7:23 | His relatives were all Navy, so when Tim Dunn got it in his head to join the Marines, he caught a little flak. The Navy recruiters had not seemed interested when he and his high school buddies visited the recruiter, plus he thought that, in the Marines, he would have more reliable guys around him.
Keywords : Timothy Dunn Staten Island New York City draftees
It was shock and awe, by design. It was daytime when Tim Dunn arrived at the airport in South Carolina, but the bus to Parris Island didn't take the recruits there until it was night. More disorienting that way. The language and the volume coming from the DI's was shocking and eventually he realized why it was so harsh.
There were three Dunns in boot camp and the senior DI had dubbed Tim Dunn "Admiral Dunn." This became his name through the rest of his time there. Although he had never fired a gun in his life, he managed to score just shy of expert rating.
New Marine Tim Dunn had to get to the west coast on a standby ticket. He ran into Bobby Bridges, another Marine who had already been to Vietnam and who coached him on how to avoid getting bumped from the flight. His last stop before the war was in Okinawa, where you could get a last night on the town.
He was used to hot, humid summers, but when the door on the airliner opened in Da Nang, Tim Dunn felt like he was standing in front of a blast furnace. The Marines who came to pick him up were dirty and dusty and haggard looking.
Hotel Company was the only unit at the outpost south of Da Nang on Highway 4. Marine Tim Dunn later learned that this was area was heavily contested when the French were there. There was a combination of VC and NVA forces active in the area.
There were a lot of booby traps where Tim Dunn was deployed south of Da Nang, both explosive and non-explosive. He was a Marine rifleman and one of his jobs was to mark targets with white smoke using a rifle grenade. They were looking for volunteers to train as snipers and it was decided that he would do it.
When he was "volunteered" to become a Marine sniper, Tim Dunn was sent back to battalion to train. They used a variety of older weapons but settled on a Remington with a walnut stock. That weapon was developed into the modern Marine sniper rifle.
The Marine sniper teams were sent to help rifle companies in the bush. Tim Dunn was one of these snipers and he recalls one mission in which he cleanly dispatched an enemy and caught flak for it from the platoon leader he was sent to help.
Marine sniper Tim Dunn had a variety of other duties while on base, including standing perimeter watch and joining the quick reaction force. There were no sniper operations at night. The night vision technology of the time was too primitive to be of much help.
Marine sniper Tim Dunn tells the story of an enemy sniper who was vexing US forces south of Da Nang. Everybody was looking for her but it was pure chance that did her in.
What's it like to shoot somebody 1000 yards away? Marine sniper Tim Dunn recalls his time in Vietnam, where the shooting conditions had what he calls "heavy air." You had to have the right frame of mind to operate alone in the jungle. It took more than just being a good shot.
As his rotation date approached, Tim Dunn went on one last patrol, which was, thankfully, uneventful. As he waited for transportation home, he began to feel remorse over leaving his buddies.
It was the first time any of them had seen a miniskirt. Tim Dunn was in a group that just returned from Vietnam. What had happened while they were gone? He didn't experience any hostility until he was out on the town with some buddies and they introduced him to a girl who said something totally unexpected.
After his Vietnam tour, Marine sniper Tim Dunn had 18 months left to serve. He was assigned to the 2nd Marines but they had no interest in using his skills in their sniper school. That puzzled him but he finished his service with no complaints and went to try his hand at higher education.
After he had been working as a sniper for awhile, Tim Dunn was getting a little salty. When he was sent to help out a company on an operation, he walked in and said, "Gunny, your troubles are over." When the sergeant looked up and he saw who it was, he snapped to attention.
Tim Dunn saw an ad in Leatherneck magazine about a gathering at a ship dedication. That started him on reconnecting with his Marine comrades at reunions, including one for his Scout Sniper unit. He has been back to Vietnam and reports that the people there are completely over the war and genuinely welcoming to Americans.
Don Rohde decided to re-enlist. The Navy Corpsman really had his eyes opened in Vietnam and civilian life just wasn't working out for him. He and his pregnant wife headed for Camp Lejeune, where no one knew it yet, but there was something wrong with the water. (Caution: strong language)
After the column was devastated by an NVA ambush, wounded Americans were scattered in the darkness. After his captain heard one such group calling for help on the radio, Freddie Owens joined a patrol to find them, guided by a gunshot every few minutes. Once there, medic Daniel Torres volunteered to stay with those who couldn't move and protected them through the night with medicine and a machine gun.
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.
One night, while Laurie was eating dinner, the USS Sanctuary got a call about a plane crash. She vividly remembers the patients coming aboard, and the aftermath of this incident, including one boy who was MIA. As difficult as this experience was, it was nothing compared to the Tet Offensive. New wounded were coming in constantly, and trying to care for all of them at once was emotionally exhausting. (Interview conducted at, and with the assistance of, the Military Heritage Museum- https://freedomisntfree.org/.)
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.
They were hunkered down after fierce fighting when the call came from "Ghost 4-6." It was a group of wounded men who had pulled themselves together after the ill fated march to LZ Albany and were lost in the dark. George Forrest sent a patrol to find them, and in an incredible act of bravery, medic Daniel Torres stayed through the night with them and saved many men. Captain Forrest still had to write a gut-wrenching letter to the mother of a missing soldier. Part 3 of 4.
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. His action during this time earned him the Navy Cross.
It turns out you can see a lot at night. Fighter pilot Joe Richardson was apprehensive about night missions over Vietnam but the tracers and the missiles were unmistakable. He had to learn how to out maneuver the surface-to-air missiles, which wasn't easy but it was doable.
When it gets close to time to go home, for some reason, the danger increases. Some died during their last few days, but Vic Grahn made it back from Vietnam and didn't even get the rude greeting so many did when they returned. He became a flight instructor and nursed a bitterness towards the powers that be who abandoned the war when we had it won.
Fighter pilot Joe Richardson was laying chaff for a B-52 run over North Vietnam when the SAM's started to fly. That was bad but the worst was yet to come. As his squadron turned and headed for home, the bombers were headed the opposite direction. A head on collision would be disastrous. (Caution: strong language)
What should future generations remember about the war in Vietnam? For Vic Grahn, it's all about those who fought the war being abandoned by their own leadership and the general public. What song takes him back? The answer is surprising though totally logical.
The three companions were flying down to Webb Air Force Base to check it out. Joe Richardson was piloting the Beechcraft and while they were all going to be at flight school there, this was just a little pleasure trip. It nearly ended in disaster.
A-37 pilot Vic Grahn and his buddy Jack Beam were working a target with napalm when a bullet came through his windsceen and exited the cockpit through a side window. There was no other damage to his plane so he returned to the attack. Then Jack's plane took a hit as well but he, too, pressed on. You would think that the brass would like that but they didn't.
Joe Richardson was three years into the Air Force Academy when he decided to quit. He didn't care that he would be exposed to the draft. When he brought recruiters into the Explorer group he was mentoring, he was so impressed with the film the Air Force recruiter showed, he joined up.
It was strange. Vietnam was a bit of a culture shock for Vic Grahn but he got over it. He was flying the A-37, a small jet aircraft designed for close air support to troops in contact (TIC). His base at Bien Hoa was the target of frequent rocket attacks which may or may not have disturbed the poker game.
He was a military man from day one. Vic Grahn's father had served in World War II aboard the USS Hornet and, when he came of age, he decided on the Air Force. A new war beckoned from Southeast Asia and he didn't want to miss out. With a commission out of ROTC in hand, he began his pilot training.
Just as he was finishing flight school, Joe Richardson contracted Valley Fever, a respiratory illness connected to fungus in the soil in that part of Texas. It set him back because it took a while for the doctors to figure out what he had. He recovered and continued in his training as a fighter pilot. Finally, he was headed to Southeast Asia.
When Joe Richardson's squadron was working with some Navy pilots over the A Shau Valley, one of them made a mistake which caused some of their bombs to detonate prematurely. Two of his fellow pilots had to bail out. One of them was located fairly quickly but the fate of the other was unknown for a while.
His father had been wounded on Tulagi, so he never got to be the Marine aviator he intended to be, but he did teach his son to fly. Joe Richardson soloed at fifteen and went on to become a fighter pilot.
The Corpsman in Vietnam really saw the most difficult parts of war. Don Rohde will never forget the first Marine who died in his arms nor will he forget the first life he took, considering who she was and what she was doing. The Marines weren't arbitrary in their actions but if they took fire from a village, that village would burn.
There were no real anti-aircraft guns per se down in IV Corps. Vic Grahn took a lot of small arms fire and the occasional 20mm on his missions, which were often in support of troops in contact (TIC). He flew the A-37, a small highly maneuverable aircraft and that maneuverability came in handy when he was up in III Corps where the trees are bigger.
There was a Green Beret on the ground. He had just escaped from the North Vietnamese and fighter pilot Joe Richardson was tasked with laying down a smokescreen to aid in his escape. Years later, he ran into a man who's story seemed to line up with his. Was this the guy?
Don Rohde went into one tunnel, just to say he did it. They were everywhere and the VC would just disappear into them. He was a Corpsman attached to a Marine company and he took no gruff from a doctor who didn't appreciate his field emergency work.
He had a suitcase in each hand when an anti-war protestor called him a baby killer and spit in his face. By the time Joe Richardson collected himself, the man had run off. Welcome home. He tried to stay in the Air Force but the downsizing eventually caught up with him and he went to work for the industry that had built the aircraft he flew. (Caution: strong language)
It took a long time, but Don Rohde finally attended a reunion of his comrades from Vietnam. Men with common suffering at the hands of the powers that be who messed up that war. It was so bad that they don't teach about it very much in school. (Caution:strong language)
Before he got to Thailand, fighter pilot Joe Richardson went through survival school in the Philippines as well as a little extra-curricular activity. When he did get to the air base at Ubon, he ran into a buddy who was in a squadron known as the Night Owls. Oh, I don't want to fly at night. Too bad.