Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans

COMBAT STORIES FROM Vietnam

Henry Choy | Navy Seabees

6:08   |   Henry Choy applied to the Navy as a carpenter, but instead wound up going to steelworker school. He remembers the difficult tests and exercises during his basic training. Afterwards, he was sent to a mock POW camp to get used to that environment.

More From Henry Choy

Keywords   :     Henry Choy    Navy    Seabee    Carpenter    steelworker    school    basic training    waterboarding    POW camp (Prisoner of War camp)    Hawaii    farm    construction    Port Hueneme    California    Okinawa Japan    officer    plumber    electrician    medic    mechanic    Lompoc    San Diego CA    mountain training    building

Videos ( 6 )
Vietnam
  • Henry Choy  |  Vietnam  |  Navy Seabees  |  6:41

    Before he got a flight over to Vietnam, he and his Seabee crew were delayed several times. They ended up staying in Okinawa a lot longer than anticipated, but still made the best of their time before going off to aid in the war. In Vietnam, his main job was not to fight but rather to construct the buildings that would be utilized. While over there, he had interactions with the HAL-3 "Seawolves," and tells other stories of interacting with captured North Vietnamese prisoners.

  • Henry Choy  |  Vietnam  |  Naval Advisory Group  |  7:22

    After a year of working on different buildings in Vietnam, Choy had completed his first tour. He returned home and began taking classes at the community college for his degree in animal technology. He used his extra year to get his teaching certification and wound up teaching science at his old high school. After that, he joined the National Guard, and it was around this time that he learned that he would be called to duty in Iraq.

  • Henry Choy  |  Vietnam  |  Navy Seabees  |  5:01

    From his time and Vietnam and Iraq, he hadn't gotten in touch with any of his old teammates for over forty years. Finally he stumbles upon a name, Russell Wood, and contacts him thinking it might be his old teammate Woody. It was, and they finally had a reunion with as many of the other men as they could find. He talks about the hardships they faced during the war, and how they got through it with each other. (Caution: contains some strong language)

Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Henry Choy  |  Operation Iraqi Freedom  |  29th Brigade, Hawaiian National Guard  |  6:52

    Before heading off to Iraq, Choy took the time he still had in the US and got married. Soon after, he was instructed to first go to Fort Bliss for more training. Having already had skills in construction, that got him placed in an Iraqi Battalion. Once he was in Iraq, he unfortunately saw a few injuries and deaths of different men. The real tragic part of those stories is the majority of them were accidents.

  • Henry Choy  |  Operation Iraqi Freedom  |  29th Brigade, Hawaiian National Guard  |  6:10

    Henry Choy tells about the living conditions he had while constructing buildings in Iraq, as well as a few humorous stories he witnessed while over there. One of the biggest issues they faced was that it was hard to tell which Iraqis were allied with the US and which were not, sometimes to the point where they couldn't trust their own interpreters. At one point he and his brigade were acting as escorts for convoys trying to get from Kuwait to Iraq.

  • Henry Choy  |  Operation Iraqi Freedom  |  29th Brigade, Hawaiian National Guard  |  4:13

    After a long year of training, building, riding, and surviving in Iraq, Choy had finally completed his tour. He came home around the age of retirement, and so he did retire shortly after returning. He gives some reflections about the Vietnam and Iraq wars, and how they compared and contrasted. Specifically, the treatment of soldiers who came home after the war was over.

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