. I remember walking to Vietnam in the dark, getting off the plane and immediately feeling the heat and the strange smell. As we patrolled toward our unit and saw people squatting in their cabins instead of sitting on chairs, it dawned on me, "This is a different country than I'm used to." I am grateful for all the answers to my prayers, as God protected me as he traversed the jungles of Vietnam, the rice paddies and pineapple fields near Cambodia, and guarded the bridges in Saigon and Signal Mountain. The most memorable moment was probably the mass shooting that took place on May 13 and 14 in an area south of Saigon. I remember traveling by helicopter, boat and on foot as a reactionary mobile unit ready to go to where the action was taking place. The experience was worth millions, but I would pay the same not to have to go through it again. Thank you South Dakota for making this memorial possible and for recognizing us Vietnam Veterans.

- Kenneth R. Wonenberg, Pierre, South Dakota

He was a member of the Navy Pay Team, which flew numerous helicopter missions in remote areas to pay civilians, Navy personnel, and SEALs.

-Robert D. Holz, Pierre, SD

I was sent to Vietnam to replace recruit 11B10, who arrived in June 1966. Fortunately, I was transferred to the information office at the 1st Infantry Headquarters in Di An. From there I traveled to all areas of our operations to cover battles. for our weekly The American Traveler and Stars & Stripes. We also publish Danger Forward magazine, a report on the battles and operations in which the division participated. One from South Dakota, General William DePuy, commanded the 1st Infantry for most of my time there. I feel very lucky to have returned home safely after the end of my tour.

- Leonard G. Wormstadt, Custer, Dakota del Sur

Senior Sergeant 5Dang retired. He re-enlisted in the SD Air National Guard on October 30, 1973. Retired on January 2, 1995.

-Clifford Wulf, Lennox, Dakota del Sur

My story was published by the Custer County Chronicle a few years ago as part of a Memorial Day edition that also included many stories from other veterans. If I have an additional copy, I'll send it to you, or you may have already accessed this edition. I think it was released in 2001 or 2002.

-Mark A. Young, Sioux Falls, SD

After more than a year of training and awaiting confirmation, my operational deployment to Wichita, Kansas, as part of the newly formed 91st Air Refueling Squadron, was delayed. My arrival was a bit delayed as I had to go back and graduate from Basic Survival School after crushing my hand the first time. As a new pilot and eager to prove myself, I was delighted when I was notified in the summer of 1973 that my KC-135 crew was going to Young Tiger. This news followed my disappointment at the promotion freeze that went into effect less than 30 days before my promotion to first lieutenant. Upgraded to Airplane Commander (AC). The trip from the US was uneventful, although we were forced to stop in Hawaii and Guam before passing through Vietnam on the way to Thailand. When we left the maintenance briefing I felt strange as most of the civilians who were busy at the base were staring at me. Imagine my surprise to discover that they hadn't seen a second lieutenant on the base in many years, let alone a pilot. All my time in Southeast Asia I was known as "Baby San". When we returned to the United States at the end of November, we found that a new squad had been formed and we were transferred to the new unit. our departure was delayed and we were due to leave for the alarm service at Goose Bay Labrador in 72 hours. We traveled from the subtropical climate to the frigid north of Goose Bay in less than four days. I remember!

-Jack A. Ziemer, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

Didn't serve in Vietnam. She served in the Navy from 1968 to 1972 with VP-10 in Brunswick, Maine and with the Office of Naval Personnel in Washington, DC. I want to give a special shout out to everyone who served in Vietnam, especially people like Deono Miller, Adrian Allen, and everyone else in the Menno and Freeman area.

-Larry Aman, Marietta, Georgia

I'm a Vietnam vet who was eaten by Agent Orange.

- Merle Anderson, Sioux Falls, SD

Steven Wade Barrows, son of Bill and Vivian Barrows of Stickney, SD, served in the USAF. He served 18 months in Vietnam. He comes from a long line of family who served in the military. His father's brothers Art, Ernie, George (POW) and Paul Barrows served in World War II. His father's cousins ​​Cecil, Dale (KIA), Dorothy Barrows, Willard (POW) and George Rogers all served in World War II. Steve's mother's cousins ​​Donald, Gerritt, Harrold, Herman, Lawrence and Marion Brink all served in World War II. His younger brother, Darrell Brink, served in Vietnam. Steve's stepfather, Lawrence Meoska, served in World War II. Steve's cousins, Gary and Larry Brink, served in Vietnam. He returned home from Vietnam on vacation to get married. A Vietnamese vet friend (Bobby Miller) from Iowa attended his wedding. Steve introduced her to his sister and 13 months later the two were married. This brother-in-law's niece, Danielle Wingrove, currently serves in the Navy. Steve's nephew, Barry Barrows, also has a career in the Navy.

Steve's military family history includes the Army, Air Force, Merchant Marine, Marine Corps, and Navy; and includes World War II, Vietnam, and Southwest Asia; 1942 to today. The family has proudly served the US Army for over 60 years.

-Steven Barrows, Dakota del Sur

I served as a crew member in P3 aircraft with Patrol Squadron Four from November 1970 to October 1973. I have 1,500 hours of combat flight time in the Vietnam war zone. Relocated to Iwakuni Japan, Naha Okinawa and Cubi Point, Philippines with divisions at Cam Ran Bay Vietnam and Utapao, Thailand.

-Walter Bauer, Aberdeen, SD

Born in Yankton, raised in Irene, SD

-Marlene Bayer, Wichita, Kansas

I have applied for a position at Pierre, S.D. Applied. When I was notified that I had been drafted, I changed my registration to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I was living at the time. After basic training at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, I was assigned to the Walter Reed Army Research Institute. I have worked as a laboratory assistant on various medical research projects at Walter Reed and have also worked as a technician in the Hematology Clinic at Walter Reed Military Hospital. Then I was assigned to a research project to study the effectiveness of gamma globulin in preventing hepatitis. The project was carried out at Kimpo AFB, Korea. The project would last two years. We were supposed to give gamma globulin injections of different concentrations to 100,000 soldiers at Kimpo AFB when they invaded Korea. All male soldiers up to and including the rank of colonel received a ten ml gamma globulin injection into their buttocks when they disembarked from the US plane, as a first introduction to Korea. The project appears to have concluded that gamma globulin is a prophylactic against hepatitis since it is routinely administered to prevent the disease. I spent 14 months in Korea, met with Walter Reed, and was honorably discharged from the Army.

-James Bickley, Park City, Utah

Lived in Pierre, SD for 30 years. I just moved to Minnesota.

-Thomas Birhanzel, Benson, MN

I remember when we landed it was the end of the monsoon season and it was raining four inches on the runway and the plane started to slide sideways. It got so quiet you could hear a pin drop. All 250 of us wondered if we would get out of the plane alive.

- Neil Bishop, Sioux Falls, SD

I graduated from Mobridge High School in 1956 and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 1961 and received a regular commission from the Army through ROTC. After basic engineering officer course and skydiving school, I was posted to Germany during the Berlin crisis, where I spent four years with Engineer Battalion 317, twice commanding two companies. In 1965 I went to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and graduated from the first class of Vietnam-era SCO officers. In July 1966 I went to Vietnam and commanded Company C, 1st BN Engineer, 1st Infantry Division in the most exciting year of my life. One of my demolition officers was Bruce Lebeau of Mobridge and a "Dustoff" driver who evacuated three KIAs one day and injured several for me was Page Wright of SDSM&T who died shortly after. We cleared a lot of mines, booby traps, bulldozed and destroyed the jungle. In addition, we destroy VC bunkers, build roads, bridges, and airfields, and run up and down ladders under Chinook helicopters to carve out jungle landing zones, as well as frequently attack infantry. As I said: an exciting year.

After graduate school at SDSMT, I returned to Vietnam and served with the two Korean infantry divisions that supported us in Vietnam, where I approved all of their material and structural designs. After Command and Staff College in 1971 [where I was assisted by Jim Mundt of Mobridge] I had staff assignments in Vietnam and Korea. Then I was an Assistant District Engineer in Albuquerque and finally a Facilities Engineer in Fort Carson, Colorado. Retiring in 1981, I returned to Albuquerque, where I led the flood control agency and was the city's director of public works until retiring again in 2001.

The Army has been a fantastic career that has provided me with great friendships, incredible experiences, education and leadership training, and constant challenges, all of which have prepared me well for a second career in local government.

Larry Blair, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Thank you to all who have served and are serving now! Remember that some have given their all while others are still suffering! We must never forget the MIA/POW either! In the sky!

-Richard Boer, Dallas, Oregon

I was a lieutenant.

-Dean Bolhouse, SD

Don Muang AB, Thailand 1965-1966:

I write this because most of the American public is unaware how much of the Vietnam War was fought from bases outside of South Vietnam in countries other than South Vietnam. The air war in North Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia was fought from bases in Thailand. It didn't take a genius to figure out that the Don Muang Mortuary was a busy place, passing the piles of empty coffins in the 6th Squadron area of ​​Don Muang AB Airport.

My year in Southeast Asia began in October 1965 after a two-day combat orientation course at Hamilton Air Force Base, California, where instructors taught grenade throwing, M-16 rifle grenade throwing, and shoot and clear jams in the M-16. At the end of the course, we were transferred by coach to Oakland, California, where we boarded a chartered Boeing 707 bound for Don Muang AB, Thailand, with stops at Hickham AFB, Hawaii, Clark AB, Philippines, Tan Son Nhut AB, Viet Nam.

The personnel stationed in Thailand were assigned to bases such as Don Muang, Korat, Ubon, Udorn, Takhli, Chiang Mai or Nakhon Phanom. I worked in a communications center (Teletype Relay) located in a rice field one kilometer from Don Muang airbase. The communications center was constantly understaffed because the number of military operations kept increasing, while the number of people assigned to the communications center increased at the same time it remained, we were processing so much classified material that it took several hours each night to destroy the old material. classified.

Although I consider the people in the communications center to be the best people I have ever worked with, I never kept in touch with them after I returned to the "big BX land".

-James Boss, Wright, WY

Flying a C-7A Caribou is like having an illicit's fun while you're at it, but you don't talk about it much.

- Braa Art, Fast City, South Dakota

He lived in Fort Pierre from 1958 to 1963. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and received a Purple Heart, among other awards.

-Edward Brendt, SD

Before joining the Navy, I lived at Fort Pierre from 1958 to 1963. My parents moved to Montana and I enlisted in the Navy in November 1963. I served in the Vietnam Naval Advisory Group/Commander of the Vietnam Naval Forces in Saigon from 1965 to 1965. I returned to Vietnam in 1969 aboard USS JENNINGS COUNTY (LST 846) - PBR dinghy. We operate in Ha Tien.

- Bernard Brendt, Ipswich, England, SD

11B10 Lightly Armed Infantry

- Darrell Brewer, Elk Point, S

My first voyage was in July 1965. I boarded a ship in San Diego for a 30-day voyage to Okinawa and one night in Hawaii. So it was seven days for DaNang. The highlight of the trip was crossing the international date line on my 19th birthday. We went straight from August 12-14, so I officially missed that birthday. We disembarked at the port of DaNang in August 1965. We went down the side of the ship in hammocks for LST like in the movies and disembarked.

For the next 12 months, there was more irritation than excitement. We drink a little beer and only occasionally eat war stuff. I volunteered in July 1967 and flew from California. I was sent to the 5th Marine Corps Headquarters. I worked with air liaison, close air support, medical evacuation, signal ships, etc. It was a good job, but they kept trying to kill us, Tet and all. I came back in July 1968 and have spent the last 34 years trying to forget.

-Les Briggs, Midland, SD

I volunteered to go to Vietnam, I took another man's place. We were the first permanent party force deployed there in 1962. At first we wore civilian clothes. The first man killed in the 1960s was in my unit; he was James T. Davis from Livingston, TN. He was active in an organization of veterans of the Vietnam Army Security Agency called the Organization of Old Specters and Spies. We were the first 300 permanent troops; When we left in 1963 there were 16,000 soldiers there. At many anti-Vietnam demonstrations at the University of South Dakota in the late 1960s, students even carried Viet Cong flags.

-Thomas Burns, lago McCook, Dakota del Sur

I was a lieutenant.

-Roger Cameron, Dakota del Sur

In Vietnam I was assigned to the 1st Marine Air Wing, Marine Air Group 13. In February 1966 we were stationed at DaNang and used the airfield there. The Marines under the command of General Kulack recognized the need for an exclusively naval airfield and received approval to build one 80 kilometers south of DaNang at Chu Lai. I was an engineer in 1371 assigned to build the base. It was completed to the point where aircraft could land and take off in November 1966 and was the first purely naval airfield in Vietnam. I returned to the United States in 1967 and while stationed at 5th Bridge Co. in Camp Pendleton, California, I trained young Marines en route to Vietnam in bridge construction. Now, 40 years later, I am in Iraq teaching the Iraqi police modern police techniques.

- Gerald Capps, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I want all the mates to email me and tell me what they have done in their lives.

-Herbert Carstens, Bridgeport, Texas

In Vietnam, October 1970 to October 1971. Also served as an aide to General Stuart C. Meyer, commander of XXIV Artillery Corps, I Corps, South Vietnam.

-Jeffrey Chicoine, Lago Forrest, Illinois

Nothing could do it justice with words.

- John Clark, Black Hawk, South Dakota

I voluntarily extended my trip to Vietnam so my little brother wouldn't have to go there. Instead, the US military sent him to Thailand, where he was involved in a truck accident. They sent him back to Fitzsimmons Army Hospital to recover from his injuries. He was killed in a car accident as he was driving to his house to pick up his wife in South Dakota. The driver of the car was a Vietnam veteran who lost his foot in Vietnam.

I just finished my three years in Ft. Campana, Texas. I flew to Denver and escorted the body of my brother Tom.

- Timothy Clarke, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

CPT, Armor when he left Germany en route to Vietnam, attended Jungle War College in Panama and arrived in Vietnam June 1968. Assigned to 1st Bn 5th Inf(M) as battalion engineer officer. Two memorable events happened to me before I was injured and evacuated:

The first event was a routine rescue several kilometers from the Tay Ninh fire base. Four mechanics and I arrived at the scene in a recovery vehicle to find a 2.5-tonne truck overturned in a paddy field, three pallets of 155mm artillery shells, and a fuse box nearly submerged in water. As afternoon turned to night, we got matchlocks and grenades. The truck was upright in the dark. The truck stopped, we loaded shells and fuses, and headed for a night defense position in the area. I later learned that our ambush patrols were busy in the recovery area that night.

The second incident, which is quite funny today, happened when I was being medically evacuated in a C-130. I was lying on a stretcher and was placed on the second level out of the tail at the end of the plane. The soldier below me needed attention, so I was placed on a stretcher on the cargo deck and allowed to sit down. So they brought me back to the second level. At the exit the rear ramp was partially open and the steep climb made me get off the stretcher. I hit the deck and slid down the open ramp. He was not strapped to the gurney. The ramp operator fidgeted as I slid toward him. He caught me, another crew member grabbed me and it all ended well as they changed my pants.

I served another 21 years after Vietnam in challenging assignments, retiring in June 1989.

- Patrick Collins, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

I entered service on March 3, 1942. I served my country in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam for a total of over 30 years.

-Terrance Conner, Loveland, Colorado

My best friend in the world is Francis Whitebird, the distinguished Lakota warrior of the Rosebud Reservation who now resides in Pierre, South Dakota. Francis was our company doctor, Charlie Company, 2/1, 196th LIB, American Division. I played FO. Francis was an inspiration to the new guys and certainly to me when I first arrived. He was a true leader, competent, brave and solid under fire. He saved many lives while serving two terms there. He later became the Chief of Indian Affairs for the state of South Dakota. He and I were close for 37 years beginning in 1969 when we served together and I was wounded in the Battle of Hiep Duc. Our families visited each other in SD and in New York. Two summers ago, Francis adopted me into the Lakota tribe, formalized our spiritual relationship as brothers, and then inducted me into the Red Feather Lakota Warrior Society. Both were humbling, but also a great honor for me. I will be so honored to attend the dedication ceremonies this fall and especially to be a part of it all with my beloved "Chee Sim" or big brother and the many other veterans, family and friends Francis has also introduced me to.

-Paul Critchlow, New York, New York

From July 1968 to June 1969 I was assigned to combat duty as a USAF helicopter pilot with the 20th Special Operations Squadron at Nha Trang AB, South Vietnam. I flew 988 combat missions and 543 combat flight hours as a flight director in US Air Force UH-1P helicopters for the 'Green Hornets' of the 20th Special Operations Squadron. This combat tour in support of the highly classified long-range reconnaissance patrols of the US Army Special Forces.

-Charles Cross, Brandon, Dakota del Sur

I attended trade school in Wahpeton, ND for architectural drafting. After graduating from there, I got a job with the Fullerton Lumber Company in Mitchell, SD. I was working there for about 3-4 months when I received a notice in the mail from the hiring board. I was low on numbers and was advised to go back to North Dakota and enlist in the Army because my choice of MOS might be greater than just being drafted. So I went back to North Dakota and signed up. I did basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington. I was stationed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia for the remainder of my military career. I was an oxygen and acetylene specialist in the 56th Engineering Department, US First Army. Luckily I was never asked to go to Vietnam.

-Donald Dailey, Watertown, Dakota del Sur

He enlisted in the Navy from February 8, 1944 to August 8, 1946, and served in the Pacific. She enlisted in the Army from February 4, 1948 to March 30, 1966.

-William Deboer, Rapid City, South Dakota

I was a member of the 185th Tactical Fighter Squadron out of Sioux City, Iowa. After attending the foundations, I spent several months attending meetings in Sioux City. I think it was in January 1968 when the North Koreans seized an American spy ship called the Pueblo. As a result of this "national crisis," the President activated many National Guard air units. His goal was to bring F100 fighters to Vietnam along with ground support teams. I was a plumber in civil engineering. I was on a Prime Beef team that traveled to various bases across the United States to set up prefab barracks. My longest trip, 12 months, was in Clovis, New Mexico, where I worked in the civil engineering department. I spent my first few months at the Sioux City Air Force Base.

-Oscar DeVries, Sioux Falls, Dakota del Sur

I left Brandon, SD at the age of 18. So I enlisted in the army for four years. I left, worked and went to school in Texas and SD. After I graduated from high school, I was drafted back into the AF as a lieutenant. For the next 16 years I served as commander and chief of airlift operations. I currently own a home improvement and repair shop in Olympia, WA.

Congratulations to those who have served or are currently serving our country. Be proud!

-Timothy Dickey, Olimpia, Washington

I served in the National Guard for about a year, but my brother Richard convinced me to go with him to the Navy. Ironically, when we went to the exams, I passed the exams but he didn't because of hearing problems. I often thought of him when I sat soaking up the Vietnamese atmosphere.

- Bernard Diedrich, Prescho, Dakota del Sur

He always went to Joe Foss's camp when Dad should come home and wait. One year Mom left our Christmas tree until Easter so Dad could enjoy Christmas. I think it was in 1964. In addition, my grandfather provided the Cateract Hotel as a refuge for the troops, who provided them with a bed, a bathroom, stationery and stamps to write to their loved ones. My grandfather was Henry A Ditmanson.

-Jerry Ditmanson, Sioux Falls, SD

There is so much to tell that once you start there is nowhere to stop. I know what it means to be free and to win freedom, I wish all Americans knew.

-Joseph Dobbs, Rapid City, South Dakota

Our ship's TV presenter hasn't done all his homework! He knew which Board of Selective Service I was registered with (#66) and that I went to Oglala Community High School (now Pine Ridge), but I don't think he really realized I was on the same cruise ship as him.

During our first tour of duty in the Gulf of Tokin, the ship's television station wanted to interview me to express my feelings about the cast of Wounded Knee (December 1972). He asked all the usual questions; who, what, where, when and how... as I was sitting there, I remember wondering; "Where does this guy think I'm from?" I saw him here every damn night of the cruise and he asked me these questions as if I had just landed in Subic Bay after spending a few nights on the Wounded Knee crew.

Looking back, I realize that the turmoil caused by the anti-war protests was compounded by the Alcatraz and Wounded Knee occupations. This "awakening", inspired by the American Indian Movement and other indigenous activists, changed my perspective on myself. Where I once accepted the spoken word of the prominent population, I began to wonder, "Why can't I do this?" "What makes them experts in what I want, feel, or even want to eat?"

It was an honor to have served this great country. However, I am even more proud to have represented and served my tribe, Cheyenne River (Miniconjou) and the other two reservations, Oglala and Standing Rock. I will also consider the idea that the Native American population per capita was the most represented population in all branches of ministry.

We are a proud people and we will always be the first to serve.

- Staff of Thomas Eagle, Mobridge, South Dakota

In 1946 I completed basic training at Fort Jackson, SC and served with the US Army Occupation Forces in Japan with Engineering Service Detachment 416 at Yakohama, Japan from 1947 to 1948. I re-enlisted in 1949 and assigned to the US Army occupation of Germany with 26th Infantry Regiment, B Company until March 1953. Engineer Troop Command until September 1956. In October 1956, I was assigned to 34th Engineer Battalion Headquarters, Ft Lewis, WA as an Assigned Staff Sergeant until May 1958. In June 1958 I was assigned to US Army X Corps Headquarters, Ft Lawton, WA. As an enlisted consultant with the US Army Reserve units in Bozeman, Livingston and Big Timber, MT. In October 1962 I was assigned to the 7th Infantry Division Headquarters, Camp Casey, Korea. In December 1962, I was medically evacuated from Korea and assigned as a Staff Sergeant, US Army Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Denver, CO. In May 1963, I was assigned to the US Army 5th Advisor Group, Rapid City, SD, as an enlisted advisor to the SD Army National Guard. In February 1966 I was assigned to the 1st Logistics Command, US Army Depot, Cam Rohn Bay, Vietnam. In October 1966 I was posted to the Can Tho Advanced Support Unit as Acting Staff Sergeant for the 1st Logistics Command in Vietnam. In March, 1967, I was promoted to Master Sergeant, Army Entry and Examining Station Unit, Omaha, NE, and served in that capacity until I retired from active duty on August 1, 1969, having completed more than 20 years of service.

- Melvin Eisenbraun, Sturgis, SD

I am proud to have been an instructor and team leader in the search and recovery of MIA remnants from the Vietnam War. We are no longer treated as spies, we now have free access to websites and documents to clear MIA status and wipe out families.

- Ben Elfrink, Pepin, WI

It seemed that the SD military was very willing to work hard and fight for their country. This arrangement has put them in the line of fire quite often, increasing the percentages from KIA to SD.

-Joey Enders, Jenison, Dakota del Sur

I attend primarily to honor Russ Kayser, who was a good friend of mine and lost his life while serving in the Army in Vietnam.

- Dennis Ernster, Sioux Falls, SD

Dedicated to Leon Adams: KIA 6-6-69 in a loc1 battle and all my mates in 2.

-Stephen Fee, Portland, Oregon

Arc Light Mission support from McCoy AFB, Orlando, FL to Kadena AB Clinic, Okinawa 1969-70 and assigned to the 432nd TRW Hospital, Udorn RTAFB 1972-73 during the Christmas bombing raid of Hanoi in December 1972, eventually causing the the conflict ended in Vietnam. Registered member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

-Francis Fielder, Orlando, Florida

The 10th Aviation Group was attached to the 11th Test Air Assault Division, which was sent to Vietnam and became the 1st Calvary Mobile Air Unit. I did not travel to Vietnam with the unit because my enlistment was below the required days for discharge.

- Daryle Fisher, Chamberlain, Dakota del Sur

Navy Reserve Lieutenant enlisted in December 1982 and retired from the Navy Reserve in April 2001.

-William Flanigan, Germantown, Tennessee

I drove the convoy through the streets and waters of Vietnam in my mail truck, dodging mines and bullets. Mail delivery was important to soldiers' morale. The PMs let me through first. I even ended up delivering my own Dear John letter. I also performed with my band Group Therapy at the Officers Club in Cam Ranh Bay.

-Robert Folschow, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

He attended the University of South Dakota for four years. Degree in History and Education, 1969.

—James Frost, Phoenix, AZ

(Video) U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs tells South Dakota Veterans to be ready for return to normal oper

My son was little when we were stationed near Baltimore. We hardly ever saw the sun shine due to particulates (smog). One fall, on a cool, clear night after my discharge, my family and I returned to South Dakota. My son Chip got out of the 1972 Ford Wagon, rubbed his eyes, and said, "What's that weird smell?" It was FRESH SOUTH DAKOTA AIR from him. Fresh air was new to his inexperienced little nose. THAT made us realize we were back on GOD'S LAND!

-Wm Fuhrman, Aberdeen, SD

"A Night in Ambush"

It was the beginning of my journey and I served as a medic for Alpha Company's 2nd Platoon. The 2nd Platoon took charge of a night ambush, trying to catch the NVA on the move in the A-Sha Valley. That afternoon the weather was cool and it rained lightly. Once we established our ambush positions, we set up our helmets by connecting two ponchos. Three of us tried to get comfortable and get some sleep when we weren't on call: the second lieutenant, the RTO, and myself, the paramedic. When opportunity permitted, I fell asleep. During this phase of sleep, I was awakened by something sitting on my face: a small animal. I could feel the claws on my eyebrows and chin. This creature was probably trying to survive like us, keeping warm with my exhaled breath. I tried not to move lest I startle this thing and get bitten in the face by something I couldn't identify. He could only think that he did not want to die like this. I slowly moved my hands from my stomach to my face. After what seemed like minutes I just couldn't take it anymore and in one swift motion I ran my hands over my face and dropped this thing out into the cold wet night. In doing so, I disrupted our little helmet snapshots and caused a lot of noise pollution during our seemingly silent attempt to trap the enemy in a night maneuver. The second lieutenant grabbed me to calm me down and asked me what the hell was going on. I tried to explain through a short version that something was on my face and I couldn't take it anymore. When we returned with the rest of the company the next day, I told them the whole story. Of course, everyone was surprised that he managed to keep his composure for so long.

-Joseph George, Black Hawk, South Dakota

He attended South Dakota State University, graduating in 1962 with a bachelor's degree in pharmacy. He was a member of the ROTC at SDSU and commissioned in June 1962. He served in the Army Medical Service Corps as a Pharmacy Officer on various assignments in the US, Germany and Korea. In 1993 he finally retired to Texas.

-Alfred Gill, San Antonio, Texas

He served in the Army National Guard from September 1, 1950 to 1958. His rank was second lieutenant.

-Richard Graham, Dakota Del Sur

They have served and are still serving today. I don't care if my experience is shared. I have been in the SD since July 1982.

- Mark Graham, case elder, SD

Due to the location of 184 TFG (it was 174 TFG then, 1968), many members were SD residents. TFG 174 was one of three ANG combat units called into active duty during the Tet Offensive. However, the official reason for activating the unit was to capture the USS Pueblo.

-Gary Grasma, Dakota Dunes, SD

I left Fort Sam Houston, Texas with the 45th Surgical Hospital. We were deployed near Tay Ninh at a base of the 196th Light Infantry. We were hit by mortar attacks almost every night. The first night we were attacked, our commanding officer, Major Wratton, was killed. After the third night we were finally able to get the hospital up and running. This hospital was unique. It was the first field hospital with air conditioning, expandable operating rooms and inflatable infirmaries. Needless to say, the guards suffered light damage. After five months there, I was assigned to Medical Depot 32 and sent to Dong Tam in the Mekong Delta to help set up Surgical Hospital 3. After three months there, I went to Long Binh and flew to other field hospitals like problem solver. I have been working on utility packages. These were powered by gas turbines and provided hot and cold water, air conditioning, electricity and air to inflate the rooms. Operating rooms were also supplied with air so that operating tables could float on an air cushion. I want to thank the state of South Dakota for recognizing Vietnam Veterans. I was proud to serve my country. I couldn't understand why they spat on us, insulted us and threw us in the airports of the big cities. I hope the public in the United States will not in any way humiliate our troops by going home now. I am proud of her.

- Lonnie Grau, Oregon, WI

I was commissioned June 2, 1961 as a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City. I attended flight school at Ft. Rucker, Alabama from 1963 to 1963 (OFWAC Class 62-9). I spent three years in Germany flying for an artillery unit, first from Munich, then from Stuttgart. When I returned to the United States in early 1966, I transferred to Ft. Rucker and Ft. Benning. My next assignment, beginning in July, was with the 145th Fighter Aviation Battalion, flying UH-1 helicopters out of Bien Hoa, RVN. In September I was wounded in a combat attack and transferred to the US Hospital at Camp Zama, Japan, where I recovered from a leg wound. I returned to duty on December 145, completed my combat tour, and returned to the United States where I was discharged from active duty on April 23, my 28th birthday. I later served in the South Dakota Army National Guard, first in the Aviation Section at Rapid City Municipal Airport, then in the S-3 Section of the 109th Engineer Group at Camp Rapid, and commanded the Helicopter Detachment of Ambulance 1085 for about a year. After four years, I transferred to the Wisconsin Army National Guard for six years and then to the Iowa Army National Guard, from which I retired in 1982. I retired as a Master Airman with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Most recently, I served as a supply and service battalion commander in Iowa.

-William Green, Hot Springs, Dakota del Sur

When I was 19 years old I (RA) entered and was sent to Tay Ninh. I served during the Tet Offensive. I was also stationed at Black Virgin Mountain. I spent 14 months in this dark place. It was a life changing experience.

I wrote this poem to express some of my feelings after the war:

the dark side

por DanHahn

The bitterness and pain inside me seems to increase.
"Hell" reappears to drive me crazy.
Sometimes I wonder why I don't die.
I talk to God, I ask why, why, why?
I read the card my daughter gave me: trust God and live for him.
Let me tell you - it's not easy, when my head spins it makes me nauseous.
I cried until there were no more tears and the days turned into years.
I gave for my country, but my country failed me.
We were young and sent to war.
When we left, the Ole government closed the door.
I am grateful for the family, the dogs and the weapons; because I don't have big kids!
I am alone a lot, but I feel safe at home.
Sometimes I feel good when I write.
I can't explain the wound that won't heal, but it's always there and it's very real!
I know that when I am gone and "home" I will never feel so alone again.

A soldier

- Daniel Hahn, Anchorage, Alaska

I have no prior record, but I am currently serving in the South Dakota Army National Guard as a First Sergeant at Joint Forces Headquarters in Rapid City.

-George Hall, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I was promoted to ensign in the USNR on June 6, 1962, and immediately entered the Navy flight school in Pensacola, Florida. Training took place in Corpus Christi, TX, where I received my wings as a Naval Flight Officer in May of 1963. After flight training, I was assigned to the VR-7 at Moffett Field, California. Transport Squadrons attached to the Military Air Transport Command of the Air Force. During my three years in the VR-7, I accumulated just over 3,000 flight hours and 30 combat support missions throughout Vietnam.

-Ron Halverson, Madison, WI

This is something I don't usually talk about.

-Mike Hancock, San Antonio, Texas

When I returned from abroad, they sent me to Ft. Benning, Georgia. On more than one occasion, people protested at the doors and the windows had to be closed so as not to spit as they passed. I know that many soldiers agreed with the opinion of the protesters. One of my first jobs when I came back was as a warden in the trial of Lieutenant William Calley. He was the officer who gave the order to kill the civilians in the village of Mi Lai in Vietnam (den Nam!). I wasn't very impressed with Lt. Calley and found him pretty slow and didn't even deserve to be a "Spec 4". Despite his years of service, he was still a lieutenant. Businessmen in Columbus, GA treated him like a friend and a hero. He received free meals and other amenities. After being found guilty and placed under "house arrest" in his room, he could be seen peeking through the curtains. The attitude of the soldiers was mainly anti-war and almost all were waiting for the ETS (Expired Term of Service) since most of it had been drafted. There was always great camaraderie and mutual support among the soldiers. I joined the SD Army National Guard (34 years in the Guard, 37 years total) after leaving the regular Army and never again experienced the "brotherhood" in the Guard that we felt in the Army during the Vietnam War. During the war we were eager to survive and help each other, and we were not inclined to form networks and "politics" to "climb the ranks". I was a platoon sergeant when I was just an E4. That was a lot of responsibility and a real eye opener!!

-Kenneth Hargens, Rapid City, South Dakota

I joined the US Navy in 1972 in Sioux Falls, SD. It passed through a Westpac home port in White Beach, Okinawa aboard the USS Blueridge LCC-19. I am very proud to have served in the Vietnam War. The Blueridge was instrumental in the evacuation of military and civilian personnel when Saigon fell. I am a member of the American Legion in my hometown of Colome, SD and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Winner, SD.

- Joseph H. Harmacek, Aurora, Colorado

I was a stupid kid in the wrong place!

-Kenneth Hauge, Alexandria, South Dakota

A History of Vietnam - May - June 1970

Bob Heier Story - US Army Sergeant - B5/12 - 199th Light Infantry Brigade

Bravo and Charlie Companies of the 5th Battalion, 12th Infantry - 199th Light Infantry Brigade invaded Cambodia on May 12, 1970 as part of the Cambodia Offensive of May-June 1970. We reached a place named LZ Brown about 2 miles inside Cambodia.

It was almost dark when Bravo Co. arrived by helicopter. The LZ consisted of mud and dirt thrown in a circle the size of a football field about 4 feet high. The jungle was close to the limit. The Ho Chi Minh Trail was about 100 meters from the LZ.

The companies, along with an 81mm mortar unit, prepared for the night with traveling flares and clay mines. Defense positions were erected around the perimeter, which were to be guarded by soldiers at night.

Around midnight the rain stopped and around 3:00 a.m. North Vietnamese Army soldiers from the 174th NVA Regiment attacked. The fighting continued past 6 a.m. m. (dawn), supported by a Cobra fighter jet, a "Spooky" fighter jet, and Luftwaffe aircraft. It was an uphill battle that the American soldiers ultimately won. This was just the beginning of the time of the 199th LIB in Cambodia. We stayed there until June 25, 1970. The first night was only the beginning of two long and difficult months of war.

However, the offensive in Cambodia aided the efforts in Vietnam, as many NVA supplies and weapons were captured or destroyed. They used these supplies and weapons to supply their troops and the Viet Cong in South Vietnam.

After serving in the B5/12 as an Infantryman (Grunt), Sergeant Heier served with the 1st Air Cavalry Division at Phuoc Vinh upon the 199th's return to the United States. He served 14 months in the Republic of Vietnam, including two months in Cambodia.

-Robert Heier, Destrehan, LA

Richard's service at Fort Meade, Maryland included: 1) John F. Kennedy's funeral march on November 25, 1963, 2) security during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom led by Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28, 1963, and 3) security for the Beatles' first landing in the United States on September 2, 1964.

-Richard Herman, Dakota del Sur

He enlisted on November 29, 1945 in the Marine First Class. She premiered on January 17, 1947. She was then drafted back into the army in 1951.

-Richard Hoff, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I was originally assigned to go to Vietnam, but when I got to the receiving station in Oakland, I was diverted to Okinawa. My MOS was 64 Charlie, a trucker. Okinawa was returned to the Japanese in May 1972 and they needed a lot of pilots. It was Easter 1972, I always felt angels kiss me! May God bless all those who were not as lucky as me and gave their lives for our freedom.

- Richard Jacobsen, Leader, SD

After battalion boot camp and lockdown, I began training as a Marine Raider with Weapons Platoon, Hotel Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines on Okinawa. We went to Fuji, Japan from January 23 to February 8, 1965 for cold weather training. We returned to Okinawa to train Jungle Drum III, an amphibious landing exercise conducted jointly by the US and Thai navies. As part of the battalion's raid specialists, I left the Philippines early to board the troop-carrying submarine USS Perch bound for the target area. After Operation Jungle Drum, while at sea in the USS Lenawee troop transport, we were notified that we would be landing in South Vietnam.

On April 10, 1965, we made an amphibious landing at Beach Red Two. While we were in Vietnam, we received visits from General Walt, General Westmoreland, and Secretary of Defense McNamara. By the end of this key operation, approximately one month later, effective Viet Cong resistance had been eliminated and, for the first time in six years, the battalion's area of ​​action, an area of ​​100 square miles and its population of approximately 20,000 Vietnamese, was restored under the control of the government of the Republic of Vietnam. Although not realized at the time, the highly successful peacekeeping and reconstruction efforts would gain worldwide notoriety and set the pattern for similar operations to be carried out by other 3rd Marine Division organizations. I served in Operations Starlight and Harvest Moon. The battalion withdrew and I was transferred to the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, which became known as the "Walking Dead"... and that's another story.

- Dale Jensen, Harrisburg, SD

In the spring of 1966, while attending Beadle General State College, I received a new 1A reclassification bill. My father, who was a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II, advised me not to be drafted into the Army or Marines, but into the Navy because as a draftee, I would be safe in Vietnam instead of being recruited into the Navy. ship on the shore. I joined the Navy and after boot camp they sent me to a teaching hospital in San Diego where I became a husband in the hospital. Since the Navy provides all medical personnel for the Marine Corps, I have never been on a ship off the coast of Vietnam, but I have been ashore with a battalion of privates. I have participated in Operation Bold Mariner, Defiant Measure, Oklahoma Hills, and Taylor Common. Operation Bold Mariner was the largest amphibious assault since the Korean War.

The year I spent in Vietnam caring for the sick and wounded was the most rewarding year of my military service. The Marines I have served with have been excellent and professional and I am honored to have served with them and I thank you all. Forever.

Thank you South Dakota,

Tony "Doc" Johannesen

- Dean Johannesen, Edgeley, Dakota del Norte

I attended school at Evergreen Country and Lake Preston and spent a year in Arlington (5th grade). I finished tenth grade and then enlisted in the Navy in August of 1962, where I completed GED courses. On June 7, 1963, he was a member of President Kennedy's Honor Guard while serving at Point Mugu, California. I was also a member of the drill team. We have performed at various shows in California.

From Point Mugu I transferred to USS Whitfield County LST 1169 based in Yokosuka, Japan. I was aboard the Whitfield for nearly two and a half years. I have been to and from Vietnam many times. The first time we went beyond the Gulf of Tonkin and we landed troops at DaNang and in May 1965 elements of the 4th Marine Regiment and the 3rd Whitfield County Reconnaissance Battalion landed at Chu Lai, Vietnam. It was the largest amphibious combat operation since Korea in 1950. I was discharged in April 1966 and went to work for John Morrell in Sioux Falls. I met my wife Julie at the Barrell Drive Inn in Sioux Falls, where she was an employee. We lived in Huron and DeSmet, SD and Jasper and Pipestone, MN. I became Deputy Sheriff for Pipestone County, MN in November 1974 and retired June 30, 1995. I now work at McDonald's and am responsible for Pipestone's maintenance department. I enjoy spending time with my wife, children, and grandchildren.

-Roger Johnson, Pipestone, Minnesota

There is no story, just there. It was a strange time in my life and it made a huge impression on me. I'm glad to be home.

-Michael Johnson, Sioux Falls, SD

As an occupational therapist, I worked in the beach pavilion with Vietnam Veterans returning home with amputations. I tried to provide the treatments and exercises that would strengthen a limb so that a splint or prosthesis could be used. I would make splints that would help them do things in a new way... different from when they were full before Vietnam. I also worked in the Burn Unit of the Institute of Surgical Research (BAMC). At the time, it was only one of two cremation units in the world that could treat horribly burned Vietnam soldiers. The diet consisted of watermelon and beer to keep the kidneys working. The temperature in the crematorium was 78 degrees and all that could be seen were burned bodies with black skin exposed to ambient air (sheets could not be used to cover the bodies) or covered with grafts of real pigskin. The pigs whose skin was used for these grafts were raised and cared for there at the BAMC elsewhere. Survival rates were very low, but the care was far superior and impeccable. It cost $3,000 to launch the specially equipped plane used to transport these badly burned soldiers, and the cost increased with every minute and every employee on board the plane. Everyone knew that this was the least that could be done to help these burn victims. "War", "Letters from Dear John", "Youth", "Disability", "Rejection" and "Sacrifice". All these words are synonymous with "Vietnam".

- Darrel Johnston, Sioux Falls, SD

I was drafted into the US Army in September 1965 at the age of 20. After basic training and medical school, I was transferred to the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis WA. I was transferred to Vietnam on troop ships in the fall of 1966. I was on a two-ship with 4,000 other troops; The journey took 23 days in overcrowded conditions. When we arrived in Nah Trang, we disembarked from the USS Gordon on the LST landing craft, just like the WWII beach landings. Two to three feet of water was thrown at us, we got drenched and didn't seem to get completely dry from that point until we returned to SD a year later. From the beach we were put on C130 planes for the 45 minute ride to Tuy Hoa. We were so tight on our feet that some of the soldiers at our feet fainted from the heat. We landed on the steel mesh train and were greeted by Vietnamese who tried to sell us fruit, soft drinks, and camouflaged insignia of the 4th Infantry. Our base camp was established on the beach and the land was very flat, sandy and desert until we reached the mountain range 15 miles inland. Temperatures reached 120 F. In addition to being a doctor, he was also a skilled trucker traveling from Kontum in the north to Saigon in the south. It gave me the chance to see rice fields, jungles, mountains, rubber plantations, scenic coastlines with ruins of French buildings and civilians in their daily lives. After six months, our unit moved to Pleiku in the Central Highlands. It was very different with the dense jungle and monsoon weather. During this part of my journey I was much more involved in the medical field, working in aid stations and as a line medic in the infantry. Our primary mode of transportation was the Huey helicopter, and during mass extinction times we used the twin-engine Chinook. Malaria was a constant threat, so we took quinine pills once a week and slept under mosquito nets whenever possible. On a night patrol, I got bitten on my face by several mosquitoes and couldn't shave for a week, but luckily I didn't get malaria. At the end of my tour, I had a three-day break in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A soldier's tour of Vietnam lasted a year, and if you were in the country less than 30 days, you were known as a "temporary temp." This was a very eventful time as many lives were lost and no place was safe enough to be considered safe. Eventually my rotation time came and I left the medical company on separate orders and flew to Cam Ranh Bay to be transferred back to the United States. During my time in Vietnam, I became very interested in flying, and while doing external editing at Cam Rahn, I learned about the GI bill, that flying planes was a new part of the law. This GI bill later allowed me to earn my commercial pilot license along with instrument, instructor, and airframe ratings. I left Vietnam in a four-engine Douglas DC-8 plane. The day I left Vietnam it was very bright and hot; giving us our last taste of heat and sweat as we stood on the ramp waiting for loading. Everyone in line was very quiet during loading and takeoff.

At altitude, the pilot turned the plane around and gave us one last look at Vietnam. He then he announced that we were safe from the ground fire and at that moment there was no silence because we all knew that we had survived the tour and were really coming home. I weighed 182 pounds leaving the United States and was 151 pounds upon return; Well, I think the year was not that easy for me, but it was still an experience. I returned to South Dakota seven days after leaving my company in Vietnam.

-Roger Jorgenson, Woonsocket, SD

I was also in the 698th Army ORD Company in Korea.

-Gordon Jungwirth, Carson City, NV

Pacific Stars and Stripes

Saturday December 18, 1967

"Good Luck on the Truck"

DONG HA, Vietnam (ISO) – Cpl. Joseph G. Kavanagh of Colma, California, twice drove a truck that was blown up by the enemy, each time he escaped without serious injury.

On November 23, a 15-pound plastic mine destroyed the tractor Kavanagh was driving on Highway 9 east of Cam Lo.

Kavanagh and two other Marines in the cabin were briefly trapped when the gas tank caught fire. However, the fire was quickly extinguished.

Kavanagh's first experience of mining was in June along Highway 1 south of the naval base at Camp Evans.

The enemy fired a 250 pound commando detonation bomb which destroyed the 2 1/2 ton truck he was driving.

Kavanagh is a trucker for the 11th Eng. Bn. He joined the Marine Corps in September 1965 and has been in Vietnam for seven months.

While serving with 2nd Battalion, Golf Company on Operation Beacon Guide, Thua Thien Province (21-26 July 1967). It was my first week at a line company, I volunteered for Walking Point. I was too far ahead of the column when it went up a hill and got caught in a crossfire. I zigzagged back and forth across the hill yelling "Oh s..." "Oh s..." at the top of my lungs and lo and behold, Private Ben Balonas and the first fire crew arrived and used it to set up a fire base I was able to get out of the situation free. Ben was one of four brothers serving in Vietnam at the same time, and Ben's uncle was President of Mexico at the time. To honor his nephews, the four brothers and I were invited to a presidential banquet in Mexico City. I did not attend this event. I recently got in touch with Ben, after 37 years he hasn't changed one bit as usual.


- Joseph Kavanagh, Rapid City, South Dakota

I was a television technician and worked until late at night. 18 hour days was the norm. The return home was not good. I saw some things I didn't want to see. But for the most part it was good. I was just trying to keep the TV/radio on the air.

- Michael Knutson, Vermillion, SD

Hercules 46C20 Rocket Mechanic

—James Kooiman, Elk Point, Dakota del Sur

He had previously served in the South Dakota National Guard from 1962 to 1966 and was exempt from conscription. I enlisted in the Navy to serve in Vietnam because a lot of recruits didn't want to serve. I supposed that a volunteer was worth two or three calls against his will.

A few years after my discharge from the Navy, I rejoined the National Guard in South Dakota. I was later sent to the Air Force Reserve, from which I retired in 1995. I returned to active duty during Desert Storm from March 4 to May 31, 1991.

-William Kotila, Rapid City, South Dakota

It was an honor to serve. I also have 4 brothers who, like me, were in the military at the same time during the Vietnam conflict.

- Robert Kuemper, Sioux Falls, SD

I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve my country. I have served in the IAARNG since my time in the Navy from 1968 to 1972. Joined March 5, 1983 and retired July 31, 1999 as E6 Sergeant. I served in the Gulf War from December 1990 to May 1991. I am also pleased to say that both of my daughters also served in the military. Mandy spent seven years in the Navy and Lisa spent four years in the Navy.

-Daniel Kulbel, Carroll, IA

Born August 26, 1950 in Belle Fourche, SD. Lived and studied in SD until 1966. Drafted into Army 1970. Served in reserve after service until Feb 26, 1976. Entire family including grandparents who lived in Horse Creek near Newell are all from Dakota from the south.

-Duane Kumpula, Lincoln, NE

Raised in South Dakota but recruited in Nebraska. Born June 10, 1949 in SD, he lived in SD until 1966 and enlisted in the military in 1968. He grew up just 21 miles east of Pierre on Blunt. The whole family is from South Dakota, including my grandparents who lived in Horse Creek near Newell. The brother, who lives near Bell Fourche, also served in the SD Army.

-Harry Kumpula, Lincoln, Ne

I worked on nukes, on nukes, on nukes on nukes; Day and night in these #@$ @#$@ @#$%$#@ nuclear weapons.

- Milo Ladwig, Milbank, South Dakota

I was very proud to have served my country. I spent 18 months in Vietnam and came home with no regrets.

-William Lampman, Pickstown, SD

During my time in Vietnam, I mainly worked in the surgical department of the 22 Hospital in Chu Lai. I spent a month in Phu Bai and helped prepare and transfer the unit to the 22nd Surgical Hospital. We spent a day in the South China Sea moving an LST ship about five or six miles offshore between Phu Bai and Chu Lai, putting us out of range of artillery fire. I stayed with a reserve unit outside of Sioux Falls upon my return from Vietnam to help train local units with their training.

- Myron Lang, Washington, IL

The day we committed suicide:

My ship, the USS Waddell DDG-24, was stationed in the Gulf of Tonkin. Our primary role was fire support for I Corp Marines and ARVIN troops along the DMZ. We got a call from the Fire Department and expended over 200 rounds of 5" ammo when our forward gun mount missed a shot and didn't fire. The damage control team was called in to spray coolant down the barrel to keep it from "boiling over." After a few minutes of cooling down, the GLO "weapons liaison officer" placed his hand on the barrel and indicated that the barrel had cooled down and that it was okay to lower the barrel and discharge any accumulated cooling water from the barrel. fired and the 5-inch round hit our winch and snapped it in half. Fortunately, the grenade didn't fly far enough to arm, and the only personal casualties were ruptured eardrums among the damage control team members. No It goes without saying that we get a lot of headaches from other ships in the area.

-Donald Langum, Brookings, Dakota del Sur

I have served in Korea, Turkey, Germany, and Vietnam. In Vietnam I served in the 101st Airborne Division. War is hell, but the guys who fought in it, no matter the branch, we all go home as brothers forever.

- Ernest LaPointe, leader, SD

E Company had two platoons of M29s, 81mm mortars, and a reconnaissance platoon. I was an E-5 Sergeant from Ft. Benning, Georgia, but I was a FO (forward observer) at Co. C, 1-501 PIR most of the time. I went out with A Company once and luckily they sent me out with some new guys and a pipe. At that time I was working at the FDC (Central de Fogo). I was the only guy trained as a FO and FDC.

As Mortar FO, it would patrol with the rifle companies and provide covering fire if we were hit. This would include defensive orientation (DT) for night defense positions. When it hit at night, we adjusted the fire of the DTs, and that included firing lighting shells to light up the area. The mortars fired were usually from the Fire Support Bases (FSB) or in some cases from a cannon we had with us in the field. From these positions, we patrol these areas during the day, looking for evidence of the enemy. We usually didn't stay more than two nights in the same area, because the longer we stayed in a position, the more time the enemy had to plan and coordinate an attack on that position. Being fickle in nature was the name of the game.

During the monsoon season, the South East Asian winter, we came down from the mountains because our helicopter support could not supply or cover us due to cloudy and rainy skies. Back then we patrolled and raided the lowlands between the jungle and the villages. The nights were so cold and I remember my lips turning blue and my teeth chattering from the cold. We were always wet, if not from the sweat of the day, at least from the falling rain.

In the lowlands we set up ambushes every night. We would look for NVA coming into the villages or their supplies coming out of the villages. Everyone knew the rules... there was no movement at night. Whether it's in the mountains or an ambush in the lowlands, we set up our claymore mines every night and set up trip beacons to let us know if anything's out there. As soon as a flare went off we fired our claymores, followed by as many rifles and machine guns as we could. The one who shoots the most balls usually wins. As a FO, I would call lighting first and adjust HE (High Explosive) if necessary. Of course, I had to protect myself with my own rifle in all of this.

Easter night 1970, after spending three nights in a row in the same NDP (Night Defensive Position)...not good, the NVA ambushed us around two or three in the morning and passed us shortly thereafter. After knocking them off the hill in hand-to-hand combat, we fired our mortar in the handheld position so we could fire more shells closer to our position. We spent all the laps we had, thank God they didn't come back after that.

Aside from the firefights and ambushes I was involved in as a range officer, I think my run was pretty standard. I shot DT at night and Illumination when they caught up with us. Of course I would also shoot and customize HE ammo.

In the FSB Bullet we were surrounded by the NVA for three days. We fired almost continuously and wasted a lot of ammo. They told us that he killed a lot of EVN as there was a lot of blood outside the perimeter.

When I was with FDC at FSB Bastogne one night, we were shooting DTs at other units in the field. The first round was always a WP (White Phosphorus) round in case there was an error with the previous data. WP ammo has a smaller blast radius than HE ammo. I remember telling my friend Joe, the squad leader, to go ahead and shoot. The next thing I heard was a "pop" with a different sound. It wasn't the normal sound of a bullet being fired. Right after that I heard Joe scream. I came out of the FDC bunker and saw it burst into flames and come at me. A sergeant (E-6) in the bunker closest to Joe pushed him down a muddy slope. He tried to put out the fire that had engulfed our friend. The E-6 burned her hands so badly that she was taken to the Burn Center in Ft. He was evacuated. Sam Houston, Texas. We hear that he received the Soldier's Medal for this action. Out of a squad of five, only one, the gunner, was not badly burned or killed. He was crouching down and looking into his field of vision when the bullet hit him.

Three other kids and I carried Joe on a stretcher to the aid station, slipping and sliding in the mud the whole time. When we got there, the doctor told us to leave. I came back later to see what they were doing to my friend and to comfort him. I stuck my head into the store and heard Joe say that he could go home now and see his newborn son and his wife. That was the last thing Joe said and I heard it.

Joe Escandon came from a small town in Texas. He was a good, decent guy and my good friend.

I will never forget Joe and have shared this story with my family and friends. Coincidentally, one of my friends was quite impressed by this story and asked if I had told Joe's family. I told him that all I knew about Joe was that he was from Texas, so he went online and found out that his daughter still lives in Texas. I ended up calling Joe's son and telling him how his father died and that his last thoughts were with him and his mother. That was a very difficult thing.

- Carl Larson, Surprise, AZ

The 85th maintenance company in DaNang allowed local Vietnamese to enter the complex every day and work in small buildings the size of a typical garden shed. You can wash your clothes or cut your hair. I needed a haircut for the first week after arriving in DaNang. I took my time and went to the Vietnamese hairdresser. He was a very open person who spoke English almost as well as I did. He used a razor, comb, and scissors to cut my hair and shave my neck. It was the usual conversation; Who are you? Where it is? How long have you been in Vietnam? What is your job? What is it like where you live in the United States? I kept talking while he cut my hair and shaved my neck. I paid him and went on with my day. That night we were involved in a shooting and missile attack. When the dust settled and the bodies were brought in, there was the barber who had the razor to my neck that day. From then on, I conducted my conversations with people I knew.

-Roy Lindsay, Madison, Dakota del Sur

DD257MC discharged in honorable conditions. It didn't work for a long time.

- Andrew Kleiner Mond, Timber Lake, SD

On December 4, 1967, with a crew of five volunteers and a "Snoopy" machine, we agreed on flight techniques that would best locate and disperse three to four battalion-sized NVA units advancing from the Cambodian border. , southwest of Hill 875, en route to our DakTo Fire Support Base Camp (FSB) for an attack during the holiday season. As pilot in command, I told my crew that our lives would be in much greater danger, but if we located and dispersed this enemy, it would save many lives in the DakTo FSB camp. We were flying our mission successfully when, on our last standard leg, very heavy cannons were fired at us, severely crippling our flight controls and setting the aircraft on fire.

With chaos throughout the cabin and cargo area, the plane inevitably struck a tree 70 feet off the ground. I was catapulted forward in the pilot's seat through the instrument panel and windshield and through the triple jungle, landing 100 feet from the crash site. All four of my crew were killed in action (KIA). Their selfless and courageous sacrifice is a great honor for each of them. I will find no greater privilege than to have served in battle with such great warriors.

Our mission accomplished... we located and dispersed this massive advance of enemy soldiers... The DakTo FSB camp did not lose a single life during an enemy attack on Christmas.

-Charles Livermont, Cheyenne, Wyoming

Not a story, but South Dakota was my home from grade school to high school and back to college after leaving the military. My daughter and her family still live there. There will be many stories, mine is not important.

-Stephen Mahanna, Huntington Beach, CA

My father joined the military as a young man and served from 1951 to 1953. He served his country in Korea and also attended school in Japan. After serving in the Army, he joined the Air National Guard unit in Sioux Falls, SD in 1962, where he served in that department until 1988, when he retired as an MSSGT from the communications center. My father served his country with great respect and dignity. He had his hard moments in life, but also a lot of joy. He met and married my mother after divorcing his first wife. Together my father had four grandchildren and my mother also had four granddaughters and then they had me. I want to honor my dad as he is the tallest man I know and my HERO in real life. Thank you dad for everything you have done and continue to do.

-Richard Mathiesen, Chester, Dakota del Sur

We served, well or badly, we did what our country asked for.

- Dennis McKnelly, Cha, SD

SD Army National Guard August 26, 1976 to October 11, 1996 retired with the rank E-7.

- Dean McQuay, Rapid City, South Dakota

I was a nuclear engineer working as chief mechanic on the propulsion system for the No. 3 reactor. We were in the Gulf of Tonkin. It was Christmas Eve 1972 and we were flying missions over North Vietnam in an attempt to turn the tide of the war with saturation bombs. We went to the canteen to get our food but there were no tables because the canteen deck was full of bombs. So we got a chair and put our tray on a £1000 bomb and ate our Christmas dinner. Some wrote nasty messages about the bombs, but the captain soon stopped the practice. Fortunately, that was my darkest memory of the war.

-David Mensch, Sioux Falls, SD

A test round filled with surplus WWII German ammunition destroyed a rifle I fired, and the extreme recoil slashed the retina in my right eye. The accident gave me the opportunity to avoid serving in Vietnam. I told the doctors that I would rather do my duty than let someone else take my responsibility. I have served in the country for 10 months.

-William Miller, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

FATE is the name of the story. During a large joint airstrike on the NVA target, preparatory fire started the day before and ceased 30 minutes before the attack. The area was prepared with naval fire, B-52, artillery and finally F-4. The combined lift was over 50 RVNs and US Hueys. The given landing zone was so blown up and the visibility was so bad that we had to land in an alternate area to deploy the troops. When the ground forces reached the original LZ, they found and captured a large number of AAA weapons that had been secured in caves during preparation and later released in the air raid ambush. The NVA knew our plan of attack and would have inflicted heavy losses if the preparatory fires had not disabled the LZ for us. Fate saved our bacon. Since then, I have been personally interested in American spy stories.

-Dennis Miller, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

He volunteered for military service in 1969 and went to Vietnam in February 1970. He served with the 9th Infantry Division in the Delta as an RTO. In May 1970 he traveled to Cambodia by order of President Nixon. It was this outing that sparked the riots and shootings at Kent State University. On May 26, 1970, a third of my company was killed or wounded in Cambodia. In September the 9th Infantry was discharged and I was assigned to the US Infantry Division until DEROS came home on Super Bowl Sunday 1971. Since 1979 I have worked as a Realignment Counseling Therapist for the SD Department of Veterans Affairs (website coming soon). Service program (Veterinary Center) that helps war veterans and their families in the difficult process of rehabilitation. I am proud of all my fellow fighters who continue to persevere and succeed.

- Jerry Muhs, Brandon, Dakota del Sur

Note the name change from Campbell to Murphy. It was a legal name change by the court.

-David Murphy, Sioux Falls, Dakota del Sur

Life is good

On January 16, 1968, I was drafted into the United States Army and met a stranger from DeSmet who became my brother.

On a bus to Sioux Falls for induction, Lyle Bowes took the only vacant seat next to me and we stayed together for the next two years, through basic and advanced training (11C—mortars) at Fort Lewis, Washington. our trips to Vietnam and my hospitalization at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver.

Lyle and I arrived in Vietnam in June 1968 and were assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment (Red Warriors), 4th Infantry Division in the Central Highlands (II Corps). Our base camp was at Pleiku (Camp Enari), but we spent the entire jungle trek from Dak To and Kontum in the north to Ban Me Thout and Duc Lap in the south. Charlie Company conducted many operations including search and destroy, combat assaults, ambushes, sweeps, blocking force, long range reconnaissance patrol (LRRP) and fire support base security. I have led many four man LRRP teams consisting of four days of hiding while watching the "little people" (NVA - North Vietnamese Army).

On April 20, 1969, our company wounded two NVA soldiers during a search and kill operation near Kontum. My squad followed one of the wounded NVA soldiers for his blood trail with me to the point that I took a couple of bullets to the right side of my body. I played dead but was worried as I couldn't feel my legs so I gently lifted my head to make sure my legs were pinched and an NVA soldier with 30 rounds got loose and one of his bullets hit me in the right ankle. I could see the other bullets explode out of the ground, two, three inches away, and up my right side. I grabbed the vines and ducked behind a tree to hide. Train medic Mike "Doc" McCarthy killed the NVA soldier who shot us and then bandaged up SGT. First Class Lightfoot and myself.

Lyle and two men came to help Doc. Lyle ripped two small trees out of the ground, then wrapped the ends in a poncho to make a stretcher that could carry me about a quarter of a mile. Six soldiers from my company were also injured that day. Two hours later a medical helicopter arrived to take us out of the jungle, but there was no landing zone so dust was hanging over the treetops and he planned to take us out one by one in a basket, but there were shots again and the Dust outside could not stop. The pilot told the captain that they would try again in the morning.

So Lyle dug a shallow hole to protect me, as we thought the NVA would overrun our position during the night. Lyle tried to help me all night, but we ran out of morphine around 2 am, so I squeezed Lyle's arm when the pain got worse. He was very thirsty but could get little water due to my internal injuries. One of the other injured, a Pennsylvania boy named Sy, was hit in the stomach and died before the helicopter arrived in the morning. Fourteen hours later, at 7:30 am, the helicopters are back! I remember lying in the basket and going around in circles as the helicopter blades spun overhead. Five days later I found out that I would never walk again. BUT he was alive and that was all that mattered.

I owe it to my faith in Jesus Christ and my friend Lyle Bowes that kept me alive. I spent the next 14 months in four hospitals (71 Evacuation Hospital in Vietnam, 106 Army Hospital in Japan, Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, and the VA Medical Center in Milwaukee), finally returning home in June 1970. .

When I returned to White, my family and friends welcomed me with open arms. Three of my brothers and many cousins ​​served during the Vietnam era conflict. Also, when I got back to White, there were six other Vietnam vets, including Lyle, running together… like a bunch of brothers.

I have good and bad memories of my work shift. They all worked together and depended on each other for survival. My experience in Vietnam stayed with me and I took advantage of this experience positively. For the past thirty years, I have worked with disabled American Veterans to ensure that my brothers and sisters receive the benefits and services they deserve.

Life is really simple when you look at the big picture. I always tell my wife and daughter that life is good when I have clean water, clean bathroom, clean clothes and food every day.

- Gene Murphy, Sioux Falls, SD

He enlisted in the Navy from December 1974 until January 10, 1975.

-John Muscat, Sioux Falls, SD

An Airborne Ranger Infantry Rifle platoon commander who was on duty in Vietnam, 1Lt. Najacht joined the S.D. Army National Guard in Hot Springs after being separated from active duty in 1972. He served 15 years in the S.D. Army National Guard before transferring to the Nebraska Army National Guard in early 1987. He retired with the rank of colonel in Lincoln, Nebraska. in October 1999.

-Charles Najacht, Custer, Dakota del Sur

I don't have a story, but I want to thank the people of South Dakota for the awards we received upon our return from service and for the opportunity to earn a degree from a state university. It will be much appreciated. Thank you.

-Scott Nash, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

Originally from Burke, SD

-Harvey Neilan, San Antonio, Texas

no history Born September 5, 1941 in Aberdeen, South Dakota. He lived in Putney, SD until June 1959, in Rapid City from June 1959 to June 1964. Graduated from SD School of Mines and Technology June 1964. Army ROTC in Mines. He worked ten months in St. Louis before entering active duty.

-Charles Nelson, Grand Junction, Colorado

At Quang Tre Base Camp, every night was like the 4th of July. Shots fired near the inside perimeter most nights. During the day we secure passages to unload supply ships. It was relatively quiet in DaNang, but we often had to go to the bunker at night due to mortar and rocket attacks. Outside of the war, it was a very beautiful country and I often enjoyed swimming in the South China Sea.

-Ritchie Nordstrom, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

Once, in the middle of nowhere, while checking out my combat engineers, a young man with his infantry unit passed by. He had "South Dakota" painted on his helmet. I talked to him for a few minutes.

A few weeks later, my father, then living in Rapid City, wrote that a young Marine came to his house and told me he had found me in the middle of nowhere. My family was very happy to hear about this young man. Typical South Dakota friendship.

-Larry O'Laughlin, Las Vegas, New Hampshire

My unit was responsible for training officers and candidates for service in Vietnam.

-James Olson, Glenham, Dakota del Sur

After graduating from high school, he joined the USMC and spent his first night at the old YMCA in Sioux Falls. The next morning I was processed and "filed" and took my first trip on a passenger plane to San Diego, California, where I went to boot camp at MCRD. After training I went to school in Oceanside at Camp Pendleton and was assigned to VMA 223 of the 3rd Marine Air Wing. Known as the Bulldog Squadron, VMA 223 was flying the A4E Skyhawk at the time. Like most naval fighter squadrons, VMA 223's primary role was to provide close-range support to ground forces. He attended many training courses at various West Coast Naval Air Stations, including two weeks at the Naval Air Weapons Combat School, where our pilots flew "pursuit planes" for the local "Top Gun" program. I left my body and went to Arizona State University on the GI Bill and moved to Houston, Texas where I still live. I currently own a consulting company that provides financial management services to community banks, primarily in Texas. Always faithful!

-Scott Opdahl, The Woodlands, Texas

My brother, Kenny H. Pearman, arrived in Vietnam about two months before I did. When I arrived in Vietnam the commanding officer wanted to send me home when I told him that I have a brother in the country. I said he wanted to stay so he made a statement to that effect and I signed it, he said he would send it to my brother and if he wanted to sign he or she could go home if he wanted to. Then they sent me to my unit in the mountains. After about four months in the country, I was allowed to fly to Anke in a helicopter and then to Cameron Bay in a C130 transport plane. From there I hitchhiked to my brother's company. He was very surprised to see me, since he did not know that he was coming. I couldn't believe how good the living conditions were for him and his company, since I was in the mountains and the jungle all the time. I had to stay three days and then I went back to my unit, my brother and his friends took me back to Cameron Bay so I wouldn't have to hitchhike.

While I was there I ran an errand with your company. He was with a shipping company and they were on the beach about 30 miles south of Cameron Bay. He drove a truck, we delivered some ammunition to the Cambodian border, which was on the other side of Vietnam, so we could do a mission together while we were there. I don't think many guys can say that. By the way, my brother said that he never saw the letter that they asked him to sign and he certainly never received an offer to go home, but he said that he signed anyway and stayed in the country. We were both honorably discharged in 1969. Unfortunately, my brother died in a fire in 1972 at the age of 25. Please think of him. Thank you Cpl James L Pearman

-James Pearman, Eagle Butte, Dakota del Sur

I was part of a Naval Advisory Group, Coastal Group #16. On the morning of August 7, 1967, Lieutenant Fitzgerald, my commanding officer, was assassinated in our bunker. USS Fitzgerald DDG 62 was named in his honor. In October 1995, the Navy invited my wife and me to Newport, Rhode Island, to attend the commissioning ceremony for this ship. I had the honor of presenting Long Glass to the officer on deck.

- Leo Pearman, Rapid City, South Dakota

I have typical Vietnam-era vet guilt about not being in the country. I served in Germany and was discharged, but lost, wounded or missed many "brothers" in combat. Today I am a Southern Baptist pastor, but many years before my life changed, I was an illegal drug dealer. The Vietnam era influenced me in many ways, but I was always proud of my comrades and "brothers" who sacrificed so much for so many.

If I can ever help, I'm here in South Dakota as president of the Set Free Chapter, Servants of Christ Chapter. I would be proud to participate in the parade with my comrades if I were allowed on my motorcycle. God bless America!

- Allen Peratt, Sioux Falls, SD

My reason for joining the military was to get a degree in electronics, and the Navy seemed to have the best offer. After more than a year of training, I was sent to sea. I was aboard the USS Albany for two years before sending her to the Boston Naval Shipyard for her refit. While the Albany was in the shipyards, I was transferred to the USS Little Rock, homeported in Gaeta, Italy. This service lasted about a year and a half before I was sent back to Albany for another two years. My job was to be a member of the team that would maintain and operate the Mk 111 computer system and peripherals that were part of the Talos missile system. On board the Albany, we participated in the recovery of the hydrogen bomb that was dropped off the coast of Spain when a bomber and a tanker truck collided while refueling. At Little Rock we were the flagship of the US Sixth Fleet at the time of the 1967 war between the Arab countries and Israel. In both situations we were the flagship, which meant we were not directly involved in the enemy action. In addition to the electronic training, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit many historical places throughout Europe.

After completing my stint in the Navy, I joined the Minnesota Army National Guard while attending the University of Minnesota and then joined the South Dakota Army National Guard after moving to South Dakota. After serving 15 years in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve, I finally retired from the military.

-David Peterson, Brookings, Dakota del Sur

AFSC: 46250, Weapons Specialist

-Gary Pierce, Jefferson, SD

He was also in the Navy.

-Wayne Plumman, Parmelee, South Dakota

I was a doctor in the first medical battalion. I served at the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a year and a half. W received many young people who were returning to the state in serious condition. Many of these young people were amputees, missing arms and legs, we helped where we could. After being assigned to field medical school, I was assigned to the 1st Medical Battalion, and lucky for me, they had just returned from Vietnam. I have never had to go to Vietnam, but I have heard many stories and seen the horrors of what can happen in war. I am proud to have done my part for my country and for my compatriots who served in Vietnam. I just hope that my small contribution has helped some of these young people through the difficult times they have had in the hospital.

-Robert Puthoff, Sioux Falls, Dakota del Sur

I served in the United States Army from March 20, 1969 to January 4, 1971. I was drafted as a military police officer. I worked for the Armed Forces Police in Brooklyn, New York for six months and then in South Vietnam for a year. I was assigned to the 173rd Airborne Division as a MP near the city of Bong Song in South Vietnam. He worked 12-hour shifts, either 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., seven days a week. I worked in patrols, I worked with VIPs and I worked at the military police station as a secretary of the MP; a receptionist.

I also worked in the Provost Marshall's Office doing administrative work, including gun registration. I also had to do security work at the prison. I saw Bob Hope's Christmas concert in December 1970 in DaNang, South Vietnam. I went to Australia in the last week of December 1970 to recuperate.

Overall, I found the experience of serving in Vietnam very rewarding and would do it again if asked. I am proud to be an American!!

- Kenneth Rausch, Pierre, South Dakota

I enlisted in the Marine Corps in September 1966. I wasn't waiting to be drafted, so I signed up. I went into training in September 1966 and in March 1967 in Vietnam. After seven months of fighting, I ended up in the hospital and was sent home. I have endured a lot of pain over the years, but I am grateful to have served my country. I have no regrets or rancor for those who spit on our flag and our service men and women. Thank you for this opportunity for Vietnamese vets to speak to us from the heart. I am proud to have served my country. Thank you

-Larry Ross, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

In addition to the large number of combat strike missions I flew, there were the occasional Rat F missions supplied by ARVNS and other ground forces. Usually a non-combat mission. As Peter Pilot (new pilot) took us to a very small LZ, the crew chief and I, the gate gunner, noticed that we were between two trees the size of two telephone poles. It looked like I had six inches left on my side before the main blade hit the tree and the crew chief said I had a foot to go. The rookie pilot froze and the AC (aircraft commander) immediately took control and shut off all power. We were about thirty feet off the ground and went down like a sack full of rocks, only to land on a tree stump, which promptly appeared between me and the crew chief at the bottom of the boat. After making sure everyone was okay, we unloaded the supplies and shut down the ARVNS to clear an insufficient LZ. Believe it or not, our AC got us off that stump and we limped back to Bearcat, our fire support base, with a massive hole in the bottom of that ship. As for the pilot who pulled us off that stump, well, I don't remember his name. All I can say is that he was good and I would fly to hell with him. There were times when I thought that.

-Randall Rowe, Hermosa, SD

Shortly after I turned eighteen and graduated from Webster High School, I enlisted in the Air Force. I was lucky because I didn't have to serve in Vietnam. I spent two and a half years as a security officer at the Bitburg airbase in Germany. I returned to Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, and was discharged from active duty in August 1973. After my honorable discharge, I attended college and earned my master's degree from South Dakota State University. If it wasn't for the GI bill, I would never have gone to college. Although I am a Vietnam era veteran, I have mixed feelings about attending the unveiling of the Vietnam War Memorial, as I have not actually served in Vietnam. This day must be special for those who risked their lives in Vietnam and I salute you!

- Anselm H. Rumpca, Pierre, SD

I was sent to Vietnam in the fall of 1968. I landed in DaNang and then sent to Phu Bai to join HMM-364. He then moved to Marble Mountain. I flew the CH-46 twin-rotor helicopter throughout my tour. I was the co-pilot when Bob Hope came to DaNang for Christmas 1968 and our helicopter took him and some of his artists. I had six good friends who were my teammates who never made it home to their families. Every time I travel to Washington, DC I try to visit his memorial at the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

I came home a few months ago because my wife died of a heart attack. The Marine Corps brought me home on emergency leave. On August 7, 1969, I buried my wife, Fran. She gave me two beautiful daughters. I later remarried and had a son, Robert Jr. In 1977 I retired from the Marine Corps and moved to Foley, AL.

While serving as a pilot in the Marine Squadron, I received the 1st DFC for January 1969, the 2nd DFC for March 1969, and the 3rd DFC for April 1969 for heroism and excellence in aerial flight while he was serving as a pilot in the helicopter squadron serving with Navy Mediums 364, Navy Aircraft Group Sixteen, 1st Navy Aircraft Wing in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. I arrived as the commander of a CH-46 transport helicopter with the mission of sending a casualty rescue team to an enemy-controlled jungle area west of An Hoa, where previous rescue attempts had failed due to heavy fire. When we were informed that the landing zone was full of obstacles, we decided to enter the team through a ladder and went to the designated place with the marines who were suspended below the plane. After executing a precise approach, we achieved a steady hover over the area and held our dangerously exposed position long enough to ensure the team was not endangered by enemy fire.

We conducted other routine operations in the time between deployment and extraction, and when we were told the team had recovered casualties and were ready to move, we re-attached the ladder to the helicopter and headed for the area. His second approach was complicated by the fact that the area was under enemy fire and the light ladder was swinging in the trees, forcing him to waste valuable time getting his plane up and down to free the entangling device. After twenty minutes of meticulous and careful maneuvering, the equipment and casualties were securely attached to the ladder, and Commander Schreiber, displaying exceptional piloting skill, deftly lifted his helicopter and cleared the fire-swept area. Major Schreiber's courage, superior aeronautical skills, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger were critical to accomplishing the vital mission and in accordance with the highest traditions of the United States Marine Corps and Naval Service.

Our headquarters consisted of a small hut, half occupied by two officers and the other half by two others. For a bathroom we had an 8 hole! And the showers were half a block away. We had a canteen and three hot meals a day. We had an outdoor movie screen for late night movies that were sometimes interrupted by enemy mortars.

He wasn't a monster, a warlord, or a rapist. I also did not cut off any limbs from Vietnamese civilians or military. I am proud of my contributions to saving the lives of my countrymen and countrymen.

-Robert Schreiber, Foley, Alabama

I knew I was going to be drafted because my numbers were going up and there didn't seem to be an end in sight, so I volunteered for the draft. I went to Fort Lewis, Washington for education and training, then came home for 30 days and left for Vietnam in June. I made a lot of good friends there... and saw a lot more than I ever wanted to see. To this day, I still hang out with the people I was with in Vietnam, my Sergeant John Perkins from Georgia. We were together for many years. I have raised four children with my wife Jane and have twelve grandchildren since July. I intend to attend the meeting and hope that everyone will have a memorable time.

It was a very happy day getting off the plane and finding myself in the great state of South Dakota. I wish things would have been different for us in Vietnam... but I guess that's life...

-Joseph Sedlacek, Scotland, SD

He reinstated from October 1981 to April 1992.

- Graf Shunkwiler, Stratford, South Dakota

Once Marina, always Marina!! "OORRAHH!"

-Raymond Skyberg, Valley Springs, SD

For me, Vietnam was a youthful adventure that took me through the spectrum of emotions I could experience: from boredom to excitement, fear, anger, loneliness, wonder, confusion, etc. "war horror" or any movie or book. What happened was a series of events, sounds, smells, sensations, etc. that still haunt me but are hard to describe to someone who has never been there. Like a bad joke that ends with "You had to be there, I guess," Vietnam was a "had to be there" experience to "get it."

I can tell specific stories about what it was like to be 19, alone in a hole at 3 a.m. with only one weapon against the dark: unable to see the men to my left or right and wondering who could watch me from there in the dark. - wondering what would happen in the next moment or in the next hour or night, but to understand it you would have to be there.

The things that happened often were neither good nor bad, they just happened: in helicopters, in bars, in the nearby barracks that the soldiers had to share. Often the events had nothing to do with the war, but with the people and what happened to them, between them and through them, in tense everyday situations.

For me, those sights, sounds, smells, memories, etc. they have never left. They are as real today as they were the day they happened. I am getting used to being "at peace" with what happened in Vietnam. at peace within me Well, I don't have great stories to tell... and that's my story for today.

-David Slaughter, Belle Fourche, Dakota del Sur

Some things are better left in the past. She lasted, she survived. Grateful for those who weren't so lucky to be able to write about it today.

-James Snow, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

My year as an Forward Air Controller in Vietnam feels as close to yesterday as possible and as far away from the world of South Dakota as possible. Much of what I remember burns like bombs and napalm aimed at its jungle-shrouded targets. It took over twenty years for a local veteran to live in a Ft. Meade memorial service told me, "Welcome home, brother." I am now excited to join the South Dakota Veterans at Pierre.

-James Speirs, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

communication specialist

- Michael Steckelberg, Elk Point, Dakota del Sur

I was a payroll clerk with the 4th Infantry Division at Camp Enari, near Pleiku. I served there from June 1968 to June 1969. Apart from office work, I also did guard duty, patrolling, and sweeping three times a week. I do not consider myself a "combat veteran."

-Arthur Stoner, Chandler, Minnesota

When I was stationed in Hawaii, the Vietnam War was still in its infancy. Hickam AFB was a staging point for all troops and fighter squadrons en route to Vietnam. I worked in the communications center located at the airline's base of operations. Due to the nature of the messages sent and received, we had to have top secret clearance. I remember thousands of soldiers on their way to war stopping at our canteen to rest and eat. At all hours of the day and night you could hear the sound of fighter jets coming and going. Ultimately, the shot-down helicopters were returned to Hawaii and parked on the flight line. It was hard to look at them and realize that the men had lost their lives flying in the helicopters. We have received many messages containing flight manifests for aircraft returning to the United States with the remains of soldiers killed in action. The names of the soldiers were on the lists; It was difficult for us in the communications center to see the death toll. Today I have friends who fought in Vietnam for a while and that war scarred many of them for life. I was lucky, I never saw my teammates fall behind. I salute all the men and women who served in Vietnam.

- Historia de LeRoy, Sioux Falls, Dakota del Sur

With satellites, cell phones and the Internet connecting today's soldiers with those back home, it will be hard for some to imagine that a year from now in the country, calling home will be a big problem. It was not easy. At Cam Rahn, I made an appointment for a three-minute phone call. The phone didn't work like the one you use at home. Your connection features two-way switching, so you can talk and listen whenever you want. There was a circuit from Vietnam. You would speak and when you were done you would say "END". The system operators would then change the system so that your parents can talk and you can listen. His parents said "Hello son, CHANGE" and so on. It wasn't a satellite link, it was a cable across the Pacific Ocean. Using a connection meant using that cable for three minutes all the way back to the United States. The luxury of hearing the voices of those at home for three minutes cost $27 in 1970, the same purchasing power that cost $139 in 2006. This award is a good indication of the importance of listening to others. House in addition to frequent letters. That dedication has similar value to many Vietnam veterans. It's been a long time and it's nice to know home.

- Randall Stuefen, Vermillion, Dakota del Sur

Flying as "Night Hawk Six" in an unarmed OV-1C Army Mohawk, I took the heavily loaded aircraft off the PSP's short runway and descended on the Chinese Black Sea in the early hours of what was expected to be a routine day. The annual "Tet" celebration began and rumors of a "ceasefire" with the Viet Cong and the NVA seemed possible, as had happened in previous years in this bizarre "counter-insurgency" war. For the past few nights, "Red Haze" missions (infrared camera operations) have been silent over the delta. Little did I know that the sinister plans were already being counted down to the last minute for anything other than a celebration that the Viet Cong believed would give them the entire South and result in a victory for the communist forces.

When I arrived at my destination near the border with Laos (checking the infiltration routes), absolutely nothing could predict the coming night, neither for me nor for my comrades in arms. I started the "race" at exactly 03:00 (3:00 am) by pressing the start button on the cameras. Almost immediately, emergency radios throughout my area began broadcasting "May Day" calls and airport closure announcements. Traces of rocket and small arms fire were seen through a black night, followed by flares and concerned reports of "Viet Cong inside the perimeter".

I thought with some humor that somehow the war had started again! The big VC/NVA offensive had started and I was on the border looking for intruders. In fact, they were already in cities, attacking airfields, US government installations, and South Vietnam. During my three-hour flight to designated destinations, I heard cries for help and anguish in the voices of air traffic controllers, medical teams, and civilian pilots who missed landing on final approaches to Saigon and other major airports. Vietnamese. The radio conversation with my "base" was indicative of events planned by our enemy: rocket and mortar attacks, followed by ground attacks. Losses were heavy and tension was building over whether he would have a safe place to land at the end of the night run.

On the way to "base" the Saigon skyline was ablaze with fire, smoke and tracers from the Huey helicopters trying to retake our US embassy. The approach to Vung Tau was much friendlier and I landed without incident, only to be investigated for casualties in our unit and the activation of contingency plans.

The Tet Offensive lasted for days and the ramifications were revealing: the enemy could rise up and penetrate our defenses at will, sending a clear signal to those resisting the war that we must leave. The "rest of the story" took another seven years to enact, but the result was what one would expect from a society that does not support its military.

I returned to the United States a few months later, leaving many of my friends in Vietnam who did not want to return. It wasn't until years later, when I returned in search of a close friend lost in the days after the Tet Offensive of '68, that I found peace and closure from those days spent in Vietnam. Despite the losses, I am convinced that we have given a very needy people what was expected.

Today there is peace in Vietnam and I am happy with the cost of the war. I made six postwar trips to Vietnam and will probably return again for one "last mission"... to find my friend's remains.

"It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Words of Jesus).

-Dennis Stüssi, Centreville, VA

A career in the US Navy was one of the best decisions I've ever made. The leadership skills I learned have helped me many times throughout my military career and in my civilian endeavors.

-David Stunes, Burlington, Washington

I joined in 1968 out of patriotism and because I wanted to make a difference. I never forgot. I cried for the casualties I knew, I was with Richard Whyte from Rapid City, I was lost but not forgotten. I served with Duc Pho, LZ Bronco, 11th LIB and then Chu Lai in the American Division. I was young and didn't understand it, but I was proud to tell my friends that I was from South Dakota and Pierre. We sat down to tell stories about our hometowns and got lost thinking about how much time we had left in the country. What would we do if we returned to the United States? Interestingly, I spent my first night back in the United States in a convent visiting my favorite cousin who was a nun. I have never been ashamed of what I have done for my country, my state, my hometown, my family. I have forgiven but I have not forgotten. Never!!!!!!

- Delbert Templeton, New Baunfels, Texas

My ship, the USS Galveston (CLG-3), provided gunfire support for three consecutive days during the Navy's first major amphibious assault on Vietnam. It was called Operation Starlight (August 18-24, 1965).

-David Trandal, SD

When I left for DaNang, I flew in from San Bernardino, California. I chose my blue dress. I knew it was a mistake when we landed on Guam. I got off the plane and almost passed out from the heat. I really knew it was a mistake when we landed in DaNang! So I had to stand at the airport for several hours in my blue dress and wait to be picked up. Being 'new', looking around and wondering when the rockets were coming, in the blue dress and all the short term bikers laughing in the distance, I must have been quite the sight!

-Steve Van Houten, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I was recruited in 1969 with my brother Dave. He was about 6 months ahead of me in graduating college before me. He did basic and infantry training at Fort Lewis. In the last week of the foundation, everyone with a college degree was brought into the living room for a chat. A noncommissioned officer offered us a deal: we could cross the street as infantry or enlist as helicopter pilots for three years. They all crossed the road to the infantry.

After completing AIT, I think everyone in the battalion went to Vietnam except for two of us. I was sent to Korea because my brother Dave was in Vietnam before me. I spent 14 months in Korea and was assigned to the United Nations Command as a security and ceremonial guard. We were responsible for the security of the CINC Pacific Forces and performed ceremonies for dignitaries and pulled the security of the DMZ. Everyone in the marching platoon was an infantryman, had a college degree, was at least 6 feet tall, and could get a security clearance. They were all motivated. I remember that the company commander gave the wrong order during a departure ceremony. The next morning he left for Vietnam.

I still have a bad taste in my mouth when I think about the attitude of those who spat on us when we came back and told us everything you don't want to see repeated. My colleagues, my friends and my brother gave their all and should not be treated with anything less than the highest honor: THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE TO THIS STATE AND THIS NATION.

- Curt Voight, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I am not an SD veteran but would like to attend and represent VVA Chapter 145 in Jamestown, ND.

-LeRoy Wegenast, Jamestown, Dakota del Norte

I didn't see any action in Vietnam though; I served in the Navy during the very tense period of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was in a squadron of patrols that scoured the waters for Russian ship and submarine traffic. Our job was to locate, photograph, and track the ships that were trying to break the blockade to bring nuclear weapons to Cuba. I am proud to serve my country and the United States Navy.

- Vincent Wienk, Marlin, Dakota del Sur

Scott AFB was the headquarters of the Military Airlift Command and as such had all the C-9 hospital planes returning wounded soldiers from Vietnam. There was a base hospital where he worked and an air evacuation hospital that received the wounded from Vietnam. From my position at the base hospital, I watched as, one by one, the blue Air Force buses unloaded the wounded at the evacuation hospital. As a soldier, I supported a young Army lieutenant who was going to physical therapy to get back on his feet after stepping on a mine in Vietnam. A sideline of mine was the Air Force Honor Guard. The blasts and sound of the twenty-one-gun salute are difficult, but not nearly as difficult as presenting the folded American flag to grieving families with the words "...On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation, I present this flag..." My role was very small, but I am proud to have served with these American heroes.

-Steve Williams, Sturgis, Dakota del Sur

On behalf of Larry Winterton, we would like to thank the state of South Dakota for recognizing the extreme sacrifice these veterans have made on behalf of the United States. Larry died in Vietnam and not a day goes by that I don't miss him. He was and is loved by our family and we are very proud of him. Our family looks forward to attending the memorial to support all Vietnam Veterans and our very special Veteran, Larry Winterton.

Sincerely, Carla Baer, ​​Larry Winterton's Niece

- Larry Winterton, Sioux Falls, SD

Paul Dean Weeldreyer was born on September 3, 1943 in Chancellor, South Dakota. His parents were Lawrence and Christina Weeldreyer and his brothers were Phil and Steven. He was raised in Chancellor and graduated from Chancellor High School in 1961. His activities included band and basketball.

Paul attended South Dakota State University and received his degree in animal science in 1965. He was in the ROTC and earned his commission as an officer in the United States Air Force. He completed his undergraduate pilot training at Webb AFB, Texas, graduating on February 5, 1967. Paul was awarded the US Air Force Silver Pilot Wings. He had fulfilled his dream of becoming a pilot. .

From May 1967 to May 1968 he was a C-123 pilot with the 311 Air Commando Squadron in DaNang and Phan Rang, Vietnam. After Vietnam, Paul was stationed in Columbus, Mississippi with the 901st Air Refueling Squadron (SAC). . In May 1969 he was posted to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, where he was aircraft commander for his KC-135 aircraft for the 916th Air Refueling Squadron (SAC). Here he was responsible for ensuring that his combat-ready crew was always ready to refuel nuclear bombers, reconnaissance aircraft, and tactical fighters. During this time, he was deployed to Southeast Asia with his crew in support of operations in Vietnam.

Paul was posted to Castle Air Force Base in the 93rd Bombardment Wing (SAC) in Atwater, California. He flew in the KC-135 tanker plane. He was a former instructor pilot and senior agent with the Strategic Air Command, which commanded its Emergency Warfare Reaction Forces.

Paul received the following medals: Pilot Wings Air Force, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, four Air Medals, two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, Vietnam Service Medal, and three Bronze Stars.

He left the Air Force in the fall of 1974 and returned to South Dakota State University in 1978 to earn a master's degree in soil and water. He served as a professor of agronomy for the South Dakota Extension Service for 26 years. In October 2001 he retired as a civil servant.

He died on December 23, 2003 from complications of kidney cancer. He is survived by his wife Patricia, his daughter Paula Marie Weeldreyer and his son John Pierce Weeldreyer.

- Paul D. Weeldreyer, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

I enlisted in the US Army on September 30, 1968 for a two-year enlistment program. I did basic and infantry training at Fort Lewis, Washington. After I graduated, I was given a 10-day leave of absence before flying to Vietnam. I arrived in Vietnam on March 3, 1969 and was assigned to D Company 3/21 196th LIB Americal Division, where I served as an M-60 Machine Gunner until December 1969. At that time I was selected by BG John W. Donaldson, Assistant Commandant of the Division, as its Auxiliary Enlisted Officer. After being selected to serve as an enlisted assistant to BG Donaldson, I extended my trip by two months; However, I left Vietnam nineteen days early on emergency leave. After a 30-day emergency leave, I was transferred to Fort Carson, Colorado, where I served until discharge on September 29, 1970.

In short, I would say my Vietnam tour was a great experience for a 20 year old. For those of us who have exercised our privilege to serve our country, I can honestly say that we did so with pride and share a common bond of patriotism that those unwilling to listen to our country's call will never understand or appreciate. Everyone who served had one thing in common: we loved America enough to put on a uniform and stand up for it and all the freedoms we hold dear and cherish so much.

My worst experience in Vietnam was being on the same mission with a friend from my hometown, Ted Hatle of Sisseton, when he was killed in action. I saw Dust Off fly carrying his body. My favorite experience was hearing the sound of our Freedom Bird's wheels hitting the runway (on US soil) when we landed in Seattle after returning to the US. The photo I've attached is of Donel Erickson from Timber Lake, South Dakota, and myself from Sisseton, doing infantry training together, arriving in Vietnam the same day, and being assigned to the same company, same platoon, just different squads. We served together until June 9, 1969, when Donel was seriously injured and sent home. We have kept in touch over the years and Donel will be staying with me during the memorial service.

- Dennis Fell, Pierre, South Dakota

Vietnam 1967-1968:

I joined the army in January of 1967 and enlisted in the artillery. My MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) was 93F20 - Weather Balloon Dispatch.

For basic training I went to Fort Lewis, WA where my late father Stanley Surma (WWII) and late grandfather Olen Olson (WWI) also received basic training. My AIT (Advanced Individual Training) was done at Fort Sill, Okay.

After AIT I received orders for Vietnam. A plane full of soldiers left San Francisco and our first stop was Hawaii. The plane was refueled and we took off over the sea. After a few hours we looked out the window and one of the engines was smoking! We told the flight attendant and she took one look and ran to the cabin. The copilot came back and took a photo, then the captain announced that we were going back to Hawaii. Everyone cheered! As we got closer to Hawaii they dumped all the fuel and it was pretty quiet after that. We landed with fire trucks racing down the runway alongside us. After six or seven hours of troubleshooting, we were back on the road.

We landed at Saigon Tan Son Nhut Airport and were met by Long Bihn. It was very hot and humid and the camp reeked of urine.

When I received my orders, they were for Tay Ninh, Vietnam, in support of the 25th Infantry. I was amazed to say the least! Tay Ninh is where my younger brother Steve died in battle just four months before. He was a gunman who was sitting in an armored vehicle when he was hit by a claymore mine. Of the nine soldiers, two were killed and five were wounded.

The only good thing about going to Tay Ninh was that he could go to Steve's old unit and get the records to see how, when and why he was killed. Besides, he wouldn't have known exactly what it's like there if he hadn't been in Vietnam.

We were tired of waiting for the ride to Tay Ninh, so an old E-6 sergeant said, "Let's go for a helicopter ride over the countryside." So we went to the helipad and let two Australian go-go girls take us, who were dropped off at Cu-Chi without an escort.

The base camp at Tay Ninh was large with artillery, infantry, and signal units, as well as a group of Filipino soldiers and a group of ROK soldiers. Our job was to send up weather balloons to stop the artillery firing.

After several months in the Tay Ninh safe camp, we moved to a fire support base camp called Prek Loc. When we got there, it was a Special Forces camp with Cambodian mercenaries and a handful of Special Forces being trained to fight the Vietcong. When it got dark, the place was full of rats. We asked the special forces sergeant why they didn't poison the rats. He once said yes, but the men started getting sick! – Hack, hack, number one!

I had my bed in a 6x6 sandbag conn container that had a rifle slot facing the perimeter. After a few hours of sleep, a mouse entered the gun slot and jumped at my face! I screamed and the guard rushed to think that the Cambodians had attacked me! After that, we hung mosquito nets to keep the rats out.

Everything was fine for a few days, then Sergeant Pulliam and I were in the van on a hot air balloon ride when suddenly there was a "pop-pop-pop" in the jungle. A Communist Party soldier shouted: “Come! Get in!" and we all ducked for cover. The sergeant and I ducked under the truck full of sandbags. I had never been in a mortar attack before and I was scared. I looked and the sergeant. Pulliam and he read a Louis L'Amour -Western Novel!

The mortar attacks would come at strange and unusual times. We used to go out to the perimeter once in a while at the end of the day and have a "crazy minute" where everyone would fire their weapons to make sure they were working. Pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers, Quad-50, Twin Forties, etc. they would shoot in the jungle. After the truce, someone yelled, "Free beer in C Company!" and everyone applauded. Then again "pop, pop, pop" in the jungle. Everyone hid and the mortars started raining down again! I guess Charlie didn't like our crazy minute!

At Prek Loc we feel like we are being cheated; Our fence consisted of two strands of barbed wire. Our camp has never been hit by ground attack, but Katum from the north was attacked during the 1968 Tet Offensive.

Once the dry season is over, we will return to Tay Ninh and continue to send out weather balloons. We had a statue carved out of a palm stump that was considered our "lucky charm" in our garden. Warrant Officer McLaughlin didn't like being there, so he had us burned. Just a few days later we had our first ground attack on the Tay Ninh base camp where the engineers arrived and blew up the ammunition depot right behind us! Artillery shells and shrapnel rained down everywhere, it was a huge explosion! Our petty officer admitted that burning the stump was probably a bad idea!

Like Sergeant Pulliam and W.O. McLaughlin left, the only two E-5s left being Floyd Rasmussen and myself. We kept the balloon rides up until a month later when a replacement arrived. Floyd and I have kept in touch over the years; he and his family came to visit me and my family in Waubay and Isabel. A week after 9/11, Floyd called and said that he and his wife Rhonda were working at the Pentagon when the plane crashed: she was killed and Floyd survived.

So by spending three years in the military, including my time in Vietnam, I was able to go to strange and exotic places and meet people I wouldn't normally meet. That was quite an education for a South Dakota farmer!

-Stuart M. Surma, Java, Dakota del Sur

On a hot and muggy day in April 1966, I was clearing a roadside mine in Hill 22, Vietnam. It was 7:30 am and at 7:35 am my life changed forever. I got hit by a 105 howitzer trap and badly hurt myself. A Navy medic treated me on the spot and took me by helicopter to the US Naval Hospital in DaNang. Upon arrival, the doctors told me that my left leg was going to be amputated and that I had other internal injuries. They operated on me immediately.

I don't remember how many days I spent in the hospital when an attractive Red Cross worker came to see me. She asked me if she had already written home. I told him no." So she asked me, “Can I write to someone?” She asked me if she had a family, and my answer was, "Yes, wife and daughter." So she wrote to my wife and said, How was I and we talked for a while.

The next day he came back just to visit me and I remember telling him that he reminds me of my wife. She was a great comfort to me at this dark time in my life. The doctors weren't sure if she would survive or not.

On the third day the worker from the Red Cross appeared and told me that I could not return. My doctor told her that she needs all the rest she can get. However, she left me a note and signed her name. I didn't know her name until then. Her name was Jan. I was hospitalized in DaNang for nine days. When I left for the Philippines I kept this note and remembered the sunshine that Jan had brought me in my dark days. I spent ten months in different hospitals and finally ended up at the US Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I retired from military service in February 1967.

I returned home to my family and put all my experiences in Vietnam behind me, kept all my memories and moved on with my life.

In 1999 I started making plans to return to Vietnam, 34 years later. I figured a return trip would heal some old wounds. My dear wife Shirley died in 1997. So it was planned that my daughter and I would go to Vietnam in April 2000.

As I made plans, my mind returned to the memories of meeting Jan at the DaNang hospital. I started looking through the boxes and found the note he had written me. I was wondering if I could find it. I contacted the local Red Cross and the staff went out of their way to locate Jan for me. In March 2000 I received a call from Jan! What a surprise! After 34 years we meet again.

We talked for an hour. I told her about my plans to return to Vietnam and she told me that she returned in 1995. She said, "Get ready to shed some tears." I hoped to do just that. Jan and I want to meet in September 2000.

Our trip to Vietnam was a healing experience. My daughter and I returned to the same areas that I was in during the war. We visited the villages and walked the roads that I traveled during the war. My daughter understood better what I had been through. It was also a great experience for her.

In addition to Jan, he had memories of another young woman from Vietnam. While my daughter and I were there, I was wondering if I could meet this girl named Binh who I became friends with during the war. With the help of our guide we were able to locate it. What a bless! I assumed that she might have been killed during the war or moved from the area. But she was in the same neighborhood, married with eight children, and seemed very happy. She was very surprised that I was trying to find her. We were invited to her house for tea and we spent about an hour and a half at her house reminiscing about her.

As we left the house, he told me, "Don't go another 34 years away before you come back." My daughter planned to return in 2003 with a few more Vietnam vets.

Thirty-four years ago, Jan had given me the note. I think I forgot to thank you back then. Jan, thanks for the advice.

- Perry Shinneman, Sioux Falls, SD

I was drafted into the Army in May of 1968. For the first nine weeks I was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington, for basic training. So I went to AIT in Fort Leonardwood, Missouri. There I received training on a big wheel tractor and a dredge. I then spent four months as an instructor on this type of equipment. Then I received orders to report to Vietnam. So I got three weeks leave to go home before flying to Vietnam.

Once in Vietnam I was assigned to the 103rd Combat Engineer of the 20th Brigade. There I was assigned to haul jacks and large trucks to transport granite rock to the crusher, then the rock was mixed with asphalt and hauled to pave roads. I spent most of my time at the end of the runway at Bien Hoa Air Base, north of Saigon. We worked two 12-hour shifts, six days a week. When I was there, this airport was the busiest in the world. After eight months in Vietnam I was able to go to Sydney, Australia for a week. After a year in Vietnam, I was released and went home. When I was discharged, I had reached the rank of E-5.

It was an experience that I am happy and proud of. I am now a life member of the Gregory, SD Legion and Winner SD VFW.

-Richard Rubel, Dallas, Dakota del Sur

In the fall of 1967, I went home to St. Francis, SD, and saw a young Lakota soldier who had just returned from Vietnam receive his war cap from his family's Lakota veterans. I grew up knowing that the way to earn a war cap is to join the army and go to war. My great-grandfather, High Bald Eagle, fought in the Battles of Rosebud and Little Big Horn in 1876. My uncle who raised me was in World War I and World War II. My father was a WWII vet and my older brother was a Korean era vet. My younger brother was in 4th ID in Vietnam.

I was drafted in January 1968 and joined the army. I was trained as a medic and sent to Vietnam in 1969. I was assigned to B/2/1, 196. LIB Guy Dull Knife from Wounded Knee, SD was in the same company. We were on the same train. Guy was a private and I was his train medic. Later I became a doctor for Charlie Company. In August of that year, I went to DaNang to visit my cousin, Jim Blue Thunder, who had just finished his tour with the 3rd Reconnaissance, 3rd Marine Division. Jimmy had already left for "the world" so I went to Freedom Hill Brewery and tried to figure out what to do.

I knew my nephew Tyrone Head who was a private in the 2/7th Gulf Marines, 1st Marine Division. His childhood home is about a mile from our house on the Rosebud Reservation. He told me that he knew where everyone from the Rosebud Reserve in DaNang was stationed. There was Roy Spotted War Bonnet at Marble Mountain. I forgot his clothes. Robert (Moon) Quigley, 1st Recon, 1st Marine Division, and Robert (Boney) Moran, 1st Recon, 1st Marine Division. Both teams returned to Mt. We would always greet each other with, "I heard you got killed!" You had to be there. We still tell ourselves that.

Tyrone and I wandered around DaNang for a few days and saw many other "skins" in the "world". I saw a guy named Shield Him from Wood, SD in China Beach. We went to China Beach every day, swam, ate terrible burgers and fries and loved it. One afternoon we got some nice food from some Seabees. They gave us steaks for some war stories. Moon, Boney, Tyrone and I visited for three days and I got dressed and they got dressed again. Roy was in the bush. It was a brief respite from the war and it was nice to know that there were other Lakota men from the Rosebuds fighting in Vietnam. Moon died last winter and Roy, Boney, Tyrone and I attended the wake and funeral at St. Francis. Now I have two sons in the army, and when they return from the service I will give them their war caps. I want Guy Dull Knife to put the war cap on one of my sons and Army Capt. Trudell Guerue (ret.) 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vietnam, put the war cap on my other son. Captain Guerue is also a member of a tribe on the Rosebud Reservation.

Patriotism serve the military and defend your country. Patriotism defend your county in times of war. Patriotism sends your son or daughter to war. Patriotism sends your grandson to war. Anything else is not patriotism.

- Francis Whitebird, Pierre, South Dakota

As a junior officer in the US Navy, I was assigned as a Naval Gunfire Liaison Officer (NGLO) with Sub Unit One, First Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO). In September/October 1972 I worked in the citadel of the former imperial capital of Hue. After that, I was transferred to the Vietnam Naval Division Headquarters near the small fishing village of Huong Dien, which is south of Quang Tri and Cua Viet River on MR1. After the 1972 spring offensive, the North Vietnamese Army was near Quang Tri and the South Vietnamese Army and Marines were generally south of the Cua Viet River.

As the date of the negotiated armistice approached, there were efforts to recapture territory lost during the spring offensive. If I remember correctly, the armistice went into effect on January 27, 1973 at 08:00. We work day and night, selecting targets and obtaining permits for wildfires. The commodore of the fire line called me on the radio while I was on morning watch. I met him and he was a serious naval officer. If he asked for something, he got it. USS Turner Joy (DD 951) came online this morning. The Turner Joy was also in Vietnam in August 1964 and was attacked and damaged by North Vietnamese patrol boats. The so-called Gulf of Tonkin Incident was the impetus for President Johnson's troop surge.

When he radioed, Commodore asked me about the Turner Joy's targets. From what I remember, he said something like "She started this damn war and now she's going to end it." Objectives selected and approval received. Commodore took the other ships out of the line of fire, leaving Turner Joy to fire alone. My memory is that the last shot was fired around 08:01. According to reports I have since read, the last shot was fired at 07:59 minus flight time.

It wasn't until years later, when I read a newspaper article, that I realized that gymnast Joy was credited with the last "official" round of the Vietnam War. No doubt, she was naive at the time and had no idea that there was something historical in this round. Like everyone else, he was engrossed in my work but was beginning to think about seeing my home and family.

-Dave Pfahler, Pierre, SD

As, for various reasons, I was nearing the end of a standard 12-month F-4 voyage from Phu Cat, Vietnam, I made the decision to request an extension of my 7-month voyage. Of course, I knew that a month of free vacation and free travel to and from anywhere in the world were among the "deals" the Air Force gave combat crew members that spanned seven months or more. Since my original tour ended in mid-December, I made it a point to go somewhere really cool for the holidays. When the extension was granted, I started looking at all the wonderful options: London, Paris, Stockholm, Rio de Janeiro, etc.

There was only one problem: I would have to tell my mother. It would be hard for any child to tell a mother that she was at war, but it was worse because she was a widow and I was her eldest and only child. There were never easy times for mom, so she had a very solid understanding of life and the world in general, but she never understood the air force, fighter jets, war, or my role in any of it. Reluctantly, I wrote home about the extension.

I received mom's reply letter relatively quickly by Southeast Asian standards. When I read it I was amazed. This quiet little Scandinavian nurse who didn't know much about my military life, but she figured out the free vacation and free travel part herself. She didn't like the extra time, but most of all she wanted to know if she would come home for the holidays. I realized that there weren't many options; Visions of London, Rome, etc. they disappeared while she wrote saying that she would.

I returned to the United States in mid-December. My flight landed at Travis AFB, California, late in the afternoon. It was too late to get to San Francisco and catch a scheduled flight to Rapid City, so I stayed in the visiting officers' quarters. When I settled in, I called home.

My mother answered the phone. The operator asked if she would accept a group call from Captain Wade Hubbard. Professionally, Mom said that she did. I said: "Hello, mom!" But then I didn't hear any response. Thinking we might have a bad connection, I held the receiver close to my ear. Then I heard a small noise and I knew what was happening. Mom cried so much that she couldn't speak.

There was only one place on earth: Christmas at home.

- Wade Hubbard, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

Our military address is printed in our local Winner Advocate. I appreciated the cards and letters, those from friends, former teachers, etc. . His base was only 200 meters from mine. I walked over and saw my good friend Rick Curtis.

Every day we had to take malaria pills that seemed the size of a coin. One day I was in the field and I had a high fever (105˚) and I couldn't even hold water. They called me a "Dust-Off" helicopter. When we landed at the hospital it was like something out of M*A*S*H* - the nurses ran towards the helicopter yelling "Where did you get hit?" What he had was called FUO (Fever of Unreachable Origin). I was finally diagnosed with a form of malaria. I must not have been very diligent to take those "horse pills" (malaria pills).

About halfway through my journey, I received award and recognition work. If someone wanted to nominate a teammate for a medal, he would come to me and tell me the story. So I would write to award a medal (Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple Heart, etc.). It was also my duty to write a letter to the parents/families of the fallen.

The water situation is a living memory. Drinking water was hard to come by, so we mostly just drank beer. We showered at base camp but the water was almost as dirty as we were. I really missed a nice hot shower with clean water.

- Robert Albert, hidromiel, CO

He enlisted in the Army on August 31, 1962 and was discharged on August 30, 1965. Medals include the Sniper Badge (Carbine), Specialist Badge (Rifle), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal. In the HHD army unit, the 39 signal battalion served in the army area in Saigon.

-Ronald Allen, Huron, South Dakota

I have eight of the Vietnam service awards. My ship, the USS Rupertus, was known as "the fastest gun in the west" for her ability to deliver naval ordnance to needy soldiers ashore. My ship was 1,000 yards behind the USS Forrestal the day she caught fire. We came alongside and fought the fire for several hours, while moving at about 20 knots. After we got the fire under control, we searched the water for bodies for a few days. A video titled "Critical Situation, USS Forrestal" was filmed. Everything in this video is exactly as I remember it.

-David Andersen, Corpus Christi, Texas

In April or May of 1975, while serving on USS Fredrick LST1184 in Cameron Bay, we witnessed the systematic destruction of American property by the NVA.

-LeRoy Anderson, Watertown, Dakota del Sur

My stories and memories have been shared with my family. What I want to share with others are the sacrifices made by some families, particularly my family who served in the service of this great country in all four major branches of the military in World War II, Vietnam, and Desert Storm. In memory of my late mother (Rose Marie - Navy/WWII), late brother (Capt. Robert L.-USMC/Desert Storm), father (Vernon L. - Army Air Corps/US Air Force/WWII), and myself (US Army/Vietnam).

Most people who enjoy the freedoms of everyday life will never know these sacrifices. I will never take these freedoms for granted and will pass this respect on to my children and grandchildren. God bless the spirit and courage of all those who have served, are serving and will be serving. A special thanks to one of my younger brothers (Jim) who serves in law enforcement every day to protect and serve our public. Thank you.

-John Ashley, Tendero, AZ

I first entered service on October 8, 1942.

-Jack Audiss, Martin, South Dakota

I was commissioned as a lieutenant. Armor by ROTC USD in 1961. Deployed to Vietnam in January 1965 from Fort Carson, CO. He served as a deputy advisor for the Vietnam subsector. We had the responsibility of advising the security forces operating in our area. After five months I was transferred to become a UN cavalry adviser. We work in the northwest area of ​​the III. Body. I returned home in January 1966. In one day I went from 100˚+ in Vietnam to -15˚ at the Rapid City airport. Who cared? I was home. I returned to Vietnam in January 1969 where I served in the 25th Infantry Division. I ran a mountaintop facility (Nui BA Den) for three months. I then joined the 1st Battalion 5th Infantry Bobcats. I have served as Executive Director and Director of Operations. I got injured in early January and came home to Rapid City. I had my stitches removed at Ellsworth AFB Hospital, which caused quite a stir. Who cared? I was home. May God bless all who served in the war, on both sides.

-Ronald Baker, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

Died - July 30, 1971. Buried - St. Louis. Bernhard Cemetery, Redfield SD

- William Baloun, SD

Friends: My father served in the Army Cavalry at Ft. Meade in Sturgis in the late 1920's and early 1930's. Service is in my genes. After graduating from South Dakota State University in 1964 and teaching on the faculty of Nebraska Wesleyan University (1965-66), I received a direct assignment in the Army Medical Service Corps (hospital administration). He served "back with the team" in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969 at Evacuation Hospital 24 north of Saigon and commanded 240 teams in the medical department of the 400-bed hospital, which specializes in caring for men who have undergone neurosurgery. and spine. . I have worked with amazing nurses and several ROTC graduates (and pilots) who also attended SDSU. I extended my service by four months after my 12-month tour of duty in Vietnam and was discharged on December 11, 1969. The only expression of emotion I experienced from friends and strangers when I returned to SD was complete indifference. This South Dakota Memorial is 35 years old.

Congratulations to Governor Dennis Daugaard for his outstanding leadership in using the prestige of his position to make this monument a reality. Thanks again.

-Donald Barnett, Littleton, Colorado

I enlisted in the United States Army on December 10, 1940. The year 1940 is not available on the enrollment form.

-Alfred Baye, Albuquerque, New Mexico

*The medals listed above are for Vietnam only. In my 26 year USAF career I have many more!

-Wayne Beckler, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I served in Vietnam from February 1968 to February 1969 and from August 1969 to July 1970. As a crew chief/gunner (67N20) in a Huey, I did a lot of walking and had a front row seat during the war. In the first year we flew missions in and around the Central Highlands to places like Tuy Hoa, Na Trang, An Khe, Pleiku, Cheo Rio, Phu Cat and Bong Son and all the LZs and Fire Bases in between.

In my second year (1969-1970) I was stationed in the far north of the country at Camp Eagle outside Hue. From Camp Eagle we fly missions north to the DMZ and south to DaNang and Chu Lai and west to the Ashau Valley. In the first year I was assigned to attack helicopters. It was armed with 38 rockets, a 40mm cannon (the Scout) and two M-60 machine guns. The Grunts liked us and bought us beers. In my sophomore year, I was assigned a regular Huey, nicknamed "Slick" because he was unarmed except for the two M-60s. We transport troops and cargo and perform all types of missions, including disaster recovery and medical evacuation. In April or May of 1970 I received a PASS from my first sergeant and visited my brother Mike who was stationed in the southern Mekong Delta. I only got to stay a few days, but it was nice to get away from Camp Eagle.

I was not recruited. I enlisted because my father and all my uncles served in World War II and I thought I should do the same. Also, I wanted to see something other than South Dakota and have an adventure or two (and I did). I started going to meetings of the 134th Assault Helicopter Co. The last one was in Chicago and the next one was in St. Ludwig. It's fun to come together and share memories, good and not so good.

I am happy to be alive. I look forward to the September meeting and hope to see you there.

-Jerry Berg, Brooking, Dakota del Sur

active service

-Brian Bernhard, Sioux Falls, SD

Between 1972 and 1976 I assisted in the training efforts of thousands of servicemen/women serving in Vietnam, particularly in the security service.

-Richard Bode, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

My heart goes out to the guys I ministered with in Vietnam.

-Kenneth Bodewitz, Valley Springs, SD

I have played many underwater "games" against the "other side". It was quite an experience to say the least. I remember that when we went on vacation we had to travel in uniform. Many civilians spat at me, verbally abused me or threw beer and soda bottles (not always empty) at me and did/shouted other hateful things to show/express their "agreement" that I was serving my country. This was not only done by young people who did not serve in the military, but also by older adults. Over the years, a person forgets some things that happened and the people they met at church. But I will never forget what many citizens of my own country did back then to "honor" their servicemen and wives.

-Ralph Bond, Java, Dakota del Sur

While stationed at Tan San Nuet AB, I was lucky enough to take an R&R to Bangkok, where I met my brother Chris, who was stationed in Thailand.

—Ronald Boyda, Tyler, Texas

I was assigned to a troop transport while I waited for military training. I remember being very nervous even though it wasn't a serious threat. I remember hearing shots in the hills beyond

DaNang, who still feels safe on the ship. However, I did not feel so confident when there was talk of trapping a young Viet Cong with explosives in a small boat heading for our berth in the harbor. It was also a standout season: being away from home for the first time on Thanksgiving and also during a rain storm.

Duty Christmas Eve in the port of DaNang, away from my safe family and home in South Dakota.

- Vern Brooks, Black Hawk, South Dakota

I was young, fresh out of Washington High School in Sioux Falls, and hadn't really seen the war. One thing I knew was that our freedom comes at a very, very high price. That is what the history of our nation tells us. When I was called to serve, I did it for our freedom, knowing that the freedom of the people should not be limited to those within our borders. That was my way of thinking. There were people who wanted help and needed our help. It didn't work, but it wasn't up to us. I was proud to have served then and I am still proud to have served.

I was trained in small arms infantry at Fort Lewis, WA. I was a gut beater/bust; in the Ben Woa area, E-4 squad leader of C Company, 1st Battalion 8th Cavalry 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). We brought our own mortars. When we got there, one of the other companies was in combat and had discovered a large bunker complex; So I stayed in LZ for about a month before I went to the countryside. Then, on the first day, I found out how real that was and that I wasn't invincible. My sergeant, who was sitting next to me, was shot in the neck. The doctor let me hold the IV bag for him. He was IN A WAR.

What I tell people at home is: It's okay to hate war, but love your warriors. I appreciate the opportunity to express myself and the dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial. To all my teammates, thank you for being with me and welcome home. Dusty Brown, Montrose, South Dakota

-Russell Brown, Montrose, Dakota del Sur

My hometown is Wolsey, South Dakota. I arrived in Vietnam in October 1968 and left in July 1971. I served in the same unit for 33 months. When I returned to South Dakota, the state paid me $25 a month to serve in Vietnam for up to 30 months.

-Richard Buchheim, Traverse City, MI

I was lucky.....!!

-Alhan Burnham, Sioux Falls, SD

Roll on your deep dark blue ocean roller,

Ten thousand fleets sweep you in vain,

The man marks his control,

It stops at the banks.

-Unknown author

Four Huron brothers did as the above story says. One served in Quranic action aboard a ship through Japan and Triwain, the others served in the Vietnam era; two with the Navy Air Support Group (VX-6) in Antarctica, and the youngest has served as a medic in Vietnam for nearly two years. I know that at our family gatherings, the youngest said that he wished he didn't know how to spell Band-Aids while he was in boot camp, but he mostly got away safe and sound.

The Bush brothers from Huron.

-Milford Busch, Spirit Lake, IA

I graduated from Huron High School and wasn't sure what I wanted to do. So, like two of my brothers, I joined the Navy to see the world and get more education. My business trip did not take me to Vietnam, but I knew that they could call me at any time, even after my release. I have four brothers and all four of us served in the Navy. Three of us were on active duty at the same time. I respect and honor my brother Roger, another South Dakota, and all the military who served in Vietnam and others who have served and continue to serve our country, the United States. A few years after my release, I returned to the DOD as an employee. I retired in January 1997 from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Newport, R.I. I returned to NUWC after a few months as a part-time contract employee at BAE Systems, which supports the Department of Defense around the world.

I am proud to say that I was born and raised in Huron, SD

-Robert Busch, West Warwick, Rhode Island

Roger Sletten Cameron was born on October 10, 1944 in Webster, SD to Robert and Phyllis (Sletten) Cameron. He had two brothers, Bruce and Joe, and two sisters, Nancy and Rhoda (who died in infancy). Roger grew up on a farm outside of Pierpont, South Dakota, where he enjoyed high school sports, music, and rodeo, graduating in 1962. After graduation, Roger worked at Tri-County Cheese and Cameron Construction in Pierpont.

Roger Cameron completed his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. On April 11, 1967, Roger completed his advanced helicopter training at Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he received his wings and was promoted to warrant officer. On May 7, 1967, WO Roger Cameron began his tour of Vietnam, based at Bien Hoa Air Base near Saigon. Roger was one of eight pilots selected from a select group to train in Vietnam to fly the Army's new Cobra, a heavily armed, maneuverable helicopter.

On January 31, 1968, while on a dust removal mission to rescue other soldiers, Warrant Officer Roger Sletten Cameron died from gunshot wounds he received when his Cobra was hit by enemy fire. Although he was initially listed as missing, a few weeks later it was confirmed that he had been murdered. His body was recovered and brought home to be buried with full military honors at Homer Cemetery in Pierpont, SD.

WO1 Roger Cameron received numerous awards while in the service including: Distinguished Flying Cross, Vietnam Cross of Galantry, Purple Heart, Silver Star, Air Medal with 27 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Aviator Qualification Badge, Sharpshooter and Expert Badges, Good Conduct Medal , National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal & Pendant, and Vietnam Service Ribbon.

Roger is currently survived by his brother Joe Cameron of Pierpont and his sister Nancy (Gerald) Cutshaw of Pierre.

-Roger Cameron, Dakota del Sur

We erected microwave radio towers as fast as we could. We were building a 204-foot tower in Long Binh when we moved. The tower rose faster than it could be protected. The ground crew did not secure the support cables as quickly as the tower was raised. I suddenly yelled: "It's spinning!" We go down with the tower. To my knowledge there were no injuries, but four of us ended up in the hospital. So we parted. Two of us spent two weeks at the beach after being discharged from the hospital. That was part of our therapy. My R&R in Australia was canceled due to the Tet Offence. At the time I was stationed in Saigon at Tan San Niut and couldn't get a flight from Cameron Bay.

- Karlton Chapin, Havana, ND

I am one of those called to Europe during the Cold War.

-Lyle Chase, Sturgis, SD

It started out like any other night at the LZ Gator. It was hot and dry and we were preparing for firefighting operations that we knew were coming at any moment... Suddenly something happened that would change our unit for a long time. Explosions occurred at all of our facilities. The pioneers had invaded our borders and were upon us. There were hand grenades and pocket charges everywhere. My artillery team and I left our bunkers to face the attackers, and it was dark and noisy and it was hard to tell who was who: enemy or friend.

I had some of my men reinforce the bunkers and perimeter after our own (towed 155mm) howitzer was destroyed in the fighting. My gunner was a young soldier from South Dakota named Dale Christopherson, an avid music lover who loved to play the guitar; he also played it very well. Dale was with me as we made our way to the guard bunker. Behind the gun pit we faced three NVA soldiers who had just come through the wire. I threw the first one and Dale took another. The third one was right above me and I hit him in the stomach with my rifle and pulled the trigger. My rifle was empty and we were going down together, all trying to take advantage when I heard someone yell, "Watch out Bo!" I heard or felt some shots and a Vietnamese soldier landed on my legs. The NVA was about to stab me if it wasn't for Dale and Cpl. Card, I would not write this little story. After everything was cleared up, we had one American dead and seven wounded. We lost an artillery piece and six new trucks. In daylight we found a dead enemy that had not been carried away by the enemy. (They were known for it.) I recommended Dale and Gary for the Bronze Star for their actions that night, but I made it back to the States before I knew if they would be awarded or not. All I know is that they saved my life that night and I will be forever grateful. I read a while back that the 82nd Artillery had the most impressive combat record of any unit in US Army history in its first year in Vietnam.

Dale left to be with his friends who left, but he will always have a special place in my heart. GOD BLESS AMERICA! GOD BLESS THE VETERINARIANS! Welcome home. I will always be a friend.

Sent on behalf of Dale Christopherson by Sergeant Omer E. Bowman, Queen City, Texas

- Dale Christopherson, Stone, Dakota del Sur

The moment I remember to this day is when the first POWs landed on American soil at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. The CINCPAC Public Affairs Office to which I was assigned received POW bracelets from around the country and the world to give to POWs. There were pockets and pockets full of these bracelets. We proudly pass them on to prisoners of war. I was only 19 years old and I would like to understand what and why these men went through so many years of hell. Now that I'm older I can understand them and be proud of them. With today's military waging the "war on terror," I am proud to know that everyone involved is standing up for the United States of America for me and my family. Today, these men and women can proudly express and display their love for this country. For those of us from the Vietnam era, we were spat at when we got back. Let's not let that happen again. Every man or woman who has served this country should know this veteran and I'm sure most if not all are proud of what they stand for and will never forget them.

- Patrick Coady, Rapid City, South Dakota

After my discharge from the USAF, I enlisted in the SD Air National Guard where I served 26 years and retired with the rank of major.

- John Cole, Stone, Dakota del Sur

In fact, I did not serve in Vietnam during that time. However, I was called to active duty with the 716 Transportation Company in 1961 during the Berlin Crisis and served at Ft. Chaffe, Arkansas. I served until June 1962, training recruits and representing Regular Army troops assigned to serve elsewhere, including Vietnam.

- Gerald Cornelius, Watertown, Dakota del Sur

FO (Artillery Observer) Reconnaissance Sergeant, artillery directed against the NVA battalion on or near the Ho Chi Minh trail. Incoming flash fire detector (Dau Tieng and FB Washington) in 90ft turret with .51 caliber and mortar/rockets firing up/down. Three weeks in Cambodia as a surveyor. He traveled with two special forces and a platoon of Cambodian mercenaries. The devastation of Svay Wreng. Corps of VC with ten depths in the middle of towns. 45 cal grease gun I bought because AR-15 is unreliable. M-79 with HE, WP and flares. In front of the bunker there are VC Chu Hoy leaflets. Claymores turned. Food heating with C-4 rations, LRP mixed with beer. Rain, rain and more rain (monsoon).

-Daniel Daily, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

While serving with the 129th ASLT Helicopter Company, we supported the 3rd Korean Tiger Division in the 1968 Tet Offensive.

-Chuck Davis, Buffalo, Dakota del Sur

When I arrived in January 1966, one of my first acquaintances was Howie Hysell of Burke, S.D. He took me under his wing and helped me out in the field. Since he was in charge of the company, after some time with me in the field, he approached the commander to replace him as company manager, since he was due to change in about a month. That morning, during an operation on the Cambodian border, Howie and I volunteered to fill the position. We tossed a coin and Howie won (or lost) by scoring a goal that morning. Around 11:00 am we were ambushed. Howie fell and I couldn't catch him. The squadron held until the company was within sight. At that point I managed to get close to Howie and it was too late. We evacuated him along with the wounded in a helicopter. When I got home I visited Howie's parents to tell them how he died and give them closure so they know what happened. I spent the rest of my journey online until I returned home to South Dakota State University.

-Gordon DeLaRonde, Mancos, CO

I served on every West Coast aircraft carrier and spent ten months deployed on USS Hancock, CVA-19 with HC-1 Det Lima, based at NAAS Ream Field, Imperial Beach, CA. After my discharge, I graduated from San Diego State University with a BS in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Electronics.

-William Denke, San Diego, California

Like Seabee, I was and am very proud of our efforts at RVN. Most Seabees used to make two eight-month trips, often to very different parts of the country. Knowing what happens there has always made the second trip difficult. Fortunately, our task was not as dangerous as that of the combat troops. However, it was dangerous enough to have lost three build mates, which is a lot for a non-combat unit. Three months after our first visit to DaNang, the Marines started an ammunition fire that destroyed our base and most of the Freedom Hill Exchange complex. We are very proud to have rebuilt the complex and still put in the long hours to complete all the projects we were sent to do there. The most important was the First Marine Med-vac hospital near the interchange, which helped provide better care for wounded troops.

-Duane Doran, Sioux City, IA

I have lived in SD since February 1968 on this ranch in Ziebach County. SD has been my home for over 38 years. Born and raised to recruit in Gordon, NE.

-Keith Dorsey, Elizabeth, South Dakota

After basic training, I went to Kessler AFB, Mississippi, for courses in basic electronics and inertial navigation and radar system repair. So I spent some time at Dyess AFB, Texas, working on the C-130E aircraft. I spent the last part of my enlistment (March 22, 1968 to May 21, 1969) at DaNang AB, Vietnam, where I worked on the Doppler radar repair of the HH3E "Jolly Green Giant" helicopter. Our unit had the responsibility of rescuing flight crews and other people threatened by the enemy.

I well remember how quiet our military plane was as we approached Vietnam. Many thoughts buzzed through us during the days, weeks and hopefully months that we would spend in this beautiful but devastated country. None of us knew what "tomorrow" would bring. The 1968 Tet Offensive had started earlier in the year and things were quite tense.

As the next 14 months unfolded (I spread them out by two months), the war action seemed to slow down a bit. Our "Jolly Greens" would continue to fly close to the North Vietnamese coast for quick rescues. Sometimes our helicopters were shot down and so were our crews.

The time on "Nam" was very long and I think it was because of the many, many changes that took place. people came and went; The planes usually left and returned. There were the tense moments, the boring hours, and the days of routine work and other activities. And there were scary moments. I am very grateful for God's protection and help and for the prayers of many.

The outcome of this war may be questionable. However, I am convinced that God loves everyone. His Son died for our sins and salvation, so that there may be true peace.

- Milton Douglas, Buffalo, South Dakota

From September 1967 to May 1971 I completed four years of Army ROTC at SD State University in Brookings. In March 1972 I received a B.S. in Clinical Science Technology and enlisted in the US Army in March 1772 as a second lieutenant. he called up the army. From April to May of 1972 he attended the Medical Service Corps Basic Orientation Course at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. From June 1972 to March 1974 I was at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, where I worked as a Clinical Laboratory Officer at Base General Hospital. On March 22, 1974, I was honorably discharged from my two years of active duty and promoted to Oberleutnant. I was on inactive reserve for two years and then I was deactivated and completed my six-year military service. I am now retired after more than 30 years as a medical technician at the University of Wisconsin Medical Center in Madison, WI. I am very proud to be an American and to have served in the military. Although I have lived most of my adult life in Wisconsin, I still call South Dakota home…and always will.

-Dennis Dowd, Verona, WI

I was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Midway CV41 on April 29-30, 1975. This was the evacuation of South Vietnam. We had received Vietnamese refugees with Jolly Green Giant helicopters. Some may recall images of some of the smaller helicopters that slid off the stern of the aircraft carrier to pick up the refugees. The Midway is the aircraft carrier that the two-seater artillery observation plane 0-1 Birddog landed on, carrying two adults and five refugee children. It was a feat that had never been accomplished before. The O-1 Birddog is now on display at the Naval Aviation Museum in Florida. I was also able to participate in the rescue of the Mayaquez ship, which was hijacked in Cambodia. Both incidents demonstrated the ability of the military to demonstrate its force.

-Paige Driskill, Salt Lake City, Utah

Frank Dumm was born in Stickney, South Dakota. He worked on airplanes throughout his military career. B-52, KC-135, C-135, KC-97, C-47, T-33, C-29, C-54, C-118, C-119, C-123, C-130, AC- 130, C-124, E3AKC-3A, B-1B, C-141, C-5A, KC-10 and a variety of helicopters. He retired after 23 years of service.

- Francis Dunn, Andere, SD

While serving in Vietnam, I learned that my best friend, Richard Miller of Plankinton, South Dakota, was killed in action. His parents didn't know they could have asked me to bring his remains. So I couldn't attend his funeral.

-David Edinger, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

Onboard carrier delivering priority cargo from Vietnam and Philippines to Yankee Gulf station. 1971-1973.

- Don Eibert, Hot Springs, South Dakota

After graduating from SDSU and being commissioned into the R.O.T.C. he entered service. December 1972 Program. In January 1973, President Nixon signed orders to withdraw from Vietnam. The war was still going on, but no more troops would be deployed there. He entered active duty in February 1973 and completed branch training. For the remainder of the two years, I was assigned as the Director of Human Resources and Community Activities at the Post Office. In February 1975 I was released from active duty to return to South Dakota. I built my military career at home by enlisting in the South Dakota Army National Guard. I was assigned as a platoon leader with the 741 Transportation Company in Clear Lake. After a year and a half I was made a company commander and then promoted to captain. I served in that capacity until 1981, when I left SDANG to expand my farming operation near Astoria.

- Charles Engelstad, Astoria, SD

Have any of you ever seen an F-4B Phantom burst into flames with the landing gear down? Many who I believe were at Chu Lai in July of 1968. Our vantage point for this event was on the tune up tab where I and two other Marines were prepping an A-4E for an engine tune up operation. We noticed the F-4 flying low over the runway as the fire/crash team foamed the runway. The aircraft sustained combat damage and was unable to lower the landing gear. The plan was to foam part of the rail on the center strap. The F-4 would then, of course, tail hook land on its drop tanks, catching the wire and coming to a complete stop in the foam. This did not happen. For some reason the tail hook was unable to secure the leash. We watched a shower of foam until the plane left the foamy part of the runway. A great shower of sparks was soon followed by fire from the trailing edge of the wings behind him as he broke out of the foam. So now we have this plane sliding into its launch tanks, bursting into flames and wondering what would happen next. We heard the afterburners flash and felt the plane pick up speed. I later learned from a lieutenant who was in the control tower during this time that the F-4 had veered off the runway and was lying in the sand cutting off the runway lights, but he managed to get it back on the runway. We saw him approach the end of the runway. Our vantage point was only a few hundred meters from the end of the track. To our surprise, the Phantom took off about 500 feet from the end of the runway. The fire went out when it was about 60 meters high. The pilot turned the jet east towards the ocean and when he passed over he pushed himself and RIO out of the jet. They were both quickly rescued from the water and what happened after that I don't know. Telling such a war story later in life drew doubtful looks from those to whom it was told. Many years later, when I was posted to Hill AFB, Utah, with the SD Air National Guard, I met the lieutenant who was in the control tower. He was captain and pilot in our unit. Everyone was shocked when he told the same story as me.

-Thomas Erickson, Beresford, South Dakota

Activated and lucky enough to be released due to troop withdrawal in Vietnam.

-James Evenson, Sisseton, South Dakota

One year in Saigon. He worked on computer printing for a new project in Vietnam.

- Glen Evenson, Summit, South Dakota

I was a doctor in a rural surgical hospital for over nineteen months. We would take the wounded directly from the battlefield by helicopter. The field medics would stabilize the patient to the best of their ability and evacuate him from the battle as quickly as possible. We are credited with saving many lives by treating them shortly after receiving their injuries. We've done all the major surgeries except brain damage. We stabilize the patient and transport him to a general hospital or abroad in three to five days. We had very few soldiers die in our care. Unfortunately, some have died elsewhere due to complications or the severity of their injuries. Most of us were satisfied that we had done what was best for our comrades, the Vietnamese and our country. I joined the National Guard and retired from the Army in September 2005 with a total of 27 years of service.

-Raymond Feist, Bismarck, Dakota del Norte

I enlisted in the Army in April 1968 and served until January 1971. The places I served were Fort Lewis, WA; Redstone Arsenal, Alabama; Uijongbu, South Korea; and Fort Bliss, Texas. During my service I worked as a Hawk anti-aircraft missile radar repairman. I just want to mention the two Harrold High School graduates who paid the ultimate price in Vietnam. David Gatton was in the class of 1965 and Larry Barbee was in the class of 1963. I think about them often and have an image of them in my mind all the time. This image remains clear even after more than 40 years. Larry, you were the last year I looked up to when I was a freshman and I still look up to the kind of person you were. merrill feller

- Merrill Feller, Valentine, Ne

In 1947, the Liberty Train arrived in Rapid City with the Great United States Papers. He was guarded by a group of US Marines. Dennis, a high school sophomore, when he visited the platoon, was impressed by the Marines and their uniforms. Immediately after graduating from Rapid City High School, he enlisted in the Navy. During three and a half years of service, Dennis was promoted to sergeant.

Upon returning home, his aviation experiences began with the purchase of a J-3 Piper Cub. After flying lessons, he flew this plane for three years while playing professional baseball for two years and attending the University of Notre Dame as a freshman. After attending Black Hills Teachers College for two years, he decided it was time to return to the Marine Corps. In June 1957 he applied for and was accepted into the Naval Air Cadet Program. Upon completion of training, he was assigned to Squadron VMA-121 in El Toro, California.

Colonel Fitzgerald served a total of 28 years in the Marine Corps, 22 of which as a Marine Airman. On February 2, 1968, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross for a very dangerous operation crucial to the rescue of a Marine reconnaissance platoon in Vietnam. This volunteer mission, flown from a ceiling of 1,200 to 400 feet, involved repeated overflights of enemy gun emplacements. He later served as squadron commander VMA-214, made famous by the Black Sheep Squadron television show. Dennis flew 261 combat missions earning him four Air Medals and a Bronze Star Medal.

While stationed at NATO South Headquarters in Naples, Italy, he developed a brain tumor. He died in August 1981 at the Fort Meade Veterans Administration Hospital near Sturgis, SD. He was posthumously inducted into the South Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame, Spearfish, SD, August 2001.

-Dennis Fitzgerald, SD

He served with Ben Hoa AB from 27 Feb 1966 to 27 Feb 1967 in the 3rd TAC FW. I enlisted in the US Navy on January 6, 1954 and in the US Air Force on January 8, 1958 and retired from the Air Force on April 30, 1976.

-Thomas Fitzgerald, Marion, South Dakota

After my discharge from the US Navy, I enlisted in the South Dakota Army National Guard where I served 26 more years. I retired with a total of 36 years of service, 24 of which were on active duty.

- Dean Flage, Sturgis, Dakota del Sur

After college, I decided to join the Peace Corps, enlisted, and got a ticket to go to California. At the same time, I received my advance notice. A college buddy, Tom McKrell, had just returned from two years in the Peace Corps. They told me that he had been recruited. President Kennedy is gone, and the two-year executive order with Peace Corp serving our country is no longer being followed. Because I could be killed in Vietnam, I reported for conscription as ordered, casting aside any uncertainty about my life and future. My life would never be the same again. The unit I was assigned to on that hot, arid hill in Vietnam was being resupplied after the losses at Hamburger Hill. This same unit was the first to storm the Hamburger Hügel (seven times in one day). I only saw three men cleaning their rifles that first day as they tried to hide under ponchos tied to nearby bushes. I surrendered to a fate difficult to bear: this would be my last task on earth. When we embarked on the air raid on the "Street of No Joy", my nightmares turned into nightmares. Literally everyone in those three months is gone; We had found more traps than any unit in US military history (over 250). I had become as tough as everyone else. My promise to myself and to God was to treat everyone the way I would like to be treated. I attribute it to my survival... Those I served did the best they could, all the Vietnamese I met only wanted peace, each mission served a just cause. He was proud to have served with SD men like Jack Bickel, Firesteel and Allen Ziegler, Eagle Butte. All were called, many served, few remember.

-Michael Foley, Wausau, WI

As a Native American, born in Sioux Country and raised Native American, all I know is to be Native American first and American second. I believe my mother's people, the Ihanktonwan Sioux, fought for this right to remain a distinct and sovereign race of people. After serving in Vietnam and being honorably discharged from the US Army, I returned home to my mother's relatives. Although my father was Mexican, my mother was Yankton Sioux and her people raised me. My uncle, who was also a veteran, called me from Vietnam and said that he wanted to give me something.

He began by explaining the cultural traditions of our town. He explained that the Sioux were a warrior society and that young men were once taught to be warriors. He explained that young people are brave and must first learn the basics of a warrior. Once we learn this, we become warriors. He said that I have proven my worth as a warrior through my service in the Army and in Vietnam. At that moment, he gave me a prayer fan made with American eagle feathers, an exclusive tradition of the Indian people. He further explained that the next status to achieve was eldership. He said that because we have proven to be warriors, people would come to us for advice and prayer, and he said that is what he wanted for me. Few times in my life have I been so humble and honest. My uncle Joe Abdo Sr. is no longer with us, but I remember his words and will cherish what he did for me until he dies.

-Pablo Garcia, Andensee, SD

We left Camp Evans in a convoy of trucks and drove through the city of Hue and Phu Bi, then the Tet Offensive of 1968 began. All military bases were attacked simultaneously by mortars, 122 rockets, and artillery. There were countless victims. After leaving Quaviet, four miles from the DMZ, we drove via LTD to DaNang and then to Hill 34. There, the ammunition dump was blown up and there was constant enemy fire. Several of my comrades lost their lives in ambushes and sniper fire. After abandoning Hill 55 in September 1969, the Viet Cong defeated the 11th Marines.

- Joey Garnette, Pine Ridge, Dakota del Sur

Although Rick did not die on active duty, he was a true hero. He died trying to save a friend's life after his canoe capsized while he was going through rapids. Rick made it to shore, but his friend was fighting against the current, so he came back to help him. His friend finally made it to shore, but Rick drowned trying to save him.

-Richard Gieseman, SD

After basic training and the first service schools, I was transferred to the USS Hancock CVA-19, then operating off the coast of Vietnam. Still a young farmer of 19, I will never forget arriving in DaNang in October 1969 in a blue woolen dress, the heat and humidity unbelievable. I 'cumshashed' a set of green uniforms embroidered with my name and all. When I finally got on the ship three days later, no one believed that I was a "freshman." I believe that my upbringing by wonderful parents and the kind and caring attitude I acquired as a South Dakotan citizen have supported me throughout my 22 years (Active Duty and Reserves) of Naval service. My most challenging and rewarding assignment was being assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Admiral Isaac Kidd, CINCLANFLT, whose father was killed at Pearl Harbor (and often directly with him).

-David Godsk, South San Francisco, CA

I was a radio mechanic and spent a lot of time on site installing/repairing radios and antennas to support the FAC and FAC pilots. He usually traveled with a generator maintenance crew. Stationed at Bien Hoa on the 22nd of TASS and spent a lot of time in the Delta. During Lam Son 719 February 1971 I moved to Cam Rahn Bay and TDY to Khe Sanh. After my release in October 1971, I returned to Vietnam in November 1971 as a senior adviser to the ARVN and VNAF. He returned to South Dakota in August 1974 with a Vietnamese wife and daughter. He graduated from SDSM&T with EE in 1977 and currently works at Ellsworth AFB.

-David Goodsell, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

(Video) Federal report recommends closing Veterans Affairs hospitals in Manhattan and Brooklyn

Note: I was sent to Vietnam with the 101st ABN. Division, not as a substitute. The unusual thing was that I wasn't airborne (one leg) and I think I was the only South Dakota in my company. I also met another classmate from Montrose High School, Gary Dean Hershley, in DaNang.

-Michael Gordon, Windom, Minnesota

My last of three deployments to Vietnam began in August 1969, and I was told it was "retaliation" for asking Congress for help in marrying my wife of 38 years, who is from Okinawa, Japan. I served as a hospital medic for a Combined Action Squad as part of Operation Phoenix. We should win the "hearts and minds" of Vietnamese civilians by working closely with ARVN troops and village chiefs and providing security and medical assistance to villagers. I joined the army with many others because I believed that we were doing an honorable cause. I am sorry that I was cheated, but I also feel that I served with honor and that neither my wife nor I deserved or were prepared to receive the treatment when we arrived in San Francisco after the war. We were greeted by college protesters who hurled ketchup-covered dolls and urine-filled balloons. It is very refreshing to see that in the current war with Iraq, the warriors are "disconnected" from the war and treated with the respect they deserve. I don't believe the Vietnam War was justified, but I do believe that the vast majority of American soldiers served with honor.

- Michael Gould, Sioux Falls, SD

I am proud to be an American from South Dakota who has served in both the Republic of Vietnam and Cambodia.

-Gordon Greco, North Sioux City, South Dakota

I served in the Marines, Delta Co. 1-3, 1969 as a radio operator in an infantry company. We were mainly along the DMZ and the border with Laos.

-James Groth, Valley Springs, SD

As a young teenager, fresh out of Brookings High School, the military and Vietnam became a coming-of-age field where I and dozens of others confronted with me the realities of war and the hardships it brought. We grew up with it, we believed in each other and we started to love this idea called freedom even more.

-David Hajek, Sioux Falls, SD

was active

-James Hakl, Hartford, Dakota del Sur

Morreu-Phoenix, Arizona

Enterrado - Greenlawn Friedhof, Redfield SD

-Kenneth Hardie, SD

I worked at a base where helicopters, PBRs and other river boats came in for supplies and repairs. Planes and ships would also bring prisoners of war to the base for questioning. The base also supported SEAL teams and UDT teams attached to the base. I always felt a little guilty because I could go home and the others weren't so lucky. Thank you for this recognition, not for me but for her.

- Edwin Harmdierks, Huron, South Dakota

I spent the last nine months of my active duty on the US Army Infantry Center Executive Committee at Fort Benning, Georgia. We trained junior officers, NCOs, and NCOs, knowing that some of them would serve in Vietnam. Most of the staff were veterans of the Vietnam conflict and took their jobs very seriously. I have worked with some very notable soldiers and leaders. I spent two years in the reserve reserve and then enlisted in the South Dakota Army National Guard in February of 1972 after this disaster. So much so that I have been a member of the Guard ever since, accepting a full-time position with the Guard in 1983. I am currently serving at Joint Forces Headquarters - South Dakota at Camp Rapid. I am a non-commissioned officer of the State Armed Forces, I have reached the rank of Sergeant Major and I will retire on July 23, 2006 with 40 years, 4 months and 8 days of military service. It has been an amazing 40 years and I am proud of my active duty during the Vietnam conflict and my full-time and reserve service during Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle and Iraq Freedom. God bless all members of our military and their families!

- Neil Harris, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I am honored to have participated in a police operation that taught the world: 1. War does not exist without divisive politicians 2. The economic stimulus of the nation is not a motive 3. Historical hypocrisy repeats itself 4. The disappointment of the idealist breeds Bitterness 5. War is the last option of the sane who love their people more than their power or their money. 6. Troop support is more important than victory. 7. Will is more important than technology. 8. Making peace is more difficult than making war.

We learned that. Did "we" change it?

- Merrill Hartman, Hot Springs, SD

I was born and raised on a small farm seven miles north of Utica. After graduating from Scottish High School in 1968, I attended a three-year nursing program at St. Vincent's Hospital School of Nursing, Sioux City, Iowa, graduating in 1971. My grandparents, Peter and Stone Stark , were immigrants to the United States from Denmark via Ellis Island. My grandparents would occasionally return to Denmark for visits, which made me want to travel and see the world. I informed my parents about my plans from the beginning. During my nursing training, an Air Force recruiter piqued my interest with the opportunity to practice my profession while traveling and seeing the world. I joined the Air Force in the “buddy system” with another South Dakota resident and nursing school classmate, Patricia Shoemaker of Winner, South Dakota. Just six months after our first assignment in Texas, we all received orders to transfer to overseas assignments. That was the beginning of the adventure. The Air Force offered tremendous opportunities and life-changing experiences; However, South Dakota has always stayed at home.

-Elaine Hauck, Las Vegas, NV

In 1944 he first joined the Navy, then enlisted in the Air Force.

-Eugene Haviland, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

During my time in Vietnam, I was responsible for the health care of about 120 guard dogs, food inspection, sanitary inspections of suppliers of various local fruits, vegetables and other foods. I have also assisted the Special Forces in some of their civic affairs efforts with the local population.

- Jay Heezen, Rapid City, SD

When I was new in the country, the old told us; "With 15 cents and a Purple Heart, you can always have a cup of coffee 'in the world.'" Cross would notify his next of kin. Since I got married only 10 days before I left for Vietnam, I didn't want my wife to be told and upset about it. God knows she was worried enough. When my wife and I parted ways at the airport, she thought it would be the last time she would see me alive. So, like a lot of guys, I never applied for a Purple Heart because for 35 cents and a Purple Heart I can still buy that cup of coffee and they would probably tell me to keep the Purple Heart. I was wounded in a mortar attack in Tay Nihn less than a month ago in the country. I was the type who always said "Come on!" he yelled he. before the first shells hit the ground. My friends called me "Radar".

- Ross A. Hickenbotham, Aberdeen, SD

don't thank me If you want, you can apologize to the Vietnamese for making such a mess. And don't ever do it again, even if you did, but try to remember!

- Terry Hill, Zinnoberrot, Dakota del Sur

Graduated from Waubay High School, Waubay, SD. He joined in 1963 and was laid off in 1967. He graduated from Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD with a Bachelor of Science. School teacher in Clark, SD. He accepted an appointment as a special agent for the United States Secret Service and served for 26 years. A special thanks to the organizations that brought me the GI Bill and the Vietnam Bonus.

-Thomas Holman, Parque Rohnert, CA

When I first met Vietnam, it was a hot afternoon after landing at Tan Son Nut AB in South Vietnam. Within hours he was at a rubber plantation interrogating a Vietcong suspect. My God, what a rude awakening to war. This would be the prelude to many interrogations, both strategic and tactical. I spent my year and a half in Vietnam in the field, on riverboats, and at Division Headquarters. Looking back, I now see and understand the determination of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese to defeat the invaders. It came from the will of the people, not from politicians. Our defeat in Vietnam is that simple. I returned home to San Francisco in August 1969 to cries of "baby killers" and worse. My own family did not respect me enough to let my duty pick me up from the local airport when I returned. Was I so bad for serving my country?

- Joseph Hovorka, North Sioux City, South Dakota

Many stories to tell. My local draft corps is South Dakota but I applied in Nebraska

-Mike Hronek, Oakdale, Ne

From April 1968 to March 1969 he served at Evacuation Hospital 71 in Pleiku, Vietnam. He took a leave of absence from the service from May 1954 to September 1962. During this time he attended USD and taught high schools in Lincoln, NE, Brandon, and Esteline, SD.

-Darlow Inberg, San Antonio, Texas

First let me say that I remained a resident of SD until my retirement in 1983. I prided myself on having SD cards in my cars at all times. Most of my almost two and a half years in the Republic of Vietnam were spent flying helicopters in combat, so I have plenty of stories for this space. I'll report one that my friends at Mitchell seem to like. On my first trip, my helicopter company supported the RVN Airborne Brigade in a major operation near Bong Song. I led the first air strike that morning. I was with your CP that night to coordinate the next day's missions. Turns out the lead deputy attorney was my tactical officer when I was a cadet at West Point, so I sat down late with him just to catch up. The TOC received a call that a major was seriously injured and that rescue helicopters had refused to pick him up because the weather was bad and they were under fire. I told them I'd make it, so I went back to my unit, fired up a Huey, and flew to the location. They loaded this guy up and I took him back to where they took care of him. I didn't even know his name. After that tour, I was assigned to West Point. I was sitting in the Oclub comparing notes with a fellow student and it turned out to be him. Needless to say, we quickly became friends. His name was H. Norman Schwarzkoph.

-Bradley Johnson, McLean, VA

My father, Carl E. Johnson, served with the DaNang-based Sea Bees. We met at Bien Hoa and had Thanksgiving dinner together in November 1969.

- Gary Johnson, Piedmont, South Dakota

My father served honorably in World War II. He had three children who were honorably separated during the Vietnam era. Barry - US Air Force, Warren and Wes - US Army I am so proud that 100% of my family from a small town in North Dakota chose to serve their country in times of need.

-Wesley Johnson, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I had the privilege of meeting and spending time with PFC Jimmy Barton during a two week vacation in 1965. He was killed in Vietnam. He was a good guy.

-Wesley Johnson, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I have over 500 combat flight hours in 1968.

-Leonardo Jonas, Lemmon, SD

I was a TDY from McCoy AFB Florida to Andersen AFB Guam from October 1966 to March 1967 and again from June 1967 to August 1967. I then went PCS to Andersen AFB Guam from April 1968 to April 1970. During my three trips separated to Guam, he flew ten combat missions in B52 aircraft over Vietnam. From March 1972 to March 1973 I was a PCS at the Royal Thai Utapao Base in Thailand, during which time I was awarded the Bronze Star.

- David Jungemann, Box Elder, SD

I joined the Navy as soon as I finished high school. I went to boot camp in San Diego, QMA school in Hawaii, back to San Diego for CI training, and then 13 months in the Vietnam field. After my trip to Vietnam, I completed my service aboard the USS Fiske DD842 home port in New Port, Rhode Island.

-Daniel Juttelstad, North Dartmouth, MA

I served in the USAF for four years and was a TDY in many places in Southeast Asia, but not in Vietnam. We support and install terrestrial electronic equipment in support of the war. I spent six weeks with hepatitis at Clark AFB Hospital and met many seriously injured war veterans. I would like to come out in support of those who were directly involved in the war and who suffered and died as a result of the conflict. I want to clarify and say that I was not one of them, but if they live in the hearts of those who stayed, it does not mean that they have died.

- Brian Kassel, Speerfisch, SD

While in Vietnam, I served with the 27th Land Clearance Task Force, a division of the 568th Engineer Battalion. We used Roman plows to clear the jungle to give the enemy fewer places to hide and give our infantry more freedom of movement. Helicopters flew overhead to guide our movement as we couldn't see where we were going. We work, eat and sleep in the jungle all year long.

- Dean Kelly, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

It was an honor and a privilege to serve my country. I gave everything and more to set her free. If I gave my life so that they would have a single day of freedom to live every day, it would be worth it. All I can say is I'm sorry we failed. But why do Americans treat vets so badly?

-Mario Kemp, Sioux Falls, SD

Where is Jane Fonda now?

- Bradford Kennell, Custer, South Dakota

One very interesting thing is that my two older sisters enlisted in the Marine Corps before me. My sister Karen and I work together at El Toro. Now the three of us, Judy Klima, Janice Gochanour, and Karen Rand, are all members of the PUFL Legion in Humboldt, South Dakota, though none of us currently reside in Humboldt. We are proud.

- Judy Klima, St. Charles, IL

I was a crew chief on the C-130B model aircraft - we were based at Clark AFB in the Philippines with 463 OMS Squadron. We drive TDY from Clark AFB to Cam Rahn Bay and DaNang, South Vietnam two to three weeks a month. The tour at Clark AFB lasted 15 months. The good things I remember were the good people I met and the beautiful white sand beaches at Cam Rahn Bay. The bad thing was that the enemy tried and sometimes succeeded in blowing up our C-130s with 122mm rockets and the soldiers went home in body bags. Most of the time, the good times outweighed the bad.

-Jeffrey Knoll, Yankton, Dakota del Sur

They taught us to kill. The training was good, but they didn't teach us how to respond to the emotions of killing another man, or killing one of their friends. My transition back into society was better than most. The five months in the hospital allowed me to be with other people who had similar experiences, but we didn't talk about those experiences. After I retired from medicine, I married my high school sweetheart and went back to college. None of us knew how much had changed. The next ten years were very, very difficult for our marriage.

Some veterans have fled their grief to drink, do drugs or have multiple divorces. I ran by the global definition of success. But I still ran. Finally, at 30, I had everything that was supposed to make me happy but didn't. At that time, a businessman told me about Jesus Christ. He had previously tried "Religion" and it hadn't worked. What was different this time was that I found a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. As I grew in my faith and understanding of the Bible/My Lord, my life began to change.

However, you don't know what you don't know, and while I've managed to be "pretty good" 97% of the time, the remaining 3% can really be hell. I had an anger that could scare me and kill other people. I was doing the same things I DID NOT want to do. Five years ago, in 2001, I was nearly fired from the Christian organization I had worked for for the past 17 years. The organization had every right to fire me. I told the boss if I found a son of a bitch like him in Vietnam I would have killed him.

What I do is important to me. More important is who I am. I called the VA and asked to see a "psychiatrist" because he may have PTSD. The psychiatrist was no help, but he needed to find out what was contaminating me and the people I touched in the depths of my soul. Not being "charismatic" or "pentecostal", I thought "born again" was enough. The Lord led me to people and training that showed I wasn't digging deep enough into God's Word to find the deeper truths I needed to live. I am still far from perfect, but the peace, strength, and purity I have found have transformed my life and given me a purpose and presence that has benefited many others. Whatever evil and destruction Satan planned, I now understand that God allowed it for my good and his glory.

-Kenneth Korkow, Omaha, NE

I grew up on a farm in Gregory SD. I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1946 when my brother Leo was still on active duty in the Army. He received a creditable promotion from corporal to lieutenant, served in Korea where I was wounded entering Seoul in 1950. After retiring from 23 years of active duty during World War II, Korea and Vietnam, I spent an additional 26 years of community service in the Marine infantry. During my career I worked closely with the Navy, planning and supervising the conduct of assault landings by troops from amphibious ships.

-Roy Krieger, Springfield, Virginia

USNR Jan 1965 to Jan 1966, USNR Ensign Commissioner Jun 1971, USNR Retired Captain (1635) May 1997.

-Norman Krimbill, San Antonio, Texas

He served the country for seven months and was wounded in action and awarded the Purple Heart. He spent a year at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Hospital in Denver, CO recovering from an injury.

- H. Kroschell, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

The missing dog tags were returned to Mark 30 years later, found by Stacey Hansen from California, who appeared on the Today Show and had articles in the Argus Leader. Her website for other lost dog tags is

-Mark Kvernum, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I was assigned to the US Army Hospital in Okinawa. Before the end of the Vietnam War, we worked 12-hour shifts every day. I worked the night shift from 8:00 pm to 8:00 pm. until 8 a.m. in the hospital room and layout in front of the emergency room. A friend of mine worked at the hospital reception, answering the phones and watching everyone who entered the hospital and directing them to the appropriate area. When things were slow, he and I would play cards to pass the time. On one particular morning, around 4am, it was very hot, muggy and quiet. We were struggling to stay awake when we finally fell asleep in the lobby. A plainclothes government official came in, apologized for waking us up, and asked to be taken to the emergency room. About an hour later, he returned from the ER and thanked us for our help. My friend replied, "No problem sir. You can go home now and get some sleep knowing that we are here to protect you."

-Rodney Lanz, San Francisco, SD

"Why I went to Vietnam"

I didn't volunteer, I was ordered to go there. At first I couldn't understand why we were there: it was a 15th century third world country; they had nothing. He couldn't understand why the Northern Vietcong would want that. But I always look for the silver lining in everything and dive in to help make a difference. The biggest problem was that those you came into contact with during the day were the ones shooting or setting traps to kill you at night, so you had to be on your guard at all times.

It took me 14 years before I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ, look after I came back to America and found such a good return... HA HA! Some of us committed suicide because they treated us worse when we came back. Instead of "Thank you man for going out there and fighting for your country," it was "Why did you go? You should have gone to Canada or somewhere else."

I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior to be saved from my misery. Jesus is the answer to all problems. We still have problems, but with the help of Jesus we can overcome them.

-Fred Lenards, Hamilton, MO

I have never seen such a massive exodus of people from one place in such a short time as in the last days of Saigon. We accept at least seven to ten thousand refugees that we send to Guam to live like Americans. I wish I had taken 100 times as much!

-Douglas LeVee, Weissholz, SD

He worked at the Cam Rahn Bay pier and military base.

-Andrew Loban, Hill City, South Dakota

I was in the Navy from December 1962 to January 1969 as an engineer. Then I joined the army from October 1969 to 1972. In 1970 I was wounded.

- Elmer Lone Elk, Ogalala, Dakota del Sur

His highest grade was an E-4. He was a butler and his occupation was cook.

-James Lovelace, Doland, Dakota del Sur

Dad doesn't tell me much about the time he did it. I'd like to target him and give him a chance to go if he wants to. I can give you very little information about the time he served other than what I know. I believe he did a tour of duty in Korea during the Vietnam War and was released from Fort Carson, Colorado in 1964 or 1965.

-Robert Lucht, Crookston, NE

During my active duty in the Navy from 1968 to 1971, I made two trips to the Vietnam region. The first voyage was on an amphibious ship, the USS Comstock LSD-19, a flat-bottomed, single-deck ship well suited for transporting small boats, etc. across the ocean and unload them when necessary. We arrived in Vietnam at Nam Can on the Cau Lon River as part of "Operation Seafloat" with material brought from the United States for that operation. We spend most of our time off the coast of Vietnam supporting troops in the country. We docked in and out of DaNang port and headed up the Bo De river in one go. I read the news stream about our troops and the tunnels they had to navigate. The return trip brought marines and trucks from Okinawa to the United States. At 18 knots, the 30-day voyage was too long for the Marines.

My second trip was on a destroyer, the USS Hamner DD-718. We spend most of our time as aircraft wardens on aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin. Fortunately, there were no planes that needed our help and they ended up in the water instead of on the deck of the aircraft carrier. There was a memorable night when we went to the venue, without practice. Several MiGs arrived from the north, but eventually turned around and headed for home. We spent some time in the line of fire, supporting the troops with our 5-inch guns.

I continued to serve in the Navy Reserve and retired from drill status in 1991.

- Jerry Lush, Brookings, Dakota del Sur

The brother died in Korea in 1971, three weeks before his appointment to ETS.

-Lonnie Martinez, SD

Served on two tours in Vietnam.

-Josh Martinez, SD

Just a proud Native American who served his country.

-Ronald Martínez, SD

As YN2, I was based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Oceana NAS, associated with Squadron VC2 and VA43. I ministered in the country for 19 months. My K-9 in Vietnam was called "Teddy" and was marked #97X7. During Sentry Dog School my dog ​​was named "Rebel". I went to security school, gun school, and sentinel dog school.

-Meline Martinez, Rapid City, SD

I arrived late to Vietnam. I helped evacuate refugees in April 1975.

-Kenneth McFarland, Sioux Falls, SD

In February of 1966 I went to Naval boot camp in San Diego. From there I was assigned to the USS Ticonderoga CVA-14. She was a senior aircraft carrier that had served valiantly since World War II. Some boats seem to have a proud spirit and "can do" attitude that is passed down from crew to crew throughout the life of the boat. Some but not all. The Tico was among those who had it and I am proud to have served the rest of my four years of service aboard her and her crews.

We were en route to take our place in the Western Pacific Fleet. I had never been on a raft before so I was pleasantly surprised that the movement of the boat did not affect me like some sailors. We stopped in Honolulu for a few days to pick up supplies, crew, and air squadrons. There our V-2 Division picked up a young sailor from Ohio, Richard Wiegman. We drove to Yolosuka, Japan, arriving ten days later. We all feel sorry for Wiegman because he was dizzy on nine of those days. There were rumors that if he had not received the "sea legs" from him, he would have been assigned to shore duty and he would not have been able to serve aboard a ship for the rest of his time in the Navy.

Richard went to sea in October 1966 and was part of the catapult launch team. On November 30, 1967, he was killed during a takeoff from the flight deck when equipment failure allowed the twin-engine aircraft, ready for catapult launch, to move forward. The pilot, thinking that the plane was about to take off, accelerated and Richard could not get to safety. Takeoff was halted until the aircraft, its occupants, and the remains of Richard's body were removed from the flight deck. I thought it would cancel the start and was upset when it started again. But when I had time to calm down and reflect, I learned to commit to a cause and a mission, even if you don't want to.

- Ralph (Rem) McGeorge, Miller, South Dakota

John W. Means served in the Vietnam War. He returned home, moved to California after many years, but eventually returned to Pine Ridge. He has four children, two girls and two boys (two from a previous marriage). He suffered from PTSD and started drinking like so many in our area. He died on April 12, 1997. He is buried in Sturgis Memorial Cemetery.

- John means, Pine Ridge, South Dakota

After attending boot camp at MCRD San ​​Diego and infantry training at Camp Pendleton, I attended radio school at MCRD. After school and RVN training, I was transferred to the 4th Battalion, 11th Marines (The Cannon Cockers) in Vietnam. I spent the first six months at Battery Headquarters, where we were responsible for Defense Sector South, a series of observation towers that watched for missiles fired by "Charlie" at the DaNang Air Base or Chinese Naval Base. Beach. After six months, I was transferred to Kilo Battery inland, where we had six self-propelled 155s. We did a three-day layover at Liberty Bridge, but mostly watched the Laotian infiltrators from our little bundle near the rice cakes. After three months there we moved to Red Beach. It was much quieter there, apart from the 75mm 8-inch guns that had occasional bursts of fire. I was in charge of the enlisted club, which meant going to Freedom Hill PX (HQ 1st Marine Division) or China Beach PX once a week to buy a beer paddle and a soda paddle for the club. I would stop in town and trade a case of beer for four blocks of ice for our coolers at a mamasan. Our battalion sergeant major was a Lakota Sioux from Wyoming and we had a lot of fun talking about our home in South Dakota. He made an amazing hot sauce for the tacos we serve at the club. Upon my return to the "world," I was transferred to Guard Company, 8th & I, Washington, DC, the Army Honor Guard, where I served the remaining 26 months. We have held several funerals at Arlington National Cemetery over the summer, state visits to the White House, state dinners at the White House, security guards at Blair House (the president's guest house), parades at the 8th & I and Iwo Jima Memorial and flag parades at local elementary schools in the winter. What experience accumulated in four years. After returning to college to earn my degree, I enlisted in the Naval Reserve for a two-year stint, serving on the guided-missile destroyer USS Robison during my two-week active duty in 1975.

-Paul Miller, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

My job in the Air Force was ground support and I handled specialized items that would keep me busy for the rest of my life. I've handled everything from groceries to the most important cargo to be responsible for... the fallen heroes of the Vietnam War. I never knew the names of these good people, but I said a prayer for each one of them. I thanked them for their courage in the fight and offered a prayer for their family and friends who lost a great person who gave his life for our freedom.

-Lonnie Miller, Rochester, Minnesota

I served my country and I thought it was an honor, but most people didn't approve! I'm thinking about what happens now when someone comes home in a body bag. Everyone wants to hear her story and it seems like everyone in the state is going to the funeral! When one of us fell down, only the family seemed to care. Vietnam is a war of forgotten soldiers. I know this because I have dealt with many of them. I like your idea, but it's a bit late for me! Spec.Raymond W Miller, physician

-Raymond Miller, Sioux Falls, SD

I served in Vietnam from June 1970 to June 1971 as Commander of the 62nd Engineer Battalion, Land Clearance. Our mission was to clear the jungle to eliminate the enemy sanctuary so that the infantry could advance more safely. During these operations, Entwalder suffered 27 KIAs and more than 700 WIAs.

The corps commander explained that our purge was the most important tool he had to defeat the enemy. It was very difficult for me, after serving with these brave men, to return to the United States and find such a negative attitude toward Vietnam veterans. His camaraderie during combat helped develop lasting friendships that are renewed during our biennial meetings. The healing brought about by these events is more effective than what doctors or psychiatrists could achieve. Bringing together these brave veterans has been the most rewarding part of my retirement.

- Robert Monfore, Wagner, SD

Vietnam is a part of my life that I will never forget. I never fought like many others, but I still did my job and was proud of it. SP4 Jerome Muller

-Jerome Mueller, Yankton, Dakota del Sur

On June 25, 1969 I enlisted in the Army in Sioux Falls, SD. On my way to Ft. Lewis, WA, for basic training, I was able to stop by Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver to visit my brother, Gene Murphy, who was injured in Vietnam in April 1969. I went to the foot. Leonardwood, MO attended AIT at the carpentry school and was stationed there after AIT. In March 1970 I volunteered for Vietnam and was posted to Vietnam in April 1970 to the 69th Combat Engineer Battalion, Charlie Company, near CanTho, Vietnam. Our company is helping to build the CanTho Air Strip. I was hired to complete training in handling a crane and building bridges on Highway One. In addition, our company helped build Highway One in the southern part of Vietnam and a fire support base camp for our company in southern CanTho.

I left Vietnam in April 1971 for a thirty-day vacation with my family in White, SD. I had commissions for Germany and was stationed at Nellignan Barracks with the 169th Heavy Equipment Engineering Battalion, Charlie Company for ten months. On January 25, 1972, I finished my military service.

- Kenneth V. Murphy, SD

I enlisted in the Army on August 10, 1968 in Brookings County, SD and completed basic training at Ft. Lewis, WA with C Company 1st Battalion 2nd BCT Brigade, USATC Infantry. After basic training, I was transferred to Ft. Ord, CA to AIT in transit. From there I received orders in January 1969 to go to Ft. Richardson, AK and was assigned to Transportation Unit 521. On July 14, 1970 I was honorably discharged with the rank of Sp 5.

- James B. Murphy Jr., Sioux Falls, SD

He was Captain of XO Headquarters and Company A, 4th Medical Battalion, 4th Infantry Division. My unit received and treated wounded and KIA soldiers operating in the Central Highlands/II Corps area (West Central Highlands along the Cambodia-Vietnam border). The division saw heavy fighting against regular EVN forces in the mountains around Kontum. In May 1970, the division conducted cross-border operations during the raid on Cambodia.

-Wayne Nelsen, Arlington, Virginia

I take this time to remember and honor the ministry of our wives. You had, as we used to say, "the hardest job in the army." I greet my wife Marjorie and all the wonderful people on the "side of the rock." Thank you from the bottom of my heart for her love and support through breakups, relocations, and difficult trials!

Civilians will never be able to understand the military woman!

-Craig Nickisch, Spearfish, Dakota del Sur

After graduating high school, I did basic training in the Army National Guard in 1965. I came home, tried college, hated the guards, drank, and felt guilty about leaving Vietnam. So a year later I went to see if I could volunteer for the National Guard draft. They said yes, so I managed to only get two years instead of three. When I was active they wanted me to go to the basics. I had a really hard time convincing them that I had already covered the basics, but I finally did. I volunteered for Vietnam and was sent to Germany. There he had to go to Vietnam every month. It took seven months and then they sent me home on a 30 day leave of absence and said my orders would be delivered to my house in SD. However, they forgot about me and it took 90 days for my Vietnam orders to arrive.

I volunteered as a helicopter gunner, but my MOS was a tank gunner. When I got to Vietnam, I was sent to a tank battalion that had three tank companies and one helicopter company. I went in to talk to the battalion commander and asked if he could put me on the helicopters. He said that a major in his office was the commander of the helicopter company. He said, "If he says he's fine, then I'm fine with it." The oldest says, "You're welcome, but you've got to join the crowd, guys" (this is a six-man squad thrown into the jungle for reconnaissance). I did this for 60 days before opening a door gunner position at Huey Helicopters. After writing a story about Vietnam on my website, another Vietnam veteran called me and told me it was his father, who was a colonel in the 3rd 5th Cavalry and then told him about the young man soldier, who wanted to be in warships His son then went to Vietnam and is now a pilot for Continental Airline.

-Billy Norman, Gillette, Wyoming

I was not recruited. I attended the University of North Dakota, graduating from the ROTC program in 1956, and entered pilot training in August. He resigned from the USAF in 1977 and has lived in Sioux Falls ever since.

-William Novetzke, Sioux Falls, SD

Once we went out to help a train that was ambushed. Three helicopters were shot down and when we got there there were only three or four men left from that platoon. The rest were all killed.

Another time we just swept the area. We come to this little cabin over there. We walk past the dam and fire pistols. We went up that embankment and started shooting. There wasn't much protection around them, just these little dams. It was impossible to tell where they came from. I could see them hitting the sand. My assistant machine gunner was shot in the mouth; He went through one cheek and out the other. There was a big bomb crater and I dragged it there. Just before I shot him down, I was shot in the back. I had my backpack full of rations and the bullet went through all of that first, it was lucky to have that there; he recovered. It just opened the skin, it just broke the skin. I towed it into this crater and we put the helicopter in there and took it out. When that helicopter flew over, they kept shooting at the helicopter.

The guy who was shot in the mouth screamed like crazy when he was hit. Then he calmed down. Actually, he wasn't bleeding much, he was just coming out of one cheek. No broken teeth or anything. I put him in that crater and calmed him down. As soon as the helicopter hit the ground, he got up and ran straight for the helicopter. We didn't even have to help him.

The longest shoot I've ever had was from dusk to dawn. That was the NVA. They would sneak in there and grab the kids and walk hand in hand and you wouldn't even notice. You would be fifty meters away up there. There was the fire and you couldn't move. If you move, your own people could shoot you. You just had to sit down, more or less. We saw the NVA coming, 150 yards or so. We could see that they had the whole team with them and we opened fire on them. Two or three minutes later they were firing mortars at us and everything. This is the second time I've been hit. I picked up mortar fragments. We were in a rice paddy with 15 to 20 centimeters of water. We were upside down trying to dig a little bit and then the mortars were coming from 25 to 50 feet away, we were lucky to be upside down. This time I have splinters in my arm. Blood started oozing out of my hand, I think six to eight inches. I took off the bandage and rolled it up. The most important thing they taught you was not to yell or anything that would shock you. Getting hit didn't bother me, but a couple of guys got hit and started screaming their heads off.

-Vincent Olson, Pierre, SD

The war against communism was hot and cold. I served on the cold side, in the air cave, training and patrolling the border of the Czech Iron Curtain for the day the "balloon" was supposed to rise. My high school and college freshman Greg Karger served the spicy side. A Marine who, like me in the Army, traveled to and from the service in a slick. Gregs was shot down somewhere near A Shaut Valley and his name is on the wall. Beating the rotor blades forever makes me grateful and honors the sacrifice of all who served during this time. Welcome home brothers and sisters!

- Charles Ostrowski, Sioux-Fälle, S.D

One night I was guarding our drink and we were hit by about 40 rockets. I slept in a bed back then, and when the first rocket went off, I think I literally ran through the air to get into the bunker as fast as possible.

When I arrived at my engineering unit to help build the QL1, our convoy came under fire and two drivers were killed. A few days later, one of the fleet mechanics was working on the rock crusher and fell into the crusher. At the time I thought that I could never make it for a year.

-Steven Owen, Henry, South Dakota

I was a veteran of the Vietnam era. I was not a combat veteran.

-William Paradeis, Sioux Falls, SD

I'm Chuck's maternal uncle. I represent my entire family by writing this tribute to him.

At the time of her death, she had parents Verna and Delma, a brother Larry, a sister LaCarolina, a half-brother Terry Pfeiffer, grandparents Henry and Bertha, three aunts, seven uncles, and 37 cousins. We honor his memory and the memory of all fallen heroes. Chuck died just before his 21st birthday. He stepped on a mine road and at that moment we lost him forever. God bless and keep him. Sincerely, Melvin Schmitt and family

Marine Corps ID # 2224917 CACCF Reference # 4305

Wall of Names on granite tablet 25E - line 13

-Charles Patterson, Everett, Washington

I have met many fine soldiers during my service. I learned what union, love and respect means.

-John Pearson, Rapid City, South Dakota

After graduating from OCS, I became an infantry platoon commander in Korea, after which I remained in the service. In August 1965 I joined the forward command of the 1st Infantry Brigade of the "Big Reds". We cleared the Phuc Vinh area in War Zone D and started fighting. As an intelligence officer and operations officer, I wrote orders, instructions, and intelligence documents for many combat operations in war zones D, C, the Iron Triangle, and various large rubber plantations in the 3rd Corps area of ​​operations. We would leave our base camp and remain operational for up to 40 days. I have operated in advanced CP or helicopters. The brigade conducted five major operations with up to seven infantry battalions in the fighting. The brigade also fought many other battles. The rules of engagement were numerous and exacting. When the VC were near or driven to the Cambodian border, they found a safe haven.

Commanders in the field were not allowed to successfully carry out their duties because our hands were tied by orders from Washington. The soldiers with whom I had daily contact were loyal, brave and fulfilled the tasks assigned to them. Morale was high and he deserved the respect one would show a war veteran.

- Gordon Pederson, Magic Wand, SD

In the spring of 1963 I joined the Naval Reserve at Sioux Falls. When I raced at Howard Wood Field, I would take paperwork home for my parents to sign, since I was only 17 years old. I went to camp in the summer of 1963. After graduating from Chester High School, I entered active duty at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in September 1964. I left in February 1965 and enlisted on the USS Bennington CVS 20 in Long Beach, CA. At the end of March we left for West Pac, where we went to Pearl Harbor and then joined the Pacific Fleet. I returned to Long Beach in October 1965. In September 1966 I was released from active duty. I finished my time at the Sioux Falls Marine Reserve Unit.

- Howard Persing, Clay Center, KS

He was a radar technician providing short-range support for bombing raids in Thailand. aircraft guided to their destinations.

- Francis Peterson, Rapid City, South Dakota

In 1967, through an all-Army competition, I was selected to join the US Army's Vietnam Combat Art Program as a soldier artist. At the time of my selection to Combat Artist Team IV (CAT IV), I was serving as a postal clerk at US 8th Army Postal Base 1st, based at Camp Ames, near Taejon, South Korea. South. I received Temporary Service Orders (TDYs) for Vietnam and was assigned to Cabinet, Chief of Military History, Headquarters, US Army in Vietnam (USARV), Special Troops.

As a soldier artist in Vietnam, I had open travel assignments that allowed me to travel on my spare time and integrate with a variety of Army field units in many different locations. My unit visits typically lasted from one to three days, and the types of units visited varied widely, from peacekeeping programs to jungle night patrols. Traveling with field units, I sketched and gathered the information needed to create the final graphic for US Army-related activities.

We had complete artistic freedom and were encouraged to interpret and express ourselves in a personal style. The artwork I completed while serving as a soldier artist in Vietnam is currently in the permanent war art collection at the US Army Center of Military History in Washington DC.

-James Pollock, Pierre, SD

One of my most memorable days in Vietnam was the day I managed to forget for a while that I was at war. Each month our unit raised money and donated it to a Catholic orphanage that housed mixed-race children. These children were essentially outcasts in Vietnamese society and had no one to love or care for them. We could spend a day with them and have a picnic. It was refreshing to see the innocence and share a little love with these children. I felt like I was doing something nice for someone in the midst of total chaos. It was a special day that is engraved in my memories.

-Thomas Pratt, Custer, Dakota del Sur

The Battalion Landing Team (BLT), known as "Floats", was a Marine battalion deployed in four or five amphibious assault ships for deployment to a critical point in preparation for war. BLT 1/9 embarked on amphibious assault ships in March 1972 for service in the waters off the North and South Vietnamese coasts. During this engagement, North Vietnamese attacked South Vietnam through the DMZ with armor and troops. This became known as the 1972 Easter Offensive. During this time, we supported South Vietnamese forces with sea fire, air strikes, and helped land South Vietnamese marines on the beach north of DaNang. We were ordered to wait for a possible redeployment to protect DaNang and other Navy installations. During our deployment, our ship was attacked by a shore battery off the North Vietnamese coast and we were alerted to a possible attack by a PT ship. BLT 1/9 deployed for 90 days (March to June) and returned to Okinawa for suspension and decommissioning.

In July, the 9/2 BLT ordered to deploy to the North and South Vietnamese coasts in support of South Vietnamese and United States forces. We support the South Vietnamese marines and naval forces in beach landings and airstrikes in this campaign to recapture lost territory. BLT 2/9 deployed for 60 days (July-Sept) and returned to Okinawa to be suspended and released.

In September, BLT 3/9 was ordered for use off the coast of North and South Vietnam. During this deployment, we helped South Vietnam re-establish itself and assisted the South Vietnamese Navy and Naval Forces with beach landings and airstrikes to help the Vietnamese regain control. BLT 3/9 was used for 60 days (September to November). We returned to Okinawa and were ordered to stand down and be released from the camp.

- Charles Quinn, Lower Brule, SD

I was an analyst for Radio Intercept, working the night President Nixon sent special forces into North Vietnam (November 1970) to rescue POWs from the Son Tay POW camp near Hanoi. I've monitored radio traffic and we're tracking helicopters in North Vietnam. When the troops arrived, they found North Vietnamese troops waiting for them. Although it was a disaster, many of our guys had to return to their base. I felt very bad about this mission and always considered it a failure.

When I got home, I moved to Maryland, went to college, and graduated. In 1977 I got a job at NASA, where I still work today. I had the opportunity to attend a 2 week supervisor course in York, PA. The day before the end of the training, we had a guest motivational speaker who was a former Vietnam POW. During the break I went up to him and told him how excited I was to hear about his experiences. I also told him that he was working on the Son Tay mission and that I just wanted to get his perspective. Did that help? What he told me brought tears to my eyes. He said that although the mission was a failure, it was a great morale boost for the prisoners of war. The guards were nervous about the rescue attempt and the POWs continued to harass the guards by throwing rocks into the cells. After talking about it, I felt very proud to be able to work on this mission and no longer consider it a failure.

-Charles Radspinner, Owings, MD

I flew to Saigon on August 10, 1968 on Pan Am Fleet 841. I am from Iowa, but walking out the door felt like I had been slapped in the face with a heavy wet blanket. I was a martial artist. In Long Binh they gave me an M-14 and ammunition. They said they did not give TDY specialists pistols or M-16s. I packed up my artist supplies, camera, film, journal, and TDY travel orders and was off. On an ambush patrol with 3rd Platoon, C Co, 2nd Battalion, 199th Light Infantry Brigade, we were ambushed. The photographer I was with was shot in the face. I used my two rounds of ammo and then gave the machine gunner an ammo belt from a bag while the ammo transporter moved forward to bring back the dead and wounded. We put on our helmets as the air raids passed overhead. Reinforcements arrived and I transferred to D Company.

I did two paintings, "Firefight" and "Get 'em Out", 48" by 60", to capture everything for the story. Someday I would like to meet someone who would be there for me. My shift from August to October didn't always work out. There were medical pacification teams, flares, bird dog operations, eagle flights, firefly missions, rocket batteries and others. I remember them, but now I paint "en plein air" - outside - in the wonderful places of South Dakota.

-Stephen Randall, Sioux Falls, SD

He also served in the Army from November 1975 to May 1995. He was a First Sergeant in the Army.

-Duane Riedlinger, Black Hawk, South Dakota

Robert M. Roseland was awarded the Air Hero Medal in December 1968 after he and fellow crew member Joel S. McDaniel risked their lives for the success of their mission. The Roseland Awards read as follows: "For heroism during a military-related air flight against an enemy force: These men distinguished themselves by exceptionally courageous actions while serving as crew members aboard a UH-1C helicopter conducting reconnaissance. ..the special The forces supported the team besieged by overwhelming enemy forces.Arriving at the team's position, they located the enemy positions and strafed them.The enemy gunners returned fire, but these men bravely leaned out of the plane to continue firing .During grenade extraction.They provided suppressive fire that repelled the advancing enemy force.Their courage and professionalism contributed greatly to the success of the mission.Their actions were in the highest tradition of military service and a testament to themselves, your unit and the United States Army."

-Robert Roseland, Dakota del Sur

I never served in Vietnam during my tenure.

-Joseph Rowe, Sioux Falls, SD

I joined the 1st Battalion, Company A 7th Calvario on November 18, 1965. I remember an incident that inserted itself into a hot landing zone to outflank an enemy position that one of our units was ambushing. Three helicopters crashed on the landing zone; I remember seeing dead pilots there. To outflank the ambush, we had to cross a river. I was at the site with two men and when we were crossing they were shot dead in the middle of the river. I don't know why I didn't go. I went up to the bench and the first sergeant said we had to get the dead out. No one wanted to leave so I said I'd be back but I'd need help getting them to the bank. I have made two trips. However, we got stuck and couldn't get across.

Meanwhile, the M-60 only fired one shot at a time. The first sergeant yelled, "LeClair, go over there and fix that machine gun." He knew that I was a gunner in Germany before Vietnam. I pushed past guys who were shooting M-16 grenades. I took the gun, checked it out, and immediately recognized the problem. The gas connection was backwards. I turned it over, unscrewed the cap and fired a salvo of 10-20 rounds. After returning to my position, we found that there were spider holes on the river bank. I picked up six or eight grenades, dragged myself to the shore and threw them overboard. The ambush stalled just before sunset, so we took our two dead and withdrew.

I was nominated for a Silver Star but received a Bronze Star for bravery. I didn't find out until later that I was eligible for an award. I never thought I was a hero, I just did a job that needed to be done.

- LeClair Roy, Tee, SD

My brother wanted to serve his country by going to Vietnam; He was proud of his country and what he did. During his life he spoke many times about this war and other conflicts taking place around the world. He was just as grateful as I was for the freedom we have in our country. Every day our brave men and women learn the knowledge that they are risking their lives for us in all the trouble spots of the world. My prayers are with our fallen soldiers and their families and with this MIA for their safe return.

-James Rudd, SD

Every one of the 26th Marines can remember the truck convoys from DaNang to Khe Sanh; the hot and rainy days, the wet rides as we escorted those convoys to their destinations. On the way the kids were trying to sell us hamburgers. Also the mines on the road and the ambushes, the first time I heard a shot in my direction, the whistle went through my head, then I knew it was real. That was "Good morning, brothers." Then we went for a walk through the bush and rice fields. I will never forget the brothers we lost, never... I still think of you today. OOORRAAHHHH

-Charles Falcon Runner, Lincoln, Nebraska

While many AVN (Republic of Vietnam Army) units may not be viewed well by people who fought in Vietnam, the Rangers have done very well. Base camp on the 37th was in DaNang, although we only went twice. We have almost always been in the field, mainly in the mountains, with a mission to find and fight the NVA (North Vietnamese Army). Although armed only with the M1 rifle and carbine, the Rangers never hesitated to fight the NVA. I am proud to have served with them. I also had the privilege of serving with members of the 5th Special Forces in Operation SOG (Ho Chi Minh Trail Invasion).

- Terrance Ryan, Madison, Dakota del Sur

Phan Rang, Vietnam

It was an hour before midnight when I started my regular shift. Rockets and mortars began to rain down. We ran to our little sandbag hut. There was only one vent so it was oppressively hot in there, probably in the 120 degree range. Sweat covered every part of our body. I sat as close to the opening as possible, there were seven of us in a very crowded room. During the attack, "Pedro", the Air Force rescue helicopter, was activated. I saw the helicopter take off with its crew. About 30 meters above the ground, part of the main rotor broke off and struck a nearby building. "Peter" fell from the sky like a thousand pound rock. It hit the block, it burst open, then burst into flames. Along with my comrades, I jumped up and ran towards the plane, leaping over jagged, twisted pieces of metal and dodging "approaching" and shots from what I assumed to be an AK47. It was obvious that there was no hope for the doctor on board. We ran towards the remains of the cabin and, as a group, we took the two people out. The heat was like a severe sunburn on her face and hands. We put her in an ambulance. I looked at my bloody hands. I would never know if anyone survived. It was just part of what happened.

On Christmas Eve 1968, I decided that if I went back I would try to go back to school and do something for myself. There had to be a reason for my survival. I am proud to say that the rehabilitation of my injuries has allowed me to complete my education and I am now the principal of the school. I'm just one of those who went through the hell called Vietnam.

-Richard Schaffan, McIntosh, Dakota del Sur

During my tour I was crew chief on a Huey helicopter. I really appreciate the recognition you give to Vietnam Veterans.

-Frank Schröder, Gillette, WY

Buried at Fort Snelling Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

-Henry Schumacher, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Was in Late Recruit Program May 10, 1967. Retired from Air Force Reserve May 9, 1973.

-Jerome Schwartz, Holzsee, MN

I was in Yokosuka port about a week before the capture of the USS Pueblo. So I saw it. We were on our way to Australia for the Coral Sea Festival when she was captured. We returned to Yoko for food and fuel and were sent to monitor activity outside the port where she was still moored. We could see it. We were seen and harassed several times, but we managed to escape. I met Pete Bucher's widow at our meeting in Flagstaff, Arizona in May 2006. What a lovely and beautiful woman.

-Thomas Scoblic, Ortonville, Minnesota

a good day spoiled

One morning we were caught in an L-shaped ambush coming out of our nightly check-in. Our platoon lost its first gun and four others, including the foreman. We had 22 or 23 people to drop off, so we decided to retreat to the top of Lumberjack Hill and regroup. Armed boats and air raids peppered the view from an ambush as we helped our wounded up the hill. We had to be provided with ammunition, water, food, etc. We cleared a landing zone for helicopters to "dust off" and remove our wounded.

Our supply helicopter arrived around sunset. He was about ¼ mile away, asking for smoke. While the guys were preparing the right paint, an automatic explosion from small arms hit the support helicopter. It roared black smoke up to a small clearing at the bottom of the hill. Once the bird landed, all four crew members ejected, ran to the tree line for cover, and the Huey exploded in a giant fireball. Well, that's where all our refills and especially our "mail" go, we thought!

As I watched all of this, I noticed three NVAs running towards the area of ​​the burning helicopter and the crew's location. I opened it with my M-60 machine gun and immobilized the enemy, or at least drove them back behind the trees and halted their advance on the fallen crewman. Then some artillery ships showed up, saw my trackers, and dotted the area. Meanwhile, a brave pilot in another Huey pounced next to the burning helicopter, scooped up the four crew members and pulled them out to safety.

The sun was low, but there was still light; We needed clean water. Our throats were dry! The map showed a small creek at the back of the hill, so I grabbed eight canteens from the other guys, searched the creek below, and filled them up. Fortunately, I completed all eight with no enemies. I walked up the steep hill in the dark with full canteens and was greeted by thirsty friends!

- Neil Spade, Blunt, SD

I joined the Army a year after graduating from Riggs High School in Pierre, South Dakota and two months after I was married. On August 30, 1968, I entered Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I completed my college education at Fort Lewis, Washington. After completing basic training, I attended AIT School in Fort Yustus, VA to complete a UH-1 Helicopter Mechanics course. I was transferred to Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, GA. My daughter was born in Savannah and I received my packages for Vietnam. I took a month of vacation before going to Vietnam. I arrived at Cam Rohn Bay in the country on September 14, 1969 and was assigned to the 116th Aviation Battalion as a gunner/door mechanic on UH-1s. My unit was a VIP unit and we were flying generals, colonels and battalion commanders. We also provided air support to any units that needed assistance. I got promoted to Specialist 5 and was number 1 on the promotion list. I completed my service and was assigned to Fort Lewis, Washington. I applied for another six years and went to Germany for three years. I spent the remainder of my military career at Fort Lewis, Washington and was honorably discharged as an E-5 Sergeant on June 22, 1977.

-LaVerne Stevens, Casa Grande, AZ

Attack on U-Tapao, January 10, 1972

It all started on Sunday, January 9, 1972 as just another normal night when we were assigned another night at U-Tapao with our dogs. We were tasked with protecting the 18-mile radius of the base and we were the first line of defense. Unknown at the time, a sapper team was preparing to attack our B-52s parked in their pods. The attack route started along the Sattahip-Ban Chang road and passed through four holes in the fence. They crossed the open field to the road where they were seen. They then ran into area B-52 and exited through the bomb bay.

The following account of that night comes from statements by members of Section 635 SPS K-9:

Security Police K-9 Major Sergeant Al Stoltenburg and his dog Mac* (3M72) were assigned to the post along the access road to the bomb depot. The road ran along the northern flight line from the gate of the Sattahip-Ban Chang Expressway to the gate of the bomb depot. Trucks carrying ammunition from the deep-water port of Sattahip used this route. Around 1:30 a.m. At m., somewhere between the kennel area and the airline, Mac alerted Al and led him to two figures lying on the grass next to the road. When Mac was within three feet of the intruders, the two opened pistol fire, firing six to eight rounds as they rose to their feet, thankfully missing Al and Mac.

Then, as the sappers accelerated towards the B-52, Al ordered the attack and filled out the report once they reached the B-52's area. One of the engineers managed to get close enough to a B-52 to drop a loaded backpack into the intake of one engine and under the wings of two others. An intruder confronted one of the airline's maintenance workers and tried to shoot him, but the gun was either empty or misfired.

There were three explosions that were heard by all the personnel working that night. At this point, the radio was full of response teams and support forces for traffic distribution in the area. The sappers chose an escape route through the bomb dump. This decision proved fatal for one of the attackers in a shootout with security police forces deployed and in return. The area was lit by multiple torches and lights from the towers in the area. One attacker was killed and the second managed to escape over the fence and into the jungle outside the base.

Security police and security dog ​​handlers who were not stationed at the time of the attack responded and were assigned to a special post or command. Hours after the attack and after dawn, the area was thoroughly searched for any live ammunition left over from the attack. Many other charges and detonators were discovered. The charges either fell out of the sappers while running or failed to detonate because the "rapid" detonators used were not positioned far enough in the charge.

Damage to the three B-52s was minor, the #7 engine from one B-52 was replaced and the other two bullet holes in the fuselage were repaired. All three planes were flying sorties within 24 hours of the attack.

Final thought to the handlers after that night: We all remember the long night when we left the gas station around noon and headed straight to the club to wash off the night.

Thanks to the following Police K-9 Security personnel who contributed to this story: Scotty Linney, Rick Maurer, Jim Mayer, Frank McKinley, Tom Ozuna, Al Stoltenburg, Bernie Turnbloom, David Wymer, and Larry Zacker.

Well, the rest of the story!

*USAF Sentry Dog Mac, Tattoo 3M72, arrived at U-Tapao in 1968, commonly known as the "Third Wave". It arrived on September 22, 1969 with its original controller, A1C Wayne Luker, of Lackland AFB, TX. Mac was assigned to Al Stoltenburg in October 1971.

This article appeared in the Bangkok Post on January 11, 1972.


Vietnamese killed in daring attack

A SUICIDE squad of two communist terrorists infiltrated the US B52 base at U-tapao in Rayong province early yesterday morning, unsuccessfully trying to disable the giant bombers.

One of the intruders, a Vietnamese, was shot dead and the other captured, Air Force Marshal Dawee Chulalasapya, Supreme Command chief of staff, said last night as he returned from the base.

While one of the B52's engines needed to be replaced, two others, which suffered minor damage, were operational as of midday yesterday and all three were operational, he said. The terrorists are believed to have entered the U-Tapao base at around 8 p.m. Sunday.

At that time, a minibus carrying eight to 10 people was traveling on the highway outside the base fence. He moved back and forth between three sentinels. The sentry boxes are 100 meters away. The middle of these three sentinels was empty and the searchlights were off. It later emerged that the lights had gone out and the guardhouse had been unoccupied for seven days.

Investigators later suspected that the bus's movement was an attempt to attract the attention of guards at the other two stands. As this diversionary maneuver continued, the intruders, who were lying in the tall grass of the embankment, managed to break through the barbed wire of the fence. The wire was cut in four places.

Thai and American investigators are trying to find out how the terrorists managed to cross half a kilometer of open ground into the B52's flight path. Near the flight line is an earthen mound with five sentinels in sandbags. It appears that the terrorists took several hours to reach the plane.

One of the infiltrators managed to place a charge under the #7 engine of the following eight-engined B52. At 1:30 am the bomb exploded, causing fire and flames and damaging the #7 engine and the nearest #8 engine. The #7 engine had to be replaced, but the #8 engine was repairable. Two more explosions followed. One caused by dropping a payload under the nearest aircraft caused some dents in the fuselage and damaged some rivets. The plane was ready to fly yesterday at noon. One report says the third explosion caused similar minor damage to a third B52, but another report says the charge damaged a truck.

Suddenly, four torches went out, illuminating the field. They were probably attacked by the terrorists. A US Air Force guard saw one of the terrorists near the fence and challenged him. When the terrorist raised the gun from him, the guard shot him dead. He dropped dead. To his right he held a .38 pistol with two shots already fired. The left of him held a grenade. Four plastic bombs hang from his belt. An identification card with the name of Som Sukcharoen, 30, from Amphoe Muang, Nakhon Phanom, was found on his body. The identification was believed to be incorrect. Air Force Marshal Dawee said that he was a Vietnamese citizen.

Thai and US officials are questioning two Thai guards who were reportedly on duty near the fence that was cut. They were identified as Boonlue Angsupan and Visut Suthipan. A helicopter search was launched both on land and at sea to find out how the terrorists got there and if others were hiding nearby. Vehicle checkpoints have been set up to search for the strange van that was seen outside the base. No one on the base was injured. Thai and US authorities are working closely together on the investigation. Rayong Governor Somporn Thanasathit gave personal attention to the matter. They are confused as to how the terrorists managed to enter the base and move through an open area towards the airline without being observed or questioned.

Both Thai and US officials acknowledged that a small group raid on a large base is always possible. Investigators want to know why the bulb that broke last week was not replaced or repaired. The Alsatians who were being trained to patrol barked as the truck maneuvered, but were ignored by their diversionary tactics.

- Allen Stoltenburg, Watertown, SD

I have no criminal record, but I was born and raised in Miller, SD and graduated from South Dakota State College in 1961. After graduation, I joined the Navy. Thank you for the wonderful job you are doing to remind South Dakota vets of this!

-Eugene Stubsten, Chattanooga, Tennessee

I served on three temporary deployments in direct support of operations in Vietnam while assigned to U-Tapao Thailand's air supply mission over the Republic of Vietnam.

-Raymond Summers, Keystone, Dakota del Sur

I took pride in serving my country and did so by receiving an honorable discharge. On my first trip away from home, I was greeted by my mother, father, and uncle. My father was a World War II veteran and my uncle served in the Korean War. It's been great for me to have support at a time when it seemed like the whole nation was against veterans. Others and I were waiting at the Tacoma Seattle airport in Washington around 2:00 a.m. m. departure for international service to Alaska, when a large group of people spat at us and called us "baby killers." I never forgot that either. But this is America and free speech goes a long way, even if it's hateful, demeaning and just plain mean! It's lucky we live in a country where you have the right to free speech, but for an 18-year-old boy, this was an experience he had never had before or would ever have again. I never forgot it, but I moved on with my life! There were also those who wished us the best with Godspeed and I want to thank those people for their support when I needed it most!

-James Symes, SD

As a surgeon in the 42nd Artillery Battalion, 5th, I received temporary duty orders in December 1968. I was flown to headquarters in the Saigon area. There were four others who received similar orders. The five of us became members of the Prisoner of War Parole Team. They told us what to say and what to do. On Christmas Day, in our freshly pressed uniforms, clean boots and real haircuts, two helicopter pilots took us to an area near the Cambodian border. They left us in this open area and left. We were not allowed to carry weapons on this mission. There was no one in sight for the first few minutes, and then suddenly the entire area was surrounded by armed Vietcong soldiers. The negotiations lasted about three hours. We were unsuccessful, but a second meeting was arranged. We were then picked up and driven back to the Saigon area and taken to a Christmas dinner with General Westmorland at his canteen.

The second meeting on January 1, 1969 was similar; This time, however, we negotiated the release of three prisoners of war and they were taken back to the hospital in Saigon and we never saw them or learned their names again. The next day we were returned to our units. The five of us on the team had never met before this mission, and haven't seen each other since. It would be very interesting to meet any of the remaining negotiating teams or the POWs.

- Ronald Tesch, MD, Brookings, South Dakota

He served as M-Day in the SD Army National Guard from February 1976 to July 1996, retiring as a group commander, 109th Engineer Group.

-Roger Thorstenson, Selby, SD

I enlisted in the US Navy at the age of 17 with my mother's permission. After training, I was stationed on the USS Providence throughout my naval career. Providence served as the flagship of the 7th Fleet off the coast of Vietnam for two years. We provide naval artillery support for Army and Navy observers on the ground. I was a radar man, and part of my job was to talk to the spotters and get the coordinates for the gunners' shots. I had a special assignment with "Monkey Mountain" DaNang as a Radio Net Controller at the USAF facility there. I was the target of mortar attacks only three times during my stay. The USS Providence was only hit twice while I was on board. She was and still am proud to have served my country. Ten years after the war, I rejoined the US Army and retired with a total of 23 years of service. I am proud of every minute.

-Dennis Tolliver, Lennox, Dakota del Sur

In addition to my service in Vietnam, I also served in Beriut Lebanon/on the USS Inchon/TAD to HMH 262 Beruit Airport.

- Leonard Toohey, Newell, Dakota del Sur

I was a tank commander in South Vietnam for four and a half years.

- Maynard Traversie, Newell, Dakota del Sur

On May 25, 1971, I returned to the United States. One night at my parents' kitchen table, I said goodbye to friends and memories, knowing that it was all over around May 30, 1971. I stayed in the Army Air Guard and graduated from Dakota State in 1971. I earned a Bachelor of Industrial Arts in 1974 and met my wife Jayne in 1972. We were married in 1975 and I stayed in the Army Air Guard until 1976. Today, 2006, I am an FAA Jet Flight Examiner.

-David Van Liere, Huntington, IN

During my service in Germany I had the privilege of visiting the divided city of Berlin. West Berlin was a vibrant and cosmopolitan city like many others I have seen in Europe. East Berlin was terrible. Thirty years after the end of the war, there were still bullet-hole-ridden walls and piles of World War II rubble. West Berlin was full of cars and full of people. East Berlin had very little car traffic and people seemed listless, hopeless and lifeless. And that was the showcase of communism! That contrast has stayed with me ever since and has made me forever grateful for these brave souls who gave their time and in some cases their lives so that we could remain free in this country.

- Robert Van Sichel, Gillette, Wyoming

In 1966 I graduated from high school in Pollock, SD. I was living in Aberdeen, SD when I found out that I had been drafted. In fact, they called me to Emmons County, ND, where my parents' farm was located.

-Kenneth Vander Vorst, Pollock, Dakota del Sur

He flew RF-4Cs in Vietnam in 1966 and Okinawa in 1967 until March 1968. By May 1971, he was teaching T-38 student pilots at Randolph. After leaving the USAF in 1971, he was hired as one of the original pilots for Southwest Airlines.

-Eugene Van Overschelde, Coppell, Texas

Jet mechanic and non-status crew member on B-57 and C-130E in Vietnam.

- Melvin Vavra, Elch Point, South Dakota

My husband served at Ft. Detrick, MD (Chemical and Biological Laboratory). There he was exposed to many toxins and diseases used in the "war effort." His tasks were mainly in the field of civil engineering. He doesn't know that I am sacrificing his name for this good cause. Although he did not serve in Vietnam, many of his friends, neighbors and colleagues did. He honors and respects all they have done for our country and the sacrifices they have made. Thank you Linda Velder

-Gary Velder, Newell, South Dakota

One day while on a reconnaissance patrol, our eight-person reconnaissance team was walking under some mango trees. The branches of these trees provided a canopy, much like an open umbrella. As we moved in single file, a sudden sound of bullets was heard piercing the treetops from above. We all dropped to the ground and looked around to see where the fire was coming from. To our surprise we found that our attackers were a group of monkeys who threw stones at us from the top of the rocks. We were very relieved to see that we were not under enemy fire. We keep walking laughing. I know it sounds crazy, but it's a true story.

-Rolf Vensand, Littleton, Colorado

He served in the Infantry after Basic and AIT at Fort Lewis. Assigned to the 8th Army Special Infantry Command, United Nations Command, Seoul, Korea, for 14 months. He was an infantry sergeant with a unit responsible for ceremonial service as an honor and security guard for the CINC Pacific Forces.

- Curtis Voight, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

January 1968, the Tet Offensive - On the 4th of the 23rd he was at his base camp in the Iron Triangle. Some of us noticed the sound of 122 rockets flying overhead. Shots were heard just before dawn and we had a small Vietcong MR4 or MR7 element sticking out of the ground inside the base camp fence. This was quickly resolved and we were sent back to the CuChi base for further deployment. This involved a burst of combat from our perimeter and we headed for CuChi, where my platoon was dispatched to secure the HocMon Bridge. Other items moved to Saigon, GiaDinh area, where we lost some of our vehicles. Disturbing, like our battalion. However, we did well and suffered few human casualties.

- Russ Walberg, Rutland, South Dakota

I joined the army right after the Vietnam War. Military service was not popular then. The Army went from being a recruiting organization to one of voluntary service. As a young officer in South Dakota, I faced many challenges, the least of which were drug and alcohol problems in the military at the end of the Vietnam War. After my basic officer training at Ft. Belvior, Virginia, I was assigned to the 82nd Engineer Battalion in Bamberg, Germany. My wife and I lived in a small German apartment near the East German border. Our German neighbor asked me one day if the US Army would stand and fight if the East German/Soviet Army invaded West Germany. What a deep question. I said, "Yes, we would." Yet when I thought of my own unit, where about a third of our soldiers were enrolled in the Army's drug and alcohol program, I wondered how many would fight. Many were repeat drug offenders waiting to be kicked out of the military. It was a difficult time after the Vietnam War to put our military on volunteer duty. We made that transition, and when I retired from the Army in 1994, I knew we had the best-trained and best-equipped military in the world. When my German neighbor asked me this question in 1975, I had to think about my answer.

-David Weeks, Piamonte, Dakota del Sur

I arrived at Tan Son Nhut AB in Vietnam in November 1967 and was taken by bus to the reception area. Then I was processed and finally assigned to the 6th Artillery of the 8th Battalion. At the same time, bloody battles took place on Hills 875 and 823. These were some very important battles that the American forces won, but they cost them many lives. It lasted 33 days.

The first six months were like going to school. The men who were there became teachers and were later transferred out of the country so that the more experienced recruits became teachers in turn. After six months I was assigned to drive the Star Wrecker, one of three recovery vehicles. There was also the 578 Retriever and the M 88 Tank Retriever. One of the first tasks with the destroyer was to take ammunition from an ammunition truck and transfer it to helicopters for transport to the 155mm guns.

Removing and replacing the barrels was another chore. Over time we installed power lines so that each tent and building had light. A 60 KW generator was installed, which became one of my daily chores. Sometimes we were hired for construction work by making our own bricks by mixing cement and clay and pressing one by one. Holding enough stones was a daunting task.

There were two levels of security, night security and 24 hour security. After guard duty, you returned to your assigned duties. One of the last jobs or ventures the machine park attempted was to build a lawn mower. Parts were salvaged from the junkyard. When the project was announced, it was the only one at the time. We were caught by an inspection team and it was not an authorized team so it had to be destroyed. No further attempts were made to replace it while I was there as I was nearing the end of my year. I left the country in November 1967

I had 90 days left in the Army and was discharged from the 76th Hem Company at Fort Knox, KY. I returned to my SD ranch and have stayed here ever since. I was in reserve from March 21, 1968 to March 21, 1972.

This is my report on the Vietnam War. Warren Weischedel (US 558398771) Headquarters Battery 8th Battalion 6th Artillery 1st Infantry Division.

-Warren Weschel, Agar, South Dakota

I was one of the lucky ones"; I had to serve my country, but they did not send me to Vietnam. But every day of the almost three years that I have been in Ft. Leonard Wood MO, I remembered those who were there.

We sent thousands of soldiers from our training base to Vietnam who were well trained and motivated to serve with pride. As a 3 year old soldier, I spent my entire time in the 5th AIT Brigade feeling blessed and guilty while others suffered much greater hardship. Although motivated by the "call", I joined to defend my right to think and live freely. I was often called the "loyal opposition" because, like many others, I opposed the war but loved my country and my comrades. I maintained that loyalty and attitude after active duty, returned to South Dakota, and spent the next 30 years in the active duty Army Reserve. The bulk of that service has been devoted to continuing to train new Soldiers who will proudly serve future missions, as we have seen recently. I retired as a sergeant in 2004. God bless America.

-David Welch, Sioux Falls, SD

He was there while serving with Powell in the Americas Division.

-Luke White Stone, Pine Ridge, Dakota del Sur

Three tours of Vietnam: one on the USS Yorktown, one on the USS Ranger, and one tour of the country.

-Gene Whitefeather, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

Who can forget the smell of burning honey buckets, the sunsets and the stillness of scanning the sky when you hear the faint sound of a helicopter?

-Michael Whiting, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I was born in Wagner, SD and grew up in Fort Pierre. I graduated from Stanley County High School in 1969. I joined the Army in September 1969. I completed basic training at Ft. LEIS, WA. MP School in GA. I was stationed at Fort Eustis, VA for eight months and then received my orders for Vietnam in August 1970. I was in the country from September 2, 1907 to April 3, 1972.

An MP in Vietnam was hated by everyone except other MPs. The Viet Cong hated us because they thought we kept American soldiers in check (little did they know), the South Vietnamese for the same reason and the American soldiers for the same reason. He quickly learned that no matter where he turned, it was a no-win situation, so he kept to himself and tried to do his job to the best of his ability. I worked at Checkpoints, Combined Forces Patrols (which included a USMP, a Civilian Police VN TC, a VN MP and a Korean MP). I have served on convoy duty several times and have served in-country in the United States Customs Unit for the past ten months. He came home and left active duty for two and a half years (he was in the reserve). I returned to the SD at that time and then moved to Nebraska where I enlisted in the Active Guard Program (Active Army stationed with the Guard) and served in many different capacities during my 25 years there. I retired in 2001 and now work for the US Immigration Services Department of Homeland Security. I have never forgotten my SD roots. It's true: "Big faces, big places."

- Scott Wilson, Lincoln, Ne

Agee, Brown and Newcomb - I think of you often...

-Edward Wold, Rapid City, South Dakota

I spent 13 months in Vietnam and my duty was an experience I will surely never forget. From the moment I landed and got off the plane, smelled the air and felt the heat for the first time, until I flew across the country and remembered what I had experienced and how I had grown during those 13 months, I was a different person inside. . All he knew was that he had matured. After being in a war zone, things could only get better! On my way back to the United States, I left Japan for a while and stayed there for a week. I got on a C-130 the rest of the way home and it was full of American soldiers not coming home. What a long and sad journey. I was the one who jumped home from the back of the plane. Yes, I kissed the ground and thanked God! May God be with all those who lost their lives in the Vietnam War!

-John Young, Wakonda, Dakota del Sur

Allen Ziegler was a good American citizen as I knew him. I was glad to have served with him. I had with me the most extraordinary people from various countries of the world. As a Native American, he was among the best in the art of surviving in the harshest of conditions. As a squadron commander, he never let his men down. He always knew what to do and never worried about a mission. I have always wanted to talk to him, especially knowing that he is also from South Dakota. We share similarities. I remember so vividly the last time I saw him. He stood tall on his muscular frame, rifle on his knee, peering through the thick bamboo canopy with such confidence as we talked about our homeland. This is now just a memory that we can no longer share. His spirit is surely shared by all those he loved and cared for. I'm glad to have known you, even if it was for such a short time. Sincerely Michael Foley

-Allen Ziegler, SD

After graduating from flight school in 1967, I was assigned to the 17th Assault Helicopter Company. Our mission included moving the infantry into the combat area (landing zones), evacuating wounded and dead soldiers to the rear of the combat area, resupplying infantry elements in contact with the enemy, and providing artillery batteries (bases of fire support) with the necessary personnel, equipment and material.

Below are some war stories that took place during combat operations in Vietnam in 1968:

I was the aircraft commander of a helicopter on a flight of five helicopters. Our mission was to transport an infantry battalion to the rice fields. On our first flight in the area, we started taking pictures from a tree line along the river, about 250 meters from the landing zone. The ground fire was extremely heavy and I could hear the sound of enemy fire hitting the aircraft (a very familiar and distinctive "bang" sound). My gunner called the intercom and said that one of the infantrymen was not going to jump out of the plane. I turned around briefly and saw a Marine holding a structural support so tightly that the gunner couldn't let go. While all this was happening, they kept beating us on the plane. I was able to see the effects of enemy fire (splash) on the water in the rice fields. A shell entered the plane a few inches above my head, ricocheted off the cockpit, and landed at my feet. As we exited the LZ and continued our mission en route to the infantry staging area, all thoughts were of the five additional sorties needed to complete the mission.

I was on a solo mission (single aircraft) providing support from an FSB (Fire Support Base). During one of the raids on the base, I got a call asking if I could take eight KIA bodies (killed in action) to the rear morgue. This type of request was not uncommon. We routinely took KIA to the morgue. We were lounging on the ground waiting when a soldier in a poncho approached the plane. The four corners were tied together with a rope. He put the poncho in the hold and told us that there were seven body parts in the poncho. Two soldiers then loaded another KIA onto the plane and placed it in the cargo hold. The KIA had a hole in the hood big enough for me to see the light of day. They told us that a short bullet had exploded the night before, killing eight US infantrymen. The FSB ran out of body bags.

On a resupply mission for a fire support base, we landed on the helipad and waited for an FSB soldier to approach the plane. The FSB had their TOC (Tactical Operations Center) set up on a hill and their howitzers nearby. The size and shape of the FSB usable area and the top of the hill restricted access to the heliport from the ground by FSB personnel. With the rotor blades spinning, the soldier never crouched when approaching the aircraft to avoid contact with the main rotor. It was like everything was happening in slow motion... as he came down the hill towards us, we (the team) anticipated the inevitable and tried to get his attention with hand signals, body movements and voice commands. We saw the main rotor decapitate him. Upon our return to the base (Camp Eagle), my pilot said that he could not continue flying for the rest of the day and requested relief. I called flight operations for a backup pilot and we continued our mission.

We (me and the crew) were on a solo mission (single plane) when we started taking enemy fire. Within minutes the engine and transmission gauges were red and we were losing power. By this time we were at a high enough altitude to make a distress call, so I put the UHF beacon on watch and knew our position could make two distress calls on watch. This transmission went out twice before we were on the beach about 50 meters from the South China Sea. There were no forces of my own in the immediate vicinity and due to the enemy fire I received before being shot down, I expected the worst. I instructed the pilot and two gunners to move the M-60 machine guns and ammunition boxes to the highest position on the sand dune off our flank and establish fields of fire. This gave us coverage in a 180 degree arc.

I climbed into the nose of the plane and opened the canopy to see the damage that small arms fire had done. While in the lead (main rotor area) I heard the "whoosh" of AK-47 shells overhead and could see the North Vietnamese coming towards us and around the sampans parked on the beach. The gate gunners engaged in a firefight with the North Vietnamese disguised as "friendly peasants". I jumped off the top of the chopper, ran to the high sand dune (gunners) position, secured an M-16 with extra ammo, and began attacking the North Vietnamese, who were bypassing the sampans.

As this was happening, I noticed ripples of water near the shore, about 75 meters away. The North Vietnamese fired mortars and found their range to come at us. Suddenly, out of nowhere, with all the fighting, a light fire team appeared overhead. I ran to the helicopter, put on the flight helmet, connected the battery, turned on the radios, and broadcast while on duty: "Phu Bai fire squad command 090 radial degrees, keep watch." One of our internal firefighters heard my call for help and died to investigate. His response was: "We see the NVA mortar position firing at you. We're shooting in the heat. We're going to shoot the sampans so they keep their heads down. We've contacted company operations and a rescue ship will be here to pick you up." in 30 minutes.” The fighting continued until a rescue helicopter landed and we pulled the weapons and crew out of the sand dunes.

On the first trip to Vietnam I completed 1,238 hours of combat flight. Returning to base camp after a long day in the cabin, it was appropriate to say "death cheated again."

clark mola

17 (ahc)

I Corps (Aguila Camp)

101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

Republic of Sudvietnam

December 1967 – December 1968

Richard Langenfeld joined the US Marine Corps in 1959 and served his country for 22 years. He completed three service assignments in Vietnam, two as a helicopter pilot and one as a fighter pilot. He was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses.

In the book, written by Langenfeld's co-pilot Marion F. Sturkey, Bonnie Sue wrote: "I took the co-pilot's seat in room number 152515, and the captain of my helicopter was one of the greatest aviators that ever lived a H - 46, Captain Richard H. "Rollo" Langenfeld Rollo never walked, he strutted.

"You got the feeling that he viewed the entire world as his private domain. Tall and muscular, Rollo lived and flew on a razor's edge. Described by Colonel Medenhall as an exceptional pilot, Rollo was convinced that no living enemy gunner could shoot him from the sky.

Richard died peacefully in 2005. He will be missed. Sincerely, Larry Langenfeld, Brother

-Richard Langenfeld, Castlewood, SD

I was drafted into the US Army in April 1968 and after basic training was sent to Fort Rucker, Alabama for helicopter crew training (67A10).

They sent me to Vietnam and on the way we stopped in Alaska and then somewhere in Japan. The next stop was Cam Rahn Bay and from there I was sent to Chu-Lai and stationed at the 123rd Aviation Battalion, Aero Scout Company (Warlords). While on the ground, I serviced helicopters and later served as Crew Chief/Gunner.

I'm not one to talk about Vietnam unless someone talks about it and asks me a question. Although I have been back from Vietnam for a little over 35 years, I find it very difficult to talk about some things. Due to my feelings, I was only able to give a few lectures on Vietnam, because when I come to the subject of the death of a good friend, I slowly lose it.

I will never forget getting on the Freedom Bird (the plane home). Oh what a feeling I came home to the good old USA of A; Cause so many of us never come back

As we approached Pierre Airport, I looked out the window and what a view! The hills and fields of old South Dakota! No rice balls, no jungle, no black pajamas and pointy hats. Stepping off the plane at Pierre Airport, I will always remember the smell of fresh air (not at all like Vietnam). Arriving at the terminal, I was greeted by my dear mother, my dear father, and my uncle Roy Hiller.

Thank God I made it home like many couldn't because I now have a loving family, my wife, two sons (Brad and Jerid), one daughter (Stephanie Briggs), and seven beautiful grandchildren. Thanks god. I would like to take this moment to also thank EVERYONE who participated and helped make this event happen, thank you.

-Mike Maskovich, Pierre, SD

I flew to Vietnam in the spring of 1968, where I sat in the front row of the plane. After the plane landed and the doors opened, the heat, humidity, and smell nearly knocked me out of my seat. He had reached Cam Ranh Bay. Here I was able to relive the sounds and images of my first arrival.

After a few days in Cam Ranh Bay, I flew to CuChi, the headquarters of the 23rd Artillery Group. Within two weeks I was assigned to a 105mm howitzer battery, Artillery Battery 6/15 B, located on Highway #1 between CuChi and An Loc.

After a short stay, the entire gun battery was transferred to Saigon and set up at the end of the runway at Tonsonhut Air Base. It was really hard to hear anything when the planes took off.

After another short interval, the gun battery was cut in half and I went to Choulan. We took three of the weapons to a landfill. We had to remove earth to cover the garbage because the weapons buried themselves with each shot. Some of our people contracted spinal cord infections from being around garbage.

A weapon from Choulan and a weapon from the Tonsonhut airbase were sent to the Special Forces camp in the middle of the jungle, five miles from Cambodia. We arrived by C-130 plane. Everything had to be blown up. After several months of very little action, one night got too wild. The Viet Cong blew up the track and fired at us every night for weeks. Luckily they missed it. They even tried to run us over one night, so we had to line up gun barrels and use anti-personnel missiles. I stayed there until I was wounded by one of our shells, which exploded after we got out of our howitzer. I didn't want to go, but they sent me back to Choulan. I also saw one of our fighters shot down in our tree line. Special forces rescued the two pilots from the trees, both with broken legs. I served 21 years in the Special Forces camp.

Once again we were ordered to move. The six guns returned together and went to An Loc where we supported the 1st Infantry and then the 1st Calvary. There were many rubber trees around An Loc and Quan Loy. Rubber trees were planted on French plantations. After another extended stay, more orders arrived one morning after working all night. We have been working around the clock packing up everything and transporting weapons to a remote area near the city of Tay Ninh.

I took a job with the sergeant major to get away from guns. For three months I worked as a liaison between my field arms battery and the headquarters battery in the city of Ty Nihn. I would find a plane or helicopter coming my way to deliver the mail, buy money orders, or do whatever someone else needed. We would fly over the jungle canopy heavily bombed by B-52s and dismantled with Agent Orange.

I extended my service in Vietnam for two more months. It would allow me to leave the army sooner. I spent fourteen months in Vietnam where we all did a lot of work. We believed in what we do. We spent many sleepless days and nights filling sandbags, firing artillery pieces, and preparing shells for the next round. We've all had moments where we took risks; Some more than others. I am very happy to have come home with all my pieces. There was a lot of medication and I'm grateful to my education to have left him alone. Many people have come home with a habit and have ruined their lives.

By 2002, my life had changed so much that I began to wonder if I had really gone to the war in Vietnam. I found out that Hope Haven Ministries International was bringing wheelchairs to those in need in Vietnam. I was a volunteer in 2003 and 2004. What a learning experience. I returned to Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City as it is known today. Saigon is a very busy city. Everyone is trying to sell something. I also went to CuChi and nothing was like the other. When I was there during the war we heard rumors about the tunnels. They are there, many of them, big and small.

Around 200,000 people in Vietnam need wheelchairs. People are very grateful for a means of transportation that they cannot afford due to their health system. Since the United States left Vietnam in 1975, Vietnam's population has doubled to 79 million people.

-Duane Waack, Sioux Falls, SD

On February 24, 1970, I flew from Sioux Falls to Ft. Lewis, Washington to begin basic training. I stuck with the basics for two months and then had nine more weeks of advanced infantry training before being deployed to Vietnam. As I flew towards Cam Ranh Bay, I could see ten foot high concertina wire fences encircling the town. As I was walking through the airport with my suitcase, I passed a friend of mine from Sioux Falls, Doug Farendorf. He left after finishing his tour and going back home. We only had a few minutes to chat and he wished me luck. To this day he calls me his understudy in Vietnam.

I got on a truck with a few other FNGs and joined a convoy over the hills to Ahn Khe and my unit Co. The 3rd Bn of the 4th Infantry Division. We patrol an area around Ahn Khe for V.C. Vale and Ple Ku. Since we were there for three to five weeks at a time, I quickly figured out why we were called Grunts. It was a new experience applying 30-40 coats of bug spray between showers; it was great when it rained.

At the beginning of the monsoon season, we set up a special fire base on top of a hill. I was drenched from head to toe for nine days. In November 1970, the 4th Division was sent back to the United States, and everyone who had been in Vietnam for more than six months went with them. I was only four and a half months old, so I became American Division, Co. B 123rd Aviation Bn. We fly search and destroy missions out of Cheu Lai; It was an experience I will never forget. They called us warlords. From all the intense fighting we fought to getting all of our helicopters shot down, I feel like a miracle that I made it back to the US so well. I don't want anyone to go through what I went through. The experience I had in Vietnam will stay with me forever. It's hard to believe that a fourteen and a half month tour of Vietnam can occupy so much of a vet's life, even 36 years later.

The cost of freedom can be calculated in many ways, with some soldiers paying the ultimate price by losing their lives fighting for our freedom, while other soldiers returned home and lived with the memories of war.

- Mark J. O'Connor, Sioux Falls, SD

I was born and raised in Aberdeen, SD. After graduating from Central High School, I attended Northern State College (now the University) for one year (1965-66), majoring in education and football. My draft number was 4F, so I figured I wouldn't get drafted and maybe I'd just finish college. There are several things that I clearly remember. One is that many prisoners of war were arrested in Vietnam during those years and it was a very serious situation... one that most of us didn't understand.

I had never been away from home before and could not imagine what would follow in my life. Right after my 19th birthday, my rank changed. Before I knew it, on July 8, 1966, I was on a bus to Sioux Falls for a physical and then to Fort Lewis, Washington, for basic training. I was in an "experimental" group that was trained for 10 weeks. When I got home from vacation, I married my high school sweetheart, Wilma Olek.

I received my orders to go to Ft. Leonardwood, Missouri to AIT to work at the Motor Pool where I stayed for 9 months. We knew that they would probably send me to Germany or Vietnam at some point. I lost my brother in January 1967, my mother in May 1967, and went to Vietnam on July 16, 1967. What a year!

We flew into Cam Ranh Bay and my assignment was Army 4th Infantry Division, Artillery, Pleiku, Vietnam. On my first night I was assigned security guard duty. While waiting for their duty, many soldiers took it upon themselves to paint and move stones. Then as now, I found it very humiliating and unnecessary.

I was assigned to the fleet. My main responsibilities were to order and deliver spare parts. I rode or traveled in convoys, like others, to deliver ammunition and other supplies. This was a dangerous mission. We have all seen many things that I have tried to forget. We also had no hot water in the showers, we ate from trays (no plates etc) and the weather was terrible! We just imagine what it would be like to take a nice warm shower, eat at a table, sit in a nice chair or sofa and enjoy all the freedom we were used to at home. We wondered why we were there and didn't understand what our purpose was. Many soldiers grew up on farms and loved animals. My friends and I found a dog we named "Exhaust Pipe" and he quickly became our friend. It was nice to have some kind of normalcy around us.

It's hard to imagine today, but back then we could use the phone and you had to stand in line to make a call. Of course it was a very long queue and time was allocated that could be used. (I was never able to call home.) Without the many electronic options we now have, there was no communication other than mail for a year. The mail hasn't arrived for weeks, or several letters have arrived at once. It was a very difficult time for all of us there. It was just as difficult for loved ones back home. Looking back, I'm sure it helped me deal with my life at the age of 20, as it helped many others.

As my service year came to an end, I will never forget the ghost flight home. We had to stay awake to hear our number and then no such flight was available. We waited two more days for a flight to take us home. The fear I felt was immense. It was scheduled to depart Cam Ranh Bay on June 24, 1968 on flight N254A. None of these flights were listed. While I was waiting for our flight, I was assigned to be a corporal on duty the first night. When I first performed in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, I was working as a security guard in the same position. I flew back to Ft. Lewis Washington and when we got off the plane we all kissed the floor! I missed a good friend from Sioux Falls, South Dakota who came home with me...he wasn't as lucky as I was. It was good to be home. I returned home on June 26, 1968.

I will also never forget the flight from Seattle Washington to Minneapolis, MN. A very kind gentleman asked me to take his seat in first class. (The soldiers were flying reserve 4th class). He thanked me several times for my participation in Vietnam and insisted that I take his seat. What a great feeling! I was lucky enough to be able to return to my wife and family who were waiting for me at Aberdeen airport to welcome me home!

I resumed my college goals with the GI account. I graduated from Northern State College with a bachelor's degree in education and later earned my master's degree in school administration. I retired after teaching and coaching and served as a high school principal and principal for a total of 30 years.

In the years that I finished school, raised our family, and the years after, I never spoke about what I saw or what I went through. I always thought it would be better not to say those things and stay with the past as I feel today. God put me there for a reason and allowed me to come home safely to my family for a reason.

I was Sergeant E5, 4th Infantry Division, Artillery, Pleiku Vietnam.

- Robert (Bob) J. Luce, Aberdeen, SD

My father, Sergeant Bernard (Bud) Kopp, enlisted on January 30, 1963 when he enlisted in the United States Army. He went to basic training at Ft. Leonardwood, Missouri, then to Ft. Sil, Okla. He was stationed in Hawaii with the 25th Infantry Division before embarking on the first of his two trips to Vietnam. During his first trip to Vietnam, he served as a helicopter door gunner, working in DaNang and Hue.

After making his first trip, he returned to Hawaii and later his company was activated to return to Vietnam. During his second deployment, he was assigned to the 23rd Infantry Division as a reconnaissance sergeant. His base of operations was CuChi, and he worked primarily in and around the HoBo Forest and Iron Triangle area.

Like many Vietnam vets, my father rarely talks about his experiences. However, he told me some stories that he would like to share with all of you. There was a time when Bob Hope showed up at Christmas '66 and did a USO show for the troops, but the story I'll never forget was when his company was on patrol one night and they had just sat down, for the "rats." of the. ". Marines" when they were ambushed by the enemy. They needed artillery help, but the problem was that they were between the VC and the guns. My father ordered seven guns to be effective. He said that the shells were on his company and fell directly on the enemy. He remembers hearing the sound of the projectiles when they landed between his company and the VC, luck was with them that day when they managed to stop the attack.

I can only imagine the friendships formed between the soldiers and hearing about my father's friendship with one of his former army comrades. He kept in touch with Dave Barber, whom he met while working in Hawaii. Dad often talks about him and he told me that he believes that a person can form a bond with another person, that there is some kind of special connection. He told me that Dave was released before Christmas '66 and that he would talk to my father when he got back to the States. My father told me that he had just returned to Sturgis and that he had not been at my grandmother's house for a few minutes when the phone rang. When my grandmother answered the phone, she said, "Yes, he will be here." When I answered the phone it was Dave and he said to my dad "I felt like you were back".

As I said before, my father doesn't talk much about the things that military personnel experience in the country on a daily basis, and he recently started talking about some of his own experiences during his two-year trip to Vietnam. and the friendship he has had with Dave for the past 40 years. Listening to my father helps me understand what he and many others experienced during this time and the friendships that were formed. My father doesn't like to talk about the awards and mentions he received during his time in Vietnam, and he always says: "I didn't do anything that others didn't do." My family is proud to say that my father is a "Vietnam Veteran" and we raise our heads with pride every time we see the flag fly.

- Bernard (Bud) Kopp, Sturgis, SD

I arrived in Thailand after a brief stopover in Saigon, where I saw 20-25 Brothers in Arms leave on their mission "in the field." I wondered then, as I wonder now, what happened to these brave souls. Stepping off the plane, the Southeast Asian heat hits him like an explosion. I swear to this day you would sweat in the shower... I was assigned to USAF Hospital 11, part of Combat Support Group 635, at a base called U-Tapao, HQ B-52, KC-135, SR71, U-2, F4, HH-43 and P-3. Five days after my arrival, the most intense bombardment in and around Vietnam began, "Operation Linebacker II."

- Terry L. Erickson, Pierre, Dakota del Sur

"The Water Is Still Deep"

You ran away to Canada, you hid in the college dorms
You hid behind procrastination while you waited out the storm.
I still remember their faces; Not a long time ago,
Now it won't be long, old friend, before your children pay the toll!

- Michael C. Grams, Faulkton, South Dakota

In August 1999, the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall stood in Sioux Falls. My husband, Robin Haase, a Vietnam veteran, and I went to see the wall. It was a very moving and moving experience. The wall is an incredible tribute to those who died, but I was struck by the fact that there was no recognition for those who served and went home. I wrote the following poem and left it on the wall.

for petirrojo

You won't find my husband's name.
written on this "wall".
Rather he is by my side now,
stand tall and tall.
We look at the many names
who fought and died.
I held your trembling hand in mine
As we both stand here and cry.

I didn't even know him then
when they called him to leave.
That distant land, Vietnam,
It was a place I didn't know.
I knew there was war there
and our men were sent to fight.
But at the time I wasn't sure
whether the war was right or wrong.

I was so young then
that I really didn't care.
Only after I met him.
that i realized
Of the many sacrifices that have been made
for those who fought for me
And the terrible price they would pay
so that others can be free.

He says he did what he had to do
like other men.
I wouldn't change the experience though.
I would never do that again.
don't talk about the war
And I try not to ask.
I just know it's part of it.
And pray that your pain goes away

I thank the good Lord every day
for sparing Robin's life
To be able to fall in love with him.
and proud to be your wife.
To the families of all these men
who perished in this hell
Please meet my husband and others like him.
They were with them when they fell.

Robin came back from Vietnam,
but he saw these men die.
So I held your trembling hand in mine
and we both stood here and wept.

- By Deb Haase, August 4, 1999
Sioux Falls, Dakota del Sur
The proud wife of Robin Haase
1. Battalion 22. Infantry
now lives in Concord, North Carolina

On May 5, 1970, my Guardian Angel was working overtime. I was a Marine in Co. B, 1st/50th Mechanized Infantry with the 1st Field Force in Binh Thuan Province near work at LZ Betty in Phan Thiet, RVN. As we prepared to set up night ambushes, a small voice whispered in my ear to stop driving our armored personnel carrier and patrol on foot. When the APC attempted to cross a stream, it detonated a large mine and completely destroyed the track, killing the driver, Spec. 4 Charles Aaron and Gunner .50 Caliber, Spec. 4 Ramon Grayson. A second whisper in my ear followed shortly after the explosion, telling me to stay over the rice dam I was standing on. There was a second explosion at the foot of the dam and I thought they were shooting at us. I waited for the explosion to hit me, but the dam saved me. Turns out it was one of our clay mines that blew up when the runway blew up. Since May 5, 1970 I thank my Guardian Angel for the "divine intervention" that allowed me to spend 14 months in RVN unharmed. Every day is a gift that I never take for granted.

- Patrick M. Murphy, Sioux Falls, SD

I joined the Navy in 1967. My first assignment in Vietnam was on a destroyer, the USS Larson (DD-830). We provided artillery support along the Nam coast, spending most of our time near DaNang and heading north towards Hue. We also provide aircraft patrol services for our aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Our worst tragedy occurred during a SEATO naval exercise when our destroyer squadron participated with other warships from different countries in the South China Sea. The second night we formed an umbrella around the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne. The destroyer USS Evans moved from her starboard station to her port station, crossed the carrier and a collision ensued, cutting Evans in half, with the forward half immediately sinking and the aft half remaining afloat and more than that lost half its crew.

After we returned to the US, they posted a volunteer list for anyone who wanted to return (in the country) to Vietnam. A good friend of mine, David Kintner, and I applied. After a bit of training and rest, we flew back in February. We were assigned to IUWG Unit One, based south of Saigon in Cat Lo. There our boats protected ships sailing upriver to Saigon and patrolled the other rivers in the region. I was proud to serve my country. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who served, were injured, or gave their lives in Vietnam.

-David Dowd, Wakonda, Dakota del Sur

I've written on this forum before, but after reading all the Vietnam vets' stories, I decided to mention something I think I missed.

I served in Vietnam in 1967 and part of 1968. Then I came home and twelve years later I was serving in the National Guard. I spent most of my time in the National Guard in South Dakota. It occurs to me that the most experienced and responsible soldiers were from the Nam era. The names I think should be remembered are: Robert Aiken, Dennis Foell, Bob Ryland and Steve Noble. I know there is more. In any case, based on their "experiences" in Vietnam, these people served with me. Two committed suicide, and I think they did so partly because they were serving in Vietnam. To Steve and Bob, we will all remember you. Especially during the celebration and greeting from Pierre.

-Mike Elsberry, Herreid, Dakota del Sur

I, a seventeen year old, joined the Navy. I have been with the 36th Attack Squadron on 3 DIFFERENT aircraft carriers including the USS Saratoga, USS America and USS Enterprise. The first time I was on the flight deck I was thrown overboard and caught, but then I became the squadron's troubleshooter, checking and assembling the planes while sitting on the launch catapults and working from accommodation to accommodation. . I was then assigned to the Army and CH 47 Chinook, 610th Transport at Qui Nhon in the Central Highlands and later at Red Beach ten miles north of DaNang. Of the 4 years, 6 months, and 4 days that I served, I spent 4 years and 4 days abroad, including 2 years in Vietnam.

When I got home, I dropped everything and went on with my life... most people in my community didn't even know that I had served my country. Then one day in 2002, my son Michael died after a courageous battle with soft tissue sarcoma. With the support of my family, I went to the VA for medical answers, but instead was treated rudely and rudely, to say the least. I gave up but my daughter didn't. She persisted until the VA people agreed to run the tests for Agent Orange. I eventually received the tests, but was later informed that they would not give me the results as they SERVED NO PURPOSE anyway.

They told me to start seeing my local doctor as it would cost me more calls to the VA. I have served my country with PRIDE, in fact I have done things I wouldn't even consider today if I asked them to. At the same time, I was receiving dangerous duties and combat wages at pennies an hour for what I was doing for my country in Vietnam.

Now they say, because I am back in society and working for a living, THEY WILL NOT HELP ME. All I ask is that you support Agent Orange research and provide those affected by Agent Orange with the necessary medical information. The truth is, there should be another 100,000 names on the wall... of those who came home and died, and the children of veterans who continue to die from chemicals. South Dakota has risen VERY HIGH for Vietnam Veterans not once, but twice.

When in the name of GOD will the VA and our government step up and do the right thing to help the left on Agent Orange? WHEN WILL YOU SERVE veterans as honorably as veterans did?

I don't think anyone in their right mind believes that we have adequately addressed the Agent Orange problem. We all know that there is a serious problem to be solved, not only for veterans but also for their children.

Jerome Fischer, Vietnam veteran

US Navy Attack Squadron 36 1965-1966

Attached to 1969 US Army CH 47 610th Chinook helicopter

- Hieronymus Fischer, Wagner, SD

During the Vietnam era, 1970-1973, I spent three years on active duty in the United States Marine Corps. I'm proud to call myself a South Dakotan and I'm glad South Dakota was there when I was released. I spent six years in the Army National Guard with the 147th Field Artillery in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and was discharged from the military over 11 years ago. I still go back to South Dakota from time to time, but not enough.

Semper Fi to all my fellow Marines.

- Cary J. Gill, Lusk, Wyoming


Our bodies lie far from home
Unfortunately hidden from prying eyes.

We did our best, we fought for you
We would repeat if you asked us.

Will someone come to collect our bones?
You're alone here, so far from home

Look for us on steep peaks
Perhaps you will discover there that we are sleeping.

We meet where rice grows today
Will someone find us? Heaven only knows.

When the dark waters hide us well,
We will sleep where we fell forever.

We could be found in pieces
Search carefully now, please don't leave us.

We trust you who fear our fate,
Our minds wander, watching and waiting.


One by one answer the call,
Everyone must touch this black stone wall.

Fingers touching brother's name
Fathers, daughters, mothers cry.

Some come alone, are silent,
Since they no longer want anything, they are by our side.

Some talk to us and know we're listening
I wonder who is here, who is missing.

Some look and see reflections,
Some go ahead without proper inspections.

Some worry because they have saved their lives,
Don't worry my brothers, remember the good times together.

Come put your hand on our names
Let's play, be glad you came.

- Groua RI, Spearfish, SD

It's 1:30 am and our plane's lights are off to help hide a lot of upset (from kids). On our final approach, we see lots of city lights below Saigon International with a number of flares thrown into the mix. We disembarked around 2:30am with 90 degree temperatures and 90+ humidity. And what was that smell? Good morning Vietnam! I have never forgotten that smell. Is our right hand protection broken? When was our last shower?

We were the fifth bus leaving after the curfew around 5am. The temperature was still 90 degrees. Thirty minutes later, the first two buses are shot at with small arms. We hit the ground and our driver had the only gun. We finally reached LBJ and waited three days for transportation to Qui Nhon. On the way we stopped in Nha Trang, 30 minutes after a rocket attack. I never thought a C-130 could end up on a postage stamp. And guess what? When we got there, there was the same smell. We unloaded about 30 people, four of us, my unit which traveled another 20 miles in a 3/4 ton truck on a very dusty, dirty, rutted road. I finally made it to my new "home" for the next 11 months.

My unit had been there for three months, so the tents, trenches, watchtowers, and makeshift fences were all in place. The only construction on our lot was a new cafeteria, but it looked like a corn cot with four-foot-tall sandbags all around it. They gave us a tent, arms drawn, and three of us were assigned to watch the first night. The next day, I found out that my autonomous truck and crew (Round Corps) had been lost with two other units en route to Qui Nhon Port, leaving me out of a job. Sounds great right? But not. Instead, he was on call most nights, working 10-hour shifts. I slept until 11 a.m., then I closed the latrine and burned the S.H. This usually happened at 2:00 p.m. I had the rest of the day off except when we were on alert, which was about half the time. Three months later I still didn't have the team, so I asked for a transfer. They denied me the transfer, but they promoted me to E.N.C.O. instead of. I should have asked earlier. Three months later, I was promoted early to E-5 so that I could become the manager of the club. I no longer had to live in a tent; It had a club room that was 4ft x 8ft. Someone had to do this. The last three months of my tour have been pretty easy. The Koreans were fine. They (the Republic of Korea) invaded our territory and secured it in 60 days.

After 351 days we are sitting in our seat to go home and I look around a plane full of very tired men. There were no children on this flight.

Here it is for the boys from September 1966 to September 1967. God bless America and all my comrades.

-Norman Ohden, Boerne, Texas

After Howard High School, I attended business school in Huron for six months. Then I got my draft notice so I ran and joined the Navy, then it was boot camp and A school in San Diego. I then took a tour of the Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach, VA. There, the battleship USS New Jersey stopped in Norfolk on its way to Vietnam, walked on her deck and saw the 16-inch guns. A person feels very proud to be an American when they see a ship like theirs.

My first ship was the USS Washburn AKA, a former WWII troop transport, problem was, it was in Vietnam. So I went to Saigon. The detention center for Navy personnel was called Little Annapolis. After finding a bunk and a cupboard, I found out that the barracks had been bombed two weeks before; makes a guy sleep well.

After a few weeks in Saigon, I found out that the Washburn was heading back to San Diego to be dismantled. I was hired to work in Little Annapolis, but I turned down the offer. After a few more weeks, I was ordered to return to the United States.

The next ship was the USS Eldorado LCC-11, command ship of the Admiral of the Amphibious Fleet. I picked her up in the Philippines and returned her to Vietnam and the Gulf of Tonkin. I didn't see the USS New Jersey again, but I could hear the 16-inch guns at night.

- Gary Loers, LeMars, IA

If the earth takes my body, let the eagle take my soul,
Let him out of my empty shell if he can be so bold.

Let her fly to lofty heights, so for a moment my soul
I can see the world below. I missed the peace and serenity.

Let him take me through the battlefields so that I can be with the spirits of my friends again.
And I apologize to the spirits of my enemies.

May the noble animal have mercy on me and bring me back home.
To the place of my birth, my childhood and youth until the moment is over.

The eagle has my destiny and this secret will not betray it
Then he will carry me to heaven on whispering wings or cast my soul to hell.

Written 7/28/99 by Larry H. Crosby (1950-2005), Colton, SD.

- Presented by his daughter Christa Crosby

I graduated from O'Gorman High School in 1965 and attended Northern College, Aberdeen for several years. I returned to Sioux Falls, married Patty Gage, and waited for the draft to call me. Along with 25 other boys from South Dakota, I received the wonderful preliminary notice on November 1, 1967, directing us to report by mail. The next day I was on a plane to Fort Lewis, Washington with my good friend from high school Bob Thoen. Bob and I did basic training together, then went to Ft. Lewis while Bob headed to Ft. Polk. After completing AIT, I was posted to Vietnam from April 1968 to April 1969. Once in the country I was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division of the Co F 50th Infantry (LRRP). LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) turned out to be a good deal. I received three weeks of training from the Special Forces Group on how to live in the desert with little to no food or medicine. Our patrol consisted of 5-6 people who were dumped in the middle of lanes of VC activity. Our job was to monitor and identify weapons and uniforms and count the enemy. After four to six days they brought us back to Cu Chi.

The best part of Vietnam:

Christmas 1968 when I tracked down my friend Bob Thoen just 15 miles from Cu Chi. I stole the company jeep, drove it to his base camp, and waited for him when he returned from lunch. We spent the day talking about how our lives have changed since Ft. Luis. On my way back to Cu Chi, my first sergeant was a little upset that his jeep was stolen. It's worth seeing every fortnight in the latrine, Bob. A month later, Bob was able to attend the Bob Hope and Ann Margret USO concert.

The worst of Vietnam:

When I found out that my good friend from AIT, Samuel T. Hill, had been killed in the field the day before, we had known each other since he arrived in the country six months earlier. Like everyone else, Sam and I had all kinds of big plans for our return to the United States.

I managed to put in my 11 months, 27 days, and 12 hours before they sent me home. I was awarded the Bronze Star for roles during the 1968 TET offensive when Cu Chi was overrun by the VC. Although my time in Vietnam was not the best, I tried to make the most of it...

I was assigned to the Rangers at Assigned Ft. Benning, GA until his release on October 31, 1969.

I retired and moved to Daytona Beach, Florida.

-Lawrence Clip, Daytona Beach, Florida

I grew up in Yankton, South Dakota and enlisted in the Marine Corps for two years in late 1968 after spending three semesters at the School of Mines in Rapid City. I had a student pardon and my grades at the Escola de Minas were good, but there was so much controversy and debate about Vietnam that I decided to join the army and then finish college.

I went to boot camp in San Diego and infantry training at Camp Pendleton, California, where I trained as Marine 0311. After a twenty-day vacation in Yankton, I was sent to Vietnam with Fox Company, 2nd Bn., in July. of 1969. 3. Marine Infantry Regiment, 3. Marine Infantry Division. We operate along the DMZ in the mountains through Mutters Ridge and then into areas along the Cam Lo River and through Cua Viet on the coast. At the end of September 1969, the 3rd Marine Division withdrew from Vietnam, and large numbers of our own were transferred to replace the 1st Marine Division. I was assigned to Echo Company, 2nd Bn, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. We operate in the Que Son Valley and the Que Son Mountains, 25 to 35 miles southwest of DaNang. The rear of the battalion was at LZ Ross and LZ Baldy.

We are in the bush for long periods, usually 80-100 days at a time, then we return to a base camp to rest for a few days, and then return for another long distance. Living conditions were simple: sleeping on the ground and in the rain for months (no tents, just covering your face with a towel to keep out the rain or wrapping yourself in a poncho lining); I rationed and often starved when the supply choppers couldn't fly (I once went days without food); we carry 75 pound packages; no vehicles, moved daily on foot, occasionally moved by helicopter; he dug a new trench almost every day; not changing clothes: wearing the same clothes for months; no bathing except in a town stream or fountain. There were flies, midges, jungle blight, and wet feet; I had malaria twice. I think most people do not understand what the living conditions of the infantry are. We conduct troop-sized day patrols, company and platoon movements and patrols, night ambushes, listening posts, observation posts, and platoon and company night surveillance. Contacts with the enemy were quite frequent, but less frequent and on a smaller scale than in 1967-68. We found many traps (homemade mines with hand grenades or artillery shells) and snipers. They all counted the days and knew exactly how many days they had left before leaving Vietnam.

He left the bush on July 11, 1970. (Navy term changed from 13 months to 12 months at the end of 1969.) He spent a few days at LZ Baldy and DaNang and then flew to California and Camp Pendleton on July 20... They had nothing to do for us by the time all the 2 and 3 year squads were released from active duty at their return from vietnam I was a civilian in Yankton on July 24 and went to USD in the fall. I finished college, taught in Iowa for a few years, returned to USD to get my Master's, served in the Peace Corps in the Philippines for three years, and served in the Pierre State government for 24 years. My wife is from the Philippines and we have two children.

I am proud of my service in Vietnam and have always felt that the Marines I met in Vietnam are the best people I have ever dealt with. I will always remember Jack Zoodsma, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, who was killed in a shootout in the Que Son Mountains on February 17, 1970; Frank Blas, Charleston, South Carolina, killed by hanging from a Claymore trap on January 18, 1970; Lieutenant Jim McClurg, New York City, killed in shootout in Que Son Valley, March 8, 1970; and Jim Carlin, Binghamton, New York, killed by sniper in Que Son Valley, April 1, 1970.

- Tom Magedanz, Pierre, SD

I served in the 1st Infantry Division from January 1969 to January 1970 in Bravo Company, 1/18. We were known as the "Swamp Rats" which gives you an idea of ​​the terrain in which we operate. I have some special memories from my year in Vietnam and will share some of the word images that come to mind that other grunts may remember as well.

- Heat and sweat
-the smell
-the endless mud and water
- Jungle Scourge
- Nocturnal noises
- Call by mail
-a call to "sillar"
- scary experiences
- bursts of smoke
-Heat rations with C-4
-Feeling of explosive concussions
-Night lighting
- Helicopter flights into the unknown
- Fill sandbags and ammo boxes.
- Shit burning detail
- sleepless nights of ambush
- Huge blood-sucking leeches
-Package containing food, water and ammunition
- Walk through rice fields
-Construction of Claymores
- Waiting to dust off
-become a "small" target
-always brief paranoia

- Gary Trusty, Rapid City, Dakota del Sur

I served on the destroyer USS Hull DD 945. I was proud to be a part of the Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club and Dick Nixon's naval blockade of North Vietnam. I remember shooting bales of rice out of the water with 50 caliber pistols and also shooting 54 5-inchers at night. Chasing aircraft carriers at 30 knots in a destroyer's engine room after World War II was hotter and more humid than Vietnam itself.

- Kim R. Smith, Rapid City, South Dakota

I don't remember the exact date; At Bridge Ramp, a staging point, there was a submarine loaded with various explosives. A zapper swam up behind the boat with an explosive charge. He fired the charge, which blew up the boat and staging area. It took three days to blow up the staging area and two weeks to clean up the mess. The ship separated from its berth. I can still see the reflection of the burning ship in the water of DaNang harbor that night.

People often asked for more gloves and body bags. I won't even try to describe the sight or the smell.

-David Thompson

I left Vietnam in early December 1970 after serving in the Army for a year. I was a medic in the 35th Combat Engineering Battalion (20th Brigade) in the Mekong Delta. I spent my time in different parts of the region, from Can Tho to Long Xuyen to Chau Phu.

What a contrast between the veterans returning from Iraq today and our return from Vietnam.

We arrived in Seattle on Saturday afternoon. They quickly got us out of Fort Lewis in a matter of hours. They said we were being processed faster than usual as it was Saturday night. We did not have the usual steak dinner for returning veterans. They gave us a packed lunch. Then we were taken to the airport by bus in our new Class A uniforms.

Before boarding the buses, we were given a clue that was a telltale sign of the times. It was strongly recommended that we use the "buddy system" at the airport. That being said, stay in a group for safety reasons due to anti-war protesters. They also recommended that we seek refuge in one of the USO centers scattered throughout the airport.

They bothered us at the airport. Being back on American soil for a few hours was a shock to me. I had mixed feelings about how valuable it was to have served my country.

Since we could get our plane tickets cheaper if we flew in uniform, I felt compelled to stay in uniform for the return trip to Redfield, SD. I didn't have civilian clothes with me anyway. On one hand I was proud to have served, but at the same time I was a little embarrassed to be seen in uniform. I was waiting to get home to take it off.

After I returned to SD, I found the general public (but not everyone) to be more receptive to returning veterans. There was a difference between Central America and the West Coast. It is still so today.

Veterans coming home today probably have no idea how bad it was back then. They are lucky to be treated with the respect they deserve.

Looking back after all these years, I don't envy those who protested the Vietnam War. In hindsight, it turns out that the war was wrong (in my opinion) and should not have happened. The protest was good. But directly disturbing those who were serving was wrong.

-Richard Benting, Redfield, Dakota del Sur

Three children, all descendants of Pierre and first cousins, grew up in Pierre and were separated by life's events and reunited on the battlefields. They were Jim "JW" Hansen, Gary Hansen, and Robert "Bob" Jensen.

During the Vietnam conflict, everyone answered their call to serve our great country in the armed forces, just as our fathers did in the European theater of war during World War II. As fate would have it, "JW" volunteered for service in Vietnam in early 1969. Shortly after arriving in Vietnam in 1969, he was shocked to learn that his only brother Gary and cousin Robert "Bob" had left. attached to him. Jensen

Although "JW" in the Central Highlands of Vietnam with the US Army and Gary and Bob in North Vietnam near the DMZ area with the US Marines were not stationed anywhere near one of the another, "JW" managed to hold a mini-meeting in Danang. . They only had a few hours together, but for the parents in SD (the late Walt and Erna Hansen) and now living in California (the late Carl and Helen Jensen), the photos they were sent were invaluable.

They all returned after their experiences in the country and did their best to continue their lives where they left off. We have since lost Gary, but "JW" and Bob are still alive, "JW" in Arizona and Bob in California. Included in this story is a copy of one of the photos of the meeting, taken in Vietnam.

"JW" Hansen

(Video) U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs discusses possible VA facility closures


Do disabled veterans pay property tax in South Dakota? ›

Who is eligible for South Dakota Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans? The property must be owned and occupied by a disabled Veteran who has a service-connected permanent and total disability rating from the VA or their unremarried Surviving Spouse to be eligible.

How do I find the VSO in my area? ›

Go to eBenefits to find a local representative (including a recognized VSO, an attorney, or a claims agent) by state/territory, zip code, or the organization's name. Or search the VA Office of the General Counsel's list to find VA-recognized organizations and VA-accredited individuals by name, city, state, or zip code.

How do I talk to a person at the VA? ›

  1. Resources and support.
  2. Call us. 800-698-2411.
  3. Visit a medical center or regional office. Find a VA location.
Oct 13, 2022

How do I talk to someone about VA benefits? ›

1-800-MyVA411 (1-800-698-2411) is VA's “front door,” the one number all Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors may use to access VA resources.

What state has the best veteran benefits? ›

#1 Overall Best State for Veterans: Texas

No surprise here: Texas is the #1 overall best state for veteran benefits. The benefits offered to veterans in Texas are simply unmatched by any other state.

Do disabled veterans get federal tax breaks? ›

Disabled veterans may be eligible to claim a federal tax refund based on: an increase in the veteran's percentage of disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs (which may include a retroactive determination) or.

How many years do you have to serve to be a veteran? ›

A minimum service requirement exists. Service members must have served a minimum of 24 months of active duty to be considered a veteran. If the service member becomes disabled because of their time in the service, there is no minimum length of service to qualify for VA benefits.

What are the 4 types of veterans? ›

Under VEVRAA, a veteran may be classified as a ''disabled veteran,'' ''recently separated veteran,'' ''active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran,'' or ''Armed Forces service medal veteran. ''

What is the difference between Veterans Affairs and Veterans Administration? ›

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan elevated the Veterans Administration to a U.S. Cabinet-level department. The change took effect in 1989, and the VA was renamed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 1 As such, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs performs all of these functions.

How can I get VA benefits fast? ›

The Decision Ready Claim (DRC) Program is the fastest way to get your VA claim processed. When you work with an accredited Veterans Service Organization (VSO) and follow these four simple steps, you can receive a claim decision from VA in 30 days or less.

What veterans are entitled to VA benefits? ›

A person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable may qualify for VA health care benefits including qualifying Reserve and National Guard members.

Can you be denied VA benefits? ›

Some of the reasons why the VA may reject a claim for benefits include: Failure to prove that the disabling condition resulted from an injury during active duty. Failure to prove that the disabling condition began during active duty. Failure to prove that the disabling condition is related to military service.

Can I file a VA claim after 5 years? ›

There's no time limit on filing a postservice claim. But you should know that the process may become more complex the longer you wait.

What is the difference between a VSO and a claims agent? ›

There are significant differences between these two types of representatives but it generally boils down to the fact that a VA claims agent can charge a fee and a VSO can't charge a fee for representation on a VA disability claim. VSOs are often undertrained and overloaded with veterans cases as volunteers.

What are five benefits of being in a VSO? ›

A VSO, along with state, county, and other local Veteran service representatives are trained to help you understand and apply for any VA benefits you may be entitled to including: compensation, education, vocational rehabilitation and employment, home loans, life insurance, pension, health care, and burial benefits.

Do veterans get extra Social Security? ›

Since 1957, if you had military service earnings for active duty (including active duty for training), you may have extra Social Security wage credits added to your earnings record.

Can a veteran receive both VA and Social Security benefits? ›

SSDI and VA disability compensations are not affected by each other, so you may be eligible to receive both. However, you must apply for them separately. It may be possible to also qualify for SSI, depending on income and resources.

Why do some veterans not get benefits? ›

A misunderstanding or frustration with the application process causes many veterans to simply forgo VA Disability benefits. Oftentimes, confusion about qualification requirements keeps veterans from receiving their disability benefits.

How much does the widow of a 100 disabled veteran receive? ›

If your partner dies with a 100% disability, you may qualify for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). This refers to tax-free monthly benefits sent to the surviving spouses of disabled veterans. Per VA, the base compensation you can receive in 2022 is $1,437.66 per month.

Do I have to disclose my VA disability? ›

Do I have to disclose an injury or illness that is not obvious during an interview or indicate on a job application that I have a disability? No. The ADA does not require you to disclose that you have any medical condition on a job application or during an interview.

What states have no income tax for veterans? ›

Finally, some states don't tax any income, including military benefits: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

Does a dd214 make you a veteran? ›

Since the DD Form 214 is issued to those leaving the active military as well as to members of the National Guard and Reserves completing their initial active duty for training, possession of this document does not necessarily mean the student is a veteran.

Are you a veteran if you didn't go to war? ›

The term "veteran" means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable. (E) authorized travel to or from such duty or service. 38 U.S.C.

What benefits do veterans get after 4 years of service? ›

Other VA benefits to consider as a Veteran
  • Disability compensation. ...
  • Support for Veteran-owned small businesses. ...
  • Veterans Pension program. ...
  • Aid and attendance or housebound allowance. ...
  • Disability housing grants. ...
  • More life insurance options. ...
  • Pre-need eligibility determination for burial in a VA national cemetery.
Oct 4, 2022

What does the N in veteran mean? ›

N -- Never. I say never because we should never forget our veterans who have served and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

What do veterans suffer from the most? ›

The three most common mental health concerns for veterans are Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Learn more about these mental health concerns below. What is PTSD? Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a common mental health disorder among veterans.

What is a 5 or 10 point veteran? ›

There are basically three types of preference eligibility, sole survivorship (0 point preference eligible), non-disabled (5 point preference eligible) and disabled (10 point preference eligible).

What are the three branches of Veterans Affairs? ›

  • Veterans Health Administration.
  • Veterans Benefits Administration.
  • National Cemetery Administration.
Jan 4, 2023

Are VA benefits better than Medicare? ›

Short answer: nearly everything. They're two different systems entirely. Your veterans' coverage will only cover you when you go to doctors, facilities, and pharmacies included in the VA system. Medicare will only cover you when you go to doctors, facilities, and pharmacies that are covered under Medicare.

What are the easiest VA claims to get approved? ›

The Top 5 Easiest Things to Claim for VA Disability
  • Mental Health Conditions. Mental health conditions like PTSD, anxiety, depression, and somatic disorder are considered high-value claims. ...
  • Scars. ...
  • Musculoskeletal Conditions. ...
  • Presumptive Disorders. ...
  • Tinnitus.

Can you go from 90% to 100 VA disability? ›

Veterans with a 90% rating who believe they qualify for the benefits of a 100% rating can add additional service-connected conditions, appeal the rating of a condition, or seek individual unemployability benefits.

What VA disability is easy to get? ›

The #1 Easiest VA Disability to Claim: Tinnitus

93.6% of Veterans were rated at 10%. Tinnitus can only have one VA rating. It is either 10% or nothing. There is no lower VA rating and there is no higher VA rating.

Can Veterans fly for free? ›

Flights are typically free of charge, but you should contact your closest Air Mobility Command passenger terminal or the terminal at the location you intend to depart from for specific information.

Do I get my husband's VA benefits if he dies? ›

A VA Survivors Pension offers monthly payments to qualified surviving spouses and unmarried dependent children of wartime Veterans who meet certain income and net worth limits set by Congress. Find out if you qualify and how to apply.

What benefits does a wife of a veteran receive? ›

As the spouse or dependent child of a Veteran or service member, you may qualify for certain benefits, like health care, life insurance, or money to help pay for school or training.

Why are so many VA claims denied? ›

The Veteran Affairs website reports that 75 percent of all initial applications for VA benefits are denied. These applications are often denied because they have incomplete information or lack necessary documentation. Other reasons for denial include: Not enough evidence to support your disability.

What claims can the VA not prove? ›

No, there aren't any VA disability claims that cannot be proven. In fact, all VA claims must be proven on an “at least as likely as not” basis. If you have no evidence (no proof), your VA claim will get denied. Also, you must first ensure you're even eligible for VA disability benefits under the law.

What are the odds of VA disability approval? ›

Historically, the VA disability appeal success rate for veterans has been considered relatively low. According to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2021 recorded a 32% acceptance rate for legacy decisions and 38.1% for AMA decisions.

What states have the best property tax for disabled veterans? ›

Resident disabled veterans are exempt from property taxes in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

What benefits do 100 disabled veterans get? ›

Veterans with a 100 percent disability rating receive the maximum monthly, tax-free compensation available. Depending on the circumstances, a Veteran with a 100 percent disability rating receives monthly compensation of $3,106.04.

Does South Dakota tax military retirement? ›

Finally, some states don't tax any income, including military benefits: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

What will 2023 VA disability rates be? ›

VA disability pay for 2023 increased by 8.7%. The new disability compensation rates took effect on December 1, 2022. See the current VA disability pay chart, and calculate your monthly compensation.
2023 Pay Rates for 10% – 20% Disability Rating.
Disability RatingMonthly Pay
1 more row

What is the VA increase for 2023? ›

2023 VA disability pay rates, which are effective December 1, 2022, have a year over year increase of 8.7% based on the latest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

Which state is home to the most veterans? ›

In 2021, about 1.4 million veterans were living in Texas - the most out of any state. Florida, California, Pennsylvania, and Virginia rounded out the top five states with the highest veteran population in that year.

Can a 100 disabled veteran draw Social Security? ›

A Veterans Affairs compensation rating of 100% P&T doesn't guarantee that you'll receive Social Security disability benefits. To receive disability benefits from Social Security, a person must have a severe impairment expected to last at least one year or to result in death.

At what age does VA disability become permanent? ›

20 Years: Continuous Rating

If, after twenty years, a service-connected disability is rated at or above the originally assigned rating level, it may not be lowered below the original level.

Do 100% disabled veterans have to pay Medicare premiums? ›

However, like other beneficiaries, veterans with VA benefits will need to pay a standard Medicare Part B premium for Medicare's outpatient coverage. You will want to enroll in Medicare Part B as soon as you are eligible. Delaying Medicare Part B coverage can result in a lifelong late penalty.

What city has the most homeless veterans? ›

HUD says homeless veterans in California represent 31% of the national homeless veteran population. RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. — California has the largest number of homeless veterans in the country with more than 11,000 people, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Where do most disabled veterans live? ›

Best Cities for People With Disabilities
Overall RankCityTotal WalletHub Score
1Orlando, Florida70.35
2Irvine, California70.12
3Tampa, Florida68.93
4Raleigh, North Carolina68.05
6 more rows
Nov 11, 2020

What city do most veterans live in? ›

Colorado Springs, Colo.

What state is best for military retirement? ›

Florida. Sunny Florida takes the top spot on our list, thanks in part to a lack of taxes, easy access to a variety of VA services and improving home values. As one of nine states with no income tax, military retirement income is also not subject to any taxation.

What are the benefits of retiring in South Dakota? ›

Social Security, public or private pensions and any retirement accounts, like your 401(k), will be exempt from being taxed at the state level. In addition to this, South Dakota has a low cost of living and is an affordable place to settle compared to many other states.

Does military retirement affect Social Security? ›

Your military pension does not affect your Social Security benefits. You'll get your full Social Security benefit based on your earnings. Survivors benefits may affect benefits payable under the optional Department of Defense Survivors Benefit Plan.


1. Must You Sign-Up for MEDICARE Part D? | VA Health Care | TRICARE | Health Insurance | theSITREP
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6. U.S. VA Secretary reaches out to South Dakota Veterans regarding COVID-19
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