8:52 | There are certain memories and sensations that bring Bob Averill back to the Vietnam War and, though they were hard times, he has some memories that he won't forget. Thinking back on the war, he would like future generations to remember the sacrifices that were made by everyone involved.
Keywords : Vietnam NVA (North Vietnamese Army) memories good times struggles difficult legacy American soldiers sacrifice
Bob Averill remembers Marine Corps basic training and some of the men he served next to while there.
Back in 1967, Bob Averill had the chance to train with the U.S. Olympic team for the biathlon. After refocusing his sights on Vietnam, he pursued his time in the service instead of on the team.
Bob Averill remembers landing in Vietnam and immediately getting shelled upon arrival. Travelling around country, Averill and his battalion had many combat interactions that fortunately ended up mostly successful for him.
After a meeting with his company commander, Bob Averill was tasked with a fire team to push further into NVA territory. While camped outside of Viet Cong territory, they would often take enemy mortars .
Relieving some fellow Marines in what they thought was a calm area, Bob Averill and his platoon were forced to think quickly once they started encountering the NVA.
Pushing to Khe Sanh, Bob Averill and his battalion were able to get their weaponry tuned up which helped them later on as they took more fire.
After some intense time in-country, Bob Averill and his battalion got the chance to take a brief leave to the beach for some recovery time. Following his time on Hill 174, Averill was reassigned to command a Combined Action Company, taking him away from Hotel Company and into a new area of operations.
After joining the 3rd Combined Action Group, Bob Averill and his group were in charge of patrolling villages in south Vietnam. There, they were able to build relationships with the local ARVN forces.
Bob Averill and his battalion had standard protocol for VC interactions and how they would form relationships with Vietnamese that were willing to help them.
After recovering from a firefight, Bob Averill had a revelation that made him feel that he wasn't going to be killed in Vietnam. His company got orders to rotate back to Camp Carroll and faced VC fire while sweeping a Vietnamese village.
Bob Averill remembers one his fellow soldiers, Crash Crattick, who was known as the joker within the division. During one particular drill, Crash had a near-incident that brought them some punishment, but they managed to laugh it off.
After Khe Sanh, Bob Averill and his division shipped down to Cam Lo, where they faced ample NVA fire. Here, he had to take the lead on throwing a grenade into the enemy bunker, leading to a close call as he quickly retreated away from the blast.
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.
There are certain memories and sensations that bring Bob Averill back to the Vietnam War and, though they were hard times, he has some memories that he won't forget. Thinking back on the war, he would like future generations to remember the sacrifices that were made by everyone involved.