Why this petition matters
Everyone knows a veteran. Veterans are what makes America America. Active duty and veterans put their or have put their lives on the line for us. They risk their lives to ensure we are safe in the U.S. and they protect other countries. Please help me to make Veterans Day, not just a day we celebrate, but a month to truly honor, celebrate, embrace, and commemorate our veterans!
My Grandpa's Story
I was drafted in September of 1966. My two years I spent in active duty went by fast. Everything was new and different. While completing my basic training I was confined in a company area due to spinal meningitis for eight weeks. My time in Fort Luis, Washington was also interesting due to it feeling like it rained every day. After my eight weeks in basic training, I headed to Oklahoma for advanced training for another eight weeks. After my advanced training, I was able to come home. I had a thirty-day leave. It was great to be home, but in the back of my mind, I knew I was getting ready to go to Vietnam. Soon the thirty days were up and I headed to Vietnam. On March 3rd, 1967 I arrived in Vietnam. It was really hot. I arrived at Củ Chi base camp. Where I started my one-year tour of duty. For the first few months, things weren't too bad. We had been mortared a few times. Then I was transferred to a new unit. The new base camp was Dầu Tiếng. This was right next to the Michelin rubber plantation. Our job was to support the construction of fire support bases. Since this war was not conventional and was more gorilla warfare. They planned to establish more fire support bases. We were trying to control areas, but since there were no front lines we never knew when or where we would be attacked because of the enemy's elusiveness. Another issue was our roads. Our convoys were ambushed constantly and blown up. The roads were all dirt and narrow. Because of the road conditions when we were attacked if a vehicle was attacked in front of us we couldn't get around. We were left sitting ducks. Most of the time if there were tree lines we would receive small arms fire from the Vietnamese. Because of all this, we started flying in Chinook helicopters with cargo nets underneath holding our supplies. One of operations was to establish a fire support base with special forces near the Cambodian border. Where they used C.I.D.G.'s. These were mercenaries paid to fight. Upon arriving at our destination we came under severe enemy fire from mortars and small arms. We had to call in artillery support from Tây Ninh base camp. We were able to set up our 105 Hozier and start returning fire. Once we set up the fire support base our job was to support the special forces. They did recon and if they found Vietnamese we would support them with artillery fire. We were very isolated. We would have to get resupplied by helicopter. Most of the time we didn't have enough water. We couldn't bathe or shave for at least a couple of weeks. We had drinking water, but no non-potable water for bathing. On one evening in particular we came under attack. The enemy had figured out exactly where we were. We received three mortar shots injuring 5 out of the 10 soldiers in the squad. They were killed or severely injured. I was extremely lucky considering it blew up just ten feet away from me. The eeriest thing about all this was that sometimes nothing would go on for days. Then they would try something new. It would begin with probing our perimeter. We would shoot an illumination round of white phosphorus. On one occasion we called in multiple illumination rounds. When the land was illuminated it almost looked like ants there were so many Vietnamese. Because of the severity of the situation we called in a C47. Also known as Puff the magic dragon. On other occasions, we dropped napalm bombs. The napalm bombs helped to open up the jungle because the jungle was so thick you couldn't see the Vietnamese bases. Some of these bases were also underground. During all this, I came down with dengue fever. I ended up with an extremely high fever. I couldn't do anything due to my sickness. I was almost medivacked out. I was also there for the operation in the Hố Bò woods. Where we worked with the army core of engineers. Where they knocked down trees to take away the Vietnamese hiding areas. I was there for operation junction city. This operation was to clear more areas and push out the Vietnamese hiding areas. During the celebration of Tết. There was a seize fire for five minutes. Everyone was supposed to lay down their guns, but the Vietnamese used this to ambush the Americans. Another thing that was a challenge in Vietnam was monsoon season. It rained so hard you couldn't see two feet in front of you. After six months I realized we weren't fighting a war. We were just trying to surprise. We could have taken the war to North Vietnam rather than letting the enemy go back and forth through North Vietnam and Cambodia. The Vietnamese were able to resupply at ease. We were always alert and the South Vietnam army didn't help us much. Overall, my grandpa shared many of his frustrations with the war and what happened in his time serving, but this is an overview of his time in Vietnam! I hope you enjoyed reading the story! Now let's show our support to our veterans and make it a month-long celebration!