Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans


Louis Gonzalez | 8th Special Operations Squadron - Air Force

6:59   |   It was finally time for Gonzalez and the other men at his air base to hightail it back home. As soon as he could he called his wife and told her the news. During this time they moved to the east coast, and he got to see one of his good friends get married. He gives his final reflections about the Vietnam War and what he hopes future generations will take away from a historical event like this.

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Videos ( 5 )
  • Louis Gonzalez  |  Vietnam  |  8th Special Operations Squadron  |  4:05

    Louis Gonzalez was born in the Philippines and moved to San Francisco when he was only thirteen. Before that his brother had joined the Navy when he was eighteen, so it was always in the back of his mind to follow in his brother's military footsteps. He joined the US Air Force on the buddy system with his friend Dave Rogers. After he underwent his basic training and flight training, he was ready to assist in the Vietnam War. He ended up leaving for Vietnam on December 20, 1970.

  • Louis Gonzalez  |  Vietnam  |  8th Special Operations Squadron  |  7:16

    Gonzalez got his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base and his aircraft mechanic training was at Sheppard Air Force Base. It was around this time he married his high school sweetheart, and was at the time stationed in Tucson, Arizona. When he flew to Vietnam, he was stationed at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. While in Vietnam, he remembers that there was always a lingering problem with drug use. He tells about the first times he saw other kids smoking cigarettes laced with heroin.

  • Louis Gonzalez  |  Vietnam  |  8th Special Operations Squadron  |  5:51

    While in Tan Son Nhut, Gonzalez had a myriad of memorable experiences which he talks about, as well as volunteering to go to Bien Hoa. While there, he had his first close call in the form of an enemy rocket attack. He was so close to the blast radius that he kept a shrapnel souvenir to always remind him of how close he came to losing his life.

  • Louis Gonzalez  |  Vietnam  |  8th Special Operations Squadron  |  8:19

    Gonzalez talks about his specific job constructing, repairing and using aircraft and how he would get them in the best shape possible before the pilots would use them to fly. While over there, he found it increasingly difficult to help his peers cope with ongoing problems with drug use and alcoholism.

  • Louis Gonzalez  |  Vietnam  |  8th Special Operations Squadron  |  4:55

    When he was working on planes in Vietnam, occasionally Gonzalez would get requests from the other men to go to Saigon to make calls back home. He would gladly help them by flying them over and back in one of the airplanes. In addition, he tells of another close call he had that was so horrific that just the memory caused him to give up hunting forever.

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