John Robson of Englewood, Fla. joined the Air Force at 18, in 1966. After basic he was trained to be a jet engine mechanic and was sent to an air force base in Tuy Hoa, South Vietnam in 1967. He worked on the engine of a squadron of F-100 Super Sabre fighter-bombers over there.
When 1st Lt. Ward Abbett arrived in Vietnam aboard a purple Braniff Airline he was a well-educated, seasoned soldier. He was a graduate of “The Citadel” in Charleston, S.C. He also spent his first year in the Army stateside as the executive officer of a headquarters company, but he wanted to see action in Vietnam.
It was winter time in 1953 when Dave Evans’ Marine Ranger unit arrived on Pork Chop Hill, just north of the 38th Parallel that would separate North Korea from South Korea. He was an 18-year-old Leatherneck just out of boot camp experiencing his baptism of fire.
Don Miller was a Vietnam “Tunnel Rat.” It had to be the worst job an American soldier could have in the Southeast Asian war.
The Tet Offensive, the largest enemy assault of the Vietnam War, was Spc. 4 Donald Hirkey’s introduction to Southeast Asia almost 40 years ago. The 65-year-old North Port man was a member of A-Company, 2nd-Battalion, 506th Airborne Infantry Regiment, part of “The Screaming Eagles,” the 101st Airborne Division.
Tet was the big battle former Air Force Sgt. Jack Freeman of Port Charlotte, Fla recalls most vividly during his year-long deployment to Vietnam.
Col. Norm Mac Lellan of Venice had already served one tour in Vietnam and survived the 1968 Tet Offensive when he got in the firefight of his life with North Vietnamese Army troops during his second tour of duty along Highway 1, north of Saigon in the summer on 1972.
Before completing 21 years of service in the U.S. Army’s Dental Corps, Col. Carl Hansen of Punta Gorda, Fla. made five-star Gen. Omar Bradley, commander of the 12th Army Group in Europe during World War II who also served as the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after the war, a set of…
Herb Mc Cool of Port Charlotte, Fla. figures he was shot at by North Vietnamese Army regulars and Vietcong guerrillas at least 5,000 times during his three tours in Vietnam. He served in the 67th Maintenance Company from 1967 to ’69 at “Camp Eagle” near the convergence of the Ho Chi Min Trail and the…
Charles Milam of Port Charlotte, Fla. was a freshman on a football scholarship playing for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks in 1944 when he decided to join the Marine Corps.
With her wispy white hair, her frail body and her tiny voice, Harriette Moore is the epitome of someone’s grandmother. Looks can be deceiving.
“I was a 27-year-old captain who commanded Delta Battery, 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery, 1st Division. That battery was the longest serving unit in the history of ‘The Big Red One.’ It went back to the Revolutionary War when its original commander was Alexander Hamilton,” the 72-year-old retired Punta Gorda, Fla. bird colonel said. “That was kinda cool.”
1st Sgt. Ed Vuolo of Port Charlotte, Fla. drove into Kuwait on Jan. 17, 1991 aboard a Humvee behind the M1A1 Abram Tanks of “Old Iron Sides,” the United States’ 1st Armored Division as part of “Operation Desert Shield.”
Ed Vuolo grew up on Long Island, NY, graduated from high school in 1966 and two years later he was drafted into the U.S. Army.
Lt. Fred Buckingham flew his C-130 “Hercules,” four-engine transport plane to Vietnam just in time for the North Vietnamese Army’s siege of the Marine base at Khe Sanh, the biggest single battle of the war, and the enemy’s massive Tet Offensive, where every major city and many American military bases were attacked in a countrywide…
Jim King and his buddy, Charley Carr, joined the Army right out of high school. The two 18-year-old California boys got an education about life long before they reached Vietnam and faced the enemy.
Joe Taylor was a black Marine who served three tours of duty in Vietnam. The death and devastation this grunt witnessed while serving in the Corps over there was almost too much for him to bear.
“Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division was a black flag outfit. We were a skull and crossbones unit comprised of assault hunter-killer teams. We took no prisoners,” Charles Shaughnessy, who saw considerable action in 1968 in Vietnam as a 20-year-old Marine corporal and squad leader, said.
Lt. Col. Joann Bolitho was a flight nurse who served in Vietnam and spent the rest of her 20-year military career in hospitals in Europe, Alaska and around the country.
Rene Camps was an aircraft mechanic who kept a Cessna 0-1 Bird Dog forward air control spotter plane in the air during the Vietnam War. He graduated from high school in Miami in 1964 and served two tours in ‘Nam as a member of the 21st Tactical Air Support Squadron from 1967 to ’69.