In July, 1967, I got my “Greetings from the President of the United Stats of America.”  It told me to report for Duty 27 August, 1967.  My life was turned upside down to a direction I was not use to.  I felt I was in a prison with no way out.  I did what my father had done and now it was my time to do my part for my Country. 

       During A.I.T (Advanced Infantry Training) I got a call from my mother through the Red Cross that my wife, Margret, was missing and they found our car in a Mobile Home Park.  I took up a loan from some of my friends in my Platoon and got permission to come home on Emergency Leave.  I got another call that she was located in Arlington, Texas, at Grandmother’s home.  I rode a bus all night and arrived in Arlington the next morning.  I found out she was out with friends and they ran out of money.  She called her cousin and he came and picked her up.  She apologized to me and we got our car back.  She stayed at Grandmother and I reported back to Fort Polk. 

        I came home for Christmas Break and spent Holidays with family.  I returned again to A.I.T to graduate in late January.  I received a promotion from Private E-2 to Private First-Class E-3.  My orders were to report to Fort Lewis, Washington, to ship to Vietnam to the 4th Infantry Division. 

        I arrived in Camaron Bay Vietnam, February 23, 1968.  When processed in my Orders was changed from 4th Infantry Division to 1st Cavalry Air Mobile Division, Company D 1/12.  Homesick, I said to myself “Lord, protect me through this War.” 

        I flew by C-130 from Camaron Bay to An Khe Vietnam.  I reported to Base Camp and took a three-da refresher curse in Jungle Warfare.  I then few out to Quang Tri Vietnam LZ Sharon.  There was where I flew by helicopter to my unit in the field.

        There I was.  In the Jungle of Vietnam.  My Sargeant welcomed me aboard by saying “Welcome Cherry Boy!”  He told me to follow the Old guys and I would be ok.  My first Combat Air Assault was into Khe Sanh to get the Marines out of Fire Base that was under attack. 

        That was a day I will never forget.  The 1st Cavalry Division lost several Helicopters on the first lift.  My unit was the 3rd lift in.  We arrived on a hill we were taking heavy fire from the Enemy.  We set up the 81mm Mortar and started shooting back with machine gun and rifle fire.  I never saw a person that was shot to death before.  My Sergeant told me to come with him to search for the bodies for documents.  He laughed at me and he said “Cherry Boy, they won’t hurt you now, they are dead!”  That was a reality check for me.

About oneta hayes

ABOUT ME Hello. To various folks I am Neat’nee, Mom, Grandma Neta, Gramma, Aunt Neta, Aunt Noni, Aunt Neno, and Aunt Neto (lots of varieties from little nieces and nephews). To some I’m more like “Didn’t you used to be my teacher?” or “Don’t I know you from someplace?” To you, perhaps, I am a Fellow Blogger. Not “fellow” like a male or a guy, but “fellow” like a companion or an adventurer. I would choose to be Grandma Blogger, and have you pull up a chair, my website before you, while I tell you of some days of yore. I have experienced life much differently than most of you. It was and is a good life. I hope to share nuggets of appreciation for those who have gone before me and those who come after me. By necessity you are among those who come after me and I will tell you of those who came before. Once upon a time in a little house on a prairie - oops, change that lest I commit plagiarism - and change that “house on the prairie” to “dugout on the prairie.” So my story begins...
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15 Responses to STEVE’S STORY 3

  1. Wow, very sobering. By the way, I was also stationed at Fort Polk. It was a terrible base! Lol. Thankfully I was only there for about 15 mos. Then onto Japan! Blessings to you and thank you for posting this Veterans Day story.

  2. pranabaxom says:

    That war and draft. A generation of American gave their life to prop up a corrupt regime in a distant land that USA had no business to be in.
    Even now I do not think politicians have learnt their lessons. Of course not their sons and daughters.

    • oneta hayes says:

      I would be hard put to try to justify just why we were there. I guess to defend South Viet Nam, but why? I don’t know. I see there were five presidents who served at some time during that war, so the nation must have been hopeful that they could get it settled. Of course, it never was. No really. Sad time, but I guess all wars are. It is nice when one can see positive results, however.

      • pranabaxom says:

        Was it five presidents? I thought it was three. I was in India then and it was always a puzzle to us back then. We always thought America was sucked in to clean up the mess left over by the French colonialists. The world is still paying the price of British colonialism ( though I am sure Sammy will disagree😀).

  3. grAnnie Roo says:

    Good work that generated lots of flash-back memories for me. I didn’t personally serve in the military but I kept the home fires burning for many loved ones that did in the Korean Conflict, Vietnam Conflict, Desert Storm and OIF.

    THANK YOU VETS. I will not forget.

    • oneta hayes says:

      I’ve been reminded today of many more family members who served in military than it seemed. I do thank all. Some were during times of peace; some remained on the homeland; some served in conflict. All were noble to do what was assigned to them.

  4. Oneta—this is a tough read…on all sorts of levels—your telling of this is so vivid…
    Thank you for this series of posts

  5. Faye says:

    Remembering too as I read, the ones who through loyalty to ALLIES suffered and died who were only 19 as the song so poignantly reveals. My brother was drafted but was sent home because his pregnant wife lost their baby. WAs it a God reprieve? .Many of His dearest friends all died or came home damaged mainly by chemicals. Your post is a tough read.
    You remind me of so much of my rebel days when I protested in the streets about the war and the draft. Thank you for sharing Steve’s story.

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