Ok, I’m ready to talk about what I did in Vietnam, son. Let’s go downstairs, do you have a pencil and paper? The son replies, yes. Dad, ok first, I was drafted into the Army in about 1973. I went to tank mechanic school and graduated at the top of my class. My schooling was at Fort Leavenworth. When school was done I was assigned my first base in Georgia. From there they prepared me to enter into Vietnam. I was sent to Vietnam in the Spring assigned to a well-drilling unit. We searched for well-digging sites and began work for building them. Some areas were more dangerous than others.
I slept in a very racially diverse bunker with blacks, Indians, Jew and such. We all shared the common problems of the War. Some people dealt with the conditions of combat better than others. For some people, drugs was a big problem. For example, one guy got addicted to heroin while in the field and ran out of his supply. So, he did the next logical thing which was to shoot up with battery acid. That turned out not to be a good idea and he fried his insides. He was sent home. I’m not sure what happened with him exactly.
After a few months, I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen since mechanic school. He was driving a dusenhalf and invited me to ride along. He chose to take a route through the city, which was very dangerous. The people were out on the streets minding their own business for the most part and he refused to stop for any of the ones who wouldn’t move out of the way fast enough. He ended up running over a few people in the process of going through the city. The people felt like small speed bumps for the large trucks.
I drove the dusenhalf a few times. One time, our convoy was ambushed. A large explosion occurred in front of me. One of the soldiers flew on top of the hood. All I could do was try to keep driving out of there as fast as I could. It was the closest to dangerous combat I got.
After about 6 months of setting up wells over the area, I was granted permission to return home and serve out the rest of my time in the States. They gave me the opportunity to go back to Vietnam if I wanted to, but it was done with it.