7:28 | While showing Senator Henry Jackson the U.S.S. Manley, they faced an explosion that resulted in a few casualties. Fortunately, Naval ships are equipped to handle attacks and many lives were saved from the blast.
Keywords : Naval Senator congress fleet gunner Gunner's mate saved Artillery attack enemy fire close call Senator Henry Jackson
Growing up in a military family, Al Stiles knew he wanted to join the Navy at a young age. After meeting his wife and being married for almost a year, Al Stiles departed for Vietnam on the U.S.S. Soley.
While on his way over to Vietnam, Al Stiles had a memorable trip travelling through the Panama Canal, Pearl Harbor and Midway. Once they landed in Da Nang, Al Stiles and his company provided back-up for ground troops that needed assistance inland.
While in Vietnam, Al Stiles and his company employed Harassment and Interdiction Fire which sought to slow down or deplete enemy forces and supplies. They faced some obvious obstacles in this but got better at it over time.
While at port in Hong Kong, Al Stiles and his company enjoyed some R&R that they got to have while there. When returning home, they had to divert their route and change some plans along the way.
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.
While coming back from the Baltic Sea, Al Stiles and his company practiced a difficult drill with a fleet of Naval ships. Though it was a challenge for him, they all executed it well and things worked out.
After service time on the U.S.S. McCloy, Al Stiles went to instructor duty to make Chief Petty Officer before getting ordered off to service on the U.S.S. Midway aircraft carrier, which differed from most of his time on destroyers.
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.
Growing up in Philadelphia to single mother, James Holmes was raised to work hard during his entire upbringing. Being an athlete all of high school, he decided to join the Army at age 17, trained and shipped off to Germany.
Paul Hart remembers his time in flight training at Fort Rucker before his deployment to Vietnam. After landing in Bien Hoa and getting processed, he was sent to the 1st Cavalry Division which was based out of An Khe. Paul was assigned to support the men on the ground as they patrolled the hills and valleys of Vietnam.
Dealing with the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army, they had to adapt to combating the many tactics of the enemy forces. The guerilla tactics of the VC in addition to the well-trained and equipped NVA was a great danger to American forces in Vietnam.
James Holmes remembers one particular hairy encounter from Vietnam that they managed to get out of with minimal casualties. On the final day, the NVA attempted a final push to get out of the village and the company had to push back on the attack.
James Holmes remembers shipping off to Vietnam just before his 21st birthday. Since he had 4 years military experience, his leadership was essential to the success of their unit while stationed over there.
Paul Hart remembers two of his good friends from flight school, Ralph and Wylie. Helicopter pilots had a high risk of injury and death, but even decades later, Paul remembers these men and what happened to them both during and after Vietnam.
Returning home from Vietnam, James Holmes and other Vietnam vets had a lot to get used to about civilian life. James took great strides to take care of himself after his time and the service, and he reflects on the Vietnam conflict and the miscommunication between Washington D.C. and the men on the ground.
Paul Hart remembers growing up with some military influence in his family when he got his notice to report for a physical. He remembers not really knowing much about the conflict in Vietnam during the time of his joining.
In 1967, General Westmoreland called for more troops in Vietnam, which President Johnson later approved. Grady Birdsong and his battalion were called into Hue City in 1968 to run support on the canal areas near the citadel.
Returning home, Grady Birdsong remembers not telling people he was a veteran and having to watch the war be lost on national TV. Being treated with disrespect after all he had been through was a very upsetting thing to have to go through.