5:22 | He told the Marine recruiter that he was interested in a two year hitch and the old sergeant said, "Son, for a two year hitch, all I can promise you is two years of a hard time." That sounded OK to Mike Province and he was off to Vietnam by way of Camp Pendleton. He had just arrived and was on the way to his unit when the truck driver came upon two young Vietnamese girls who had bicycled over a mine in the road.
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Booby traps were a fact of life in Vietnam. In fact, Mike Province replaced a Marine who had shoved others out of the way of the blast from one and was badly injured. The squad leader was big and tough and would issue a beating for what he considered transgressions. Eventually, it was Mike's turn, but first, he had some words for the sergeant.
There was a machine gunner in Mike Province's platoon named Emilio De La Garza. On a patrol, they encountered an enemy who indicated he wanted to surrender. De La Garza went to bring him in and, as they approached, he pulled out a grenade. When it was over, there was a Medal Of Honor waiting.
Marine Mike Province compares the personalities of the three Lieutenants he served under in Vietnam. Two out of three ain't bad. He pays tribute to the Corpsmen, who were alongside the Marines, taking care of the wounded. The wildlife and the elements were front and center, namely snakes and Jungle Rot.
They were told an attack was coming and they hunkered down in individual foxholes and waited. Marine Mike Province's thoughts drifted to home and family and then his mind got the best of him. Fear set in and he began to shake uncontrollably. This made him so mad he started pounding himself with his fist and then, the firefight began.
Marine Mike Province feels lucky that he had a loving family to welcome him home from Vietnam. He knows there were many who had a much different experience. Everyone who served there in any year is worthy of remembrance to him. He only wishes the lessons of Vietnam could have provided more guidance for the wars of today.
He made Buck Sergeant about the time he figured out that he and his buddies were basically fighting for each other and for no other reason. They were taking a large bunker complex and when two others were under fire, he went out to get them. After the fight was over, he was disturbed to learn what his superiors intended to do about the enemy base.
As Marine Captain Ron Christmas fought to regain the city of Hue, he found the enemy adept at concealment and surprise. Every soldier in a spider hole was armed with a rifle and a RPG launcher. He also encountered a nun with an AK-47. His action during this time earned him the Navy Cross.
In a letter home, Tommy Clack expressed his worry that something bad was going to happen and it did when his unit engaged the NVA near the Cambodian border. He saw the enemy soldier stand and fire the RPG that changed his life forever.
The RPG that severed Joe McDonald’s foot didn’t kill him. The machine gun fire that hit him as he still tried to help others didn’t kill him. The grenade taped to his hand might have killed him if the VC had found his hiding place.
McMahon becomes part of the Combined Action Program (CAP), working with Vietnamese militia to protect villages from Viet Cong thugs. On one occasion, the village is spared from enemy attack by an army artillery unit acting without orders. He and the villagers develop a bond that would last for decades.
Charlie McMahon leads a convoy into Hue, unaware that the Tet Offensive has begun. Upon discovering a city occupied by stubborn North Vietnamese forces, he and his team tread carefully, battling the entrenched army street-by-street, house-by-house.
Sardo Sanchez always wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, a WWII marine veteran... but his combat experiences have profound and lasting effects on his relationship with his parents, his siblings and his wife.
On his second tour, Sanchez is assigned to a CAP unit, where he develops a close bond with fellow soldiers, along with some of the villagers he protects. Under the leadership of a distant but dedicated sergeant, his platoon learns to survive day by day.
After returning home, Joe Ponds found a pretty hostile response for his fellow soldiers. They even had to deal with some increased problems because American politicians took actions that harmed their position. The purpose of a war needed to be a devoted commitment to something, which he feels was not in place during the Vietnam War.
Now stateside, Kramer navigates the restrictions his injury has placed on his military career. Thanks to his administrative skills, he lands a government job and works his way up through the ranks, but becomes frustrated with the apathy of the reservists he oversees. He offers sober advice to future war vets.
With great difficulty, Sardo Sanchez recounts critical events that prove both devastating and fortunate. After taking the life of a VC soldier, he is hit by a sniper and told he may never walk again. In a state of shock, he narrowly avoids a fatal miscalculation.
While heading home from Vietnam, the U.S.S. Manley made its way across the Indian Ocean and up through North Africa. While at port, they had a close encounter maneuvering the ship out into the correct direction but ended up having a smooth trip back to Charleston.