7:21 | After his time at Fort Hood, Texas, Al Flory was happy to be deployed to Vietnam. Accepting a commission to go serve on a surgical team in Can Tho, Vietnam, he was able to serve the military and civilian casualties as they came in. After this deployment, he decided to go to flight school and was accepted, starting his aviation career.
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Growing up with his dad in the military, Al Flory always figured that he would join the military. After talking to an Army recruiter, he decided to join the medical service corps and deploy to Vietnam.
Throughout his 8 months in flight school, Al Flory and his team worked with all sorts of aircrafts in order to prepare for a Vietnam deployment. After arriving in Can Tho, they were shipped to Chu Lai where they were ultimately stationed.
On his first mission, Al Flory and his detachment took a lot of fire as they tried to bring back some KIAs. On a particularly hairy mission he calls "Black Friday", the entirety of his unit was hit by NVA fire.
On a particular rescue mission, Al Flory and his detachment faced a lot of fire as they descended below the trees, battling brush, to airlift some troops with casualties. 33 years later, he had an unlikely phone call from one of those soldiers that sticks with him today.
"The Magic Hour" was the critical time period for Al Flory and his team, as they tried to give the soldiers they rescued the best chance of survival. Acting quickly during this time period was crucial and they did their best to do so.
The difference in climate in various regions of Vietnam affected Al Flory and his detachment as they tried to navigate the changing landscapes. After most missions, they found different ways to pass the time back on base in Chu Lai.
In his last few weeks in Vietnam, Al Flory was anxious to get home and took steps to ensure he would get there alright. On his way home from Vietnam, he had an unfortunate show of disrespect from a citizen he came across that disappointed him.
After his return home from his 2nd tour in Vietnam, he deployed out to Korea providing Medevac support for ground troops there. After that, he rose in the ranks of the military and ended up as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Security for the Army.
Al Flory remembers the 40th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy and the work that went into making it memorable. It felt special to get to be a part of such a meaningful event and it will stick with him forever.
Ed Callison remembers the role of his unit and all of the duties they enacted while stationed in Vietnam. Working with civilians and enemy prisoners alike to gain intel was often successful in gaining information that allowed a more successful war effort.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Peterson learns about the Combined Action Program from an article in Life Magazine, and joins the CAPs after his first tour. His platoon comes to accept the complicated nature of their relationship with the locals, which ultimately leads to betrayal - and the death of a comrade.
Combat in the rice paddies was a miserable and dangerous affair. It was wet and nasty with little cover. The mountain range near Vung Tau was no picnic, either, but as Dale Ney's unit conducted a sweep along it toward the sea, a remarkable sight called for a little unscheduled R&R.
Haunted by the fall of Saigon - and the death of a friend for which he wrongfully shouldered the blame - Peterson unpacks his service pistol and contemplates suicide. He manages to turn his life around; he meets his wife and returns to Vietnam for a chance to heal the scars of war.
Dale Ney was on patrol in Vietnam when, all of a sudden, the entire horizon lit up. Smoke billowed high in the sky and the trees were shaking. It was a B-52 strike. There was another awesome aircraft employed in Vietnam that did not create such mayhem and which was secretly flown at night.
Though he started as a true believer, Mike Peterson gradually became disenchanted with the Marines, and the Vietnam War. His reflections and research on Vietnam - and how the war was waged - lead him to the sober realization that we have become reckless with American lives.
Three or four Viet Cong could tie down an entire company with a well planned ambush and then just disappear. Snipers were a big problem, too, but Dale Ney quieted down a really annoying one with a disposable weapon meant for heavy armor.
Ed Callison remembers growing up with a military background in his family, which he would eventually be a part of when he was drafted for the Vietnam war. His opinion of the war has changed over time as he's gotten more time to look at it.
Dale Ney made heliborne assaults all over South Vietnam and even into Cambodia to support CIA operations. On that mission, a vast tunnel complex used by the Viet Cong was rendered unusable with CS agent, a concentrated powdered form of tear gas.
Dale Ney never took a bullet in Vietnam but he did have an unfortunate encounter with a punji stick. Another constant fear was enemy Claymore mines. And as if all that wasn't bad enough, every bit of wildlife in the country seemed to be against you.
Ed Callison remembers his last few weeks in Vietnam and then returning home to the hostile climate for people who served in the Vietnam War. He is thankful for some of the good treatment he did receive, and grateful for the increased support today.
Moving into civilian life wasn't always smooth sailing as he returned to college after his tour in Vietnam. He hopes future generations will remember the Vietnam veterans as the hard-fighting, dedicated men they were.