I started 8th grade in the fall of 1967 and had a fine time with my meilleur ami that year. In addition to school, we were hanging out with BOYS, sneaking out at night, shopping, and going to our first concert: Chad and Jeremy.
The Vietnam war was in full force that year. Other than reports on the news, it wasn’t really on my radar. I didn’t know people who served with a couple of exceptions – my first friend’s brother (1969-1972) and the brother of another friend (in 1969).
My husband was 19 in 1967 and enlisted in the Marines. He was deployed to Vietnam later that year. He was trained as a sniper stateside and, FORTUNATELY, they lost his paperwork when he landed in the country. He was a machine gunner instead.
He was wounded in the Tet Offensive on January 31, 1968.
My husband was a member of the Second Battalion of the Third Marines fighting near Da Nang when his patrol was ambushed in a rice patty with little protection. His platoon was wiped out and he received two gunshot wounds in the right arm. The men/boys on each side of him were killed. He was airlifted by helicopter off the battlefield to various locations and had surgery in Japan.
We are most optimistic about his recovery and consider him fortunate, considering the circumstances under which the injuries occurred.My husband’s father
If you aren’t familiar with the Tet Offensive, this is a great summary.
In February 1968, in the wake of the Tet Offensive, the respected TV journalist Walter Cronkite, who had been a moderate and balanced observer of the war’s progress, announced that it seemed “more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.”History.com
In retrospect, the Tet Offensive was a turning point for the US involvement and it stoked the anti-war sentiment on the home front.
Back to my husband. He eventually made it to Bremerton, WA for rehab before being shipped to Camp Pendleton, CA where he was eventually discharged.
When we got married 44 years ago, I didn’t fully grasp the impact of my husband’s Vietnam war experience.
There is no way someone can go through what he did at such a young age and completely leave that in the rear view mirror. Despite that experience, or maybe because of it, he has certainly been a success in all respects and is a great husband, father, and grandfather.
I’ve learned more about his time in Vietnam over the years and am incredibly proud of his service. He is a hero to me and I know his daughters and grandchildren feel the same way!
Happy Veteran’s Day to him and all who served.
Photo credit for today’s collage: AH and AMJ