4:56 | Ron Rutowski remembers the circumstances that led to his enlistment and how quickly the transition was for them once they landed in Vietnam.
Keywords : Bien Hoa base camp training basic training monsoon battleship immediate M16 rifle guard duty plane airplane
After leaving the Bien Hoa Air Force Base, Ron Rutowski spent time building up the Bear Cat base camp. Here, he experienced the horrors of the Viet Cong firsthand.
During firefights in Vietnam, there are always challenges that Rutowski and his unit always had to overcome. During one particular encounter, they had to worry about their position being compromised as they crouched in the woods hoping to stay hidden.
As the war went on, Ron Rutowski felt the culture and morale of Vietnam change for the Vietnamese and for the Americans. In an effort to create an outlet of peace for Viet Cong defectors, they began a pamphlet program to let them know how to effectively surrender should they want to.
During a firefight, Ron Rutowski was put in a tough spot after his M16 jammed. Fortunately, he had air support that helped him remain safe from VC fire.
While stationed at base camp, Ron Rutowski and his unit constantly had VC trying to infiltrate their camp. During one of these, he took flak from a Claymore and had to go to the hospital to get his wounds treated.
Ron Rutowski tells of the medals of honor that he and his unit received for their time in Vietnam and what it was like to transition back to American life.
Ron Rutowski remembers some humorous events that happened in Vietnam as he was trying to pass the time.
For Ron Rutowski, remembering his fallen friends is one of the hardest parts about remembering his time in war. The guilt of losing fellow soldiers never leaves you.
Ron Rutowski gives his opinion on who the Vietnam veterans are and the importance of respecting the men who served there.
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.
Under heavy fire, choppers attempt to evacuate wounded GIs from Kontum. After one fatal crash, a dustoff chopper manages to lift Ernest Banasau to safety. Years later, Banasau meets the pilot who saved him, and learns how close he came to meeting a tragic fate. Part 2 of 2
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.
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.
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.
Dellinger is stationed at LZ Uplift, where he helps to stabilize wounded soldiers on their way to a nearby MASH unit. Life as a Medical Platoon Leader ranges from dangerous to uneventful, but his unit enjoys a degree of autonomy.
Dellinger participates in the Medical Civilian Aid Program, which has him providing medical aid to local villagers. He documents civilian interaction in photos, where we see children clamoring for candy and polaroids.
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.
Dellinger returns home to an unexpected lack of fanfare, and struggles with the adjustment of postwar life. He finds a rewarding career, where his experience in a field hospital helps him form a healthy perspective - and offer help to younger vets.
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.