4:45 | The bullet barely missed wrecking his knee. Jack Jeter was in for some hospital time before he could go home. Once he did, he was amazed at the blase attitude of his friends about Vietnam. Part 3 of 3. (Caution: strong language.)
Keywords : Jack Jeter Vietnam Bien Hoa Fort Hood
Jack Jeter was a little older when he was drafted, 23 years old. His training was at Fort Polk, over the hot Louisiana summer of 1968. He didn't think any place could be hotter or more miserable. Then he got to the jungles of Southeast Asia. (Caution: strong language.)
After settling in and meeting the company, Jack Jeter was amazed at how little action was occurring where they were. Then the unit moved further south and his platoon set out on a short sweep. The point man spotted a trail and the platoon leader decided to follow it; a very bad idea. Part 1 of 2.
Following a trail while on patrol, Jack Jeter's platoon veered off to the left and walked right into an enemy base camp. Luckily, most of them were further down the trail, waiting to ambush the Americans. Left on their own in a ferocious firefight, they were surprised when the company commander arrived on the scene. Part 2 of 2.
Saddle up! The call went out and Jack Jeter's platoon headed out to reinforce another unit caught in a firefight with the NVA. As they reached the scene, his buddy Snag Johnson was hit in the leg but kept on firing. They got out of there and and began an exhausting trek with Snag on a stretcher. (Caution: strong language.)
The day Jack Jeter was wounded was the third day of serious firefights. His commanding officer, Captain Barry McCaffrey, was wounded on the first day and the temporary replacement had his own ideas about how to proceed. That led the unit right into big trouble. Part 1 of 3. (Caution: strong language.)
In the middle of the firefight in which Jack Jeter was wounded, someone ran out and picked up a wounded man and got him to safety. It would be decades before the issue was settled. Exactly who was that? Part 2 of 3.
After leaving the Army, Vietnam war veteran Jack Jeter got fulfillment from an old hobby, racing motorcycles. He built a successful business and was getting on with his life when he got a strange phone call. It was time to reconnect. (Caution: strong language.)
Once Jack Jeter was contacted by one of his buddies from his unit in Vietnam, he caught the reunion bug. It became his mission to find guys and reconnect.
What do you want future generations to remember about the Vietnam War? Jack Jeter has a definite idea about that. (Caution: strong language.)
Returning from his first tour of Vietnam, George Forrest went straight to Fort Benning, so it was a good experience. As for the return from the second tour, it wasn't the worst day of his life, but it was right up there as he changed into civilian clothes to avoid the protesters. He thinks about the conditions for service members today and wonders if the overwhelming social media communications are a good thing for morale and focus.
The decision was made to evacuate the villagers while booby traps and bunkers were destroyed. An old woman walked up to forward observer Frank Cox and started kicking the ground and giving him grief. This led to a surprising friendship.
Frank Cox recalls the frustration and anger felt by many in Vietnam due to the ineptness of the war effort and the difficulty in the field. Channeling this anger fueled a successful career for him later, but there was an incident on patrol when he let the anger get the best of him.
Dennis Haines had seen dead soldiers on stretchers but it was totally different with his friend Jack Kirchner. Dennis had been right there with him in the line of fire. He learned it was best not to be too close to your wartime comrades.
The war changed him for the better, says George Forrest, though it took a while to realize that family was more important than chasing a military career. A visit to Vietnam decades after the conflict made him wonder if it had been worth it. He does know two things, he would have liked a free ticket to a Packers game and he wishes the war was remembered for more than alleged atrocities and stoned troops.
Being trained in unconventional warfare, Ted Cummings and his division learned about going behind enemy lines and causing massive disruptions in their ongoing processes. In special forces, the key was to train so that there was a fully developed team effort so that the company never had to rely on a single person.
Arriving in Vietnam, Dennis Haines got a quick lesson in weapons safety when a soldier dropped a grenade in practice. He also met Jack Kirchner, who was from the same area at home and the two became great friends.
Paul Jacobs took command of the USS Kirk late in 1974. Its deployment was rushed in order to provide humanitarian relief as the war effort crumbled in Vietnam in April of 1975 and people began to flee. Enlisting a tanker to clear the way into Saigon, they began to take on helicopters, pushing them over the side after offloading the people.
Rody Conway knew that it was a waste of time to be in the infantry and not go into combat, so he pushed to get sent to Vietnam. First was a six-week course on what to expect, like the fact that “friend” and “shoot” was the same word in Vietnamese.
As an advisor in Vietnam, Bill Hanna faced an unusual obstacle, the cultural phenomenon known as "saving face." This led to some perplexing situations as he tried to school the Vietnamese in running a modern Air Force.
As if getting shot in the head wasn’t enough, Dennis Haines had many complications on his road to recovery, including a serious infection. He was amused, however, by the process of molding the plastic plate to cover the missing part of his skull.
Tired of the dying and killing, reporter Joe Galloway went back to Tokyo to cover Asia for UPI, but he would find himself going back to Vietnam three more times to document the dark descent into chaos.
Ron Mastin had been a POW for a year and his captors were constantly moving him around. His family didn't even know he was alive until the release of Doug Hegdahl, who had memorized hundreds of names of prisoners. He never gave up hope, never once thought he might not go home. He even found his crew mate, Tom Storey, with whom he'd been shot down in 1968.
Three of Captain Marshall Carter's men who were on a fateful raid with him, went to the battalion commander to tell him what Captain Carter had done during the operation. That conversation worked out well for him, much better than the conversation he had years later with a reporter from WGBH.