9:32 | Richard Hauner realized quickly how much of a learning process being in Vietnam was. The many challenges that they had to face were quickly surmountable with smarts and a good bit of luck.
Keywords : booby trap hunting mindset thinking ambush disarmed
Richard Hauner remembers growing up in a small town and his interest in history at an early age that eventually led him to want to join the service.
Being drafted to go to Vietnam meant that Hauner had to get accustomed to training and the military lifestyle quickly. One particular encounter with some fellow soldiers at basic training left him rattled.
After his basic training, Richard Hauner shipped off to Alaska and had to face the elements there. After arriving in Dong Tam, Richard Hauner was immersed quickly into the Vietnam lifestyle.
Daily life at camp and during warfare always came with complications for Hauner and his division. Though his division wasn't explicitly an infantry division, they did a lot of the same tasks that infantry did, making them learn quickly.
When reporters and entertainers came to Vietnam, they were often kept away from the actual elements of war. Richard Hauner had some funny stories from interactions he had when they came to experience real war.
Richard Hauner tells of his experience with the Tet Offensive, facing mortar fire and having to coordinate troop positioning. He managed to get on an aircraft to Bearcat where he cleared his post.
After leaving Vietnam, Hauner and his division felt euphoric to make it home safely. For a few years after, he had some problems with PTSD that started to go away with the help of a psychiatrist.
Richard Hauner gives his insight into the consequences of war. He tells leaders to make war the last result because it is so draining on a country.
After heading to Phu Bai, Bennie Koon and his company went to Camp Evans to be stationed. Facing mortar fire, he remembers feeling terrified and not knowing when it would pass. Bennie explains the defenses they had set up to defend them from the Viet Cong.
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
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.
When one of the Marine units supporting them left, Bennie Koon and his platoon had to think quickly to fill in the gaps to stay secure. In their down-time, they played games and drank beer, which became pretty habitual for him.
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.
Growing up in the Midwest in a military family, Rick Bates joined the Air Force with the desire of flying fighter jets. He had to learn quickly to prepare himself for the intensity of navigating these huge machines.
After re-enlisting in the service, Charlie Pocock passed his flight physical and was on active duty in Utah where he lived. When his plane was shot down over Vietnam, he had to think on his feet to run through the jungle and transmit his whereabouts via radio.
After spending so much time in Hanoi, Rick Bates remembers being released and feeling relieved after they flew to a base in the Philippines. Returning home and getting some leave, he decided to stay in the Air Force and finished out his career flying the F-4.
Deciding to re-enlist after Vietnam, Donna Lowery deployed to Germany where she had a nice deployment there and found readjusting to post-war life easy. She ended up spending 26 years in the military and retired a sergeant major. Donna also has some thoughts on the Vietnam Women's Memorial in Washington D.C.
While stationed in Vietnam, Peter Ruplenas had a number of enemy interactions that turned out to be extremely close calls and left him with a few injuries. Being a photographer, capturing these moments was still very important to him despite the difficulties.