I was Only 19

My First Guardian Angel

The Day I Almost Gave Up

While serving with Charlie Company, I would be assigned to a patrol or ambush at least three times per week. Neither one was something we looked forward to because you never knew if this would be the day a bullet, hand grenade or booby trap would have your name on it.

One day I was assigned to a patrol to search out the Viet Cong on a particular hill a few miles from our base camp. As soon as we began to leave camp it began to rain hard, so hard that all nine of us were drenched in a matter of minutes. It is very hard to stay focused when you just about can see a foot in front of you.

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The Pearl Handle 45 Caliber Handgun
While serving at Khe Sahn, I would try and stay in touch with my West Warwick friends and cousin, serving in the Navy, Army and Air Force, at least once every couple of months. I wrote letters to Ron, Fran, John and Richard just to make sure they were okay. We always had stories to tell and we would always try to keep our sense of humor alive by busting each other up before we sealed the envelope.

Fran was the closest to where I was stationed. He was at a helicopter base at An Khe. One morning while trying to secure and improve my foxhole, I overheard my captain talking to two Green Berets and a South Vietnamese officer about flying to An Khe to drop off the officer and pick up some supplies. They informed my captain they would be there for a couple of hours, and if he needed any supplies.

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The Booze Battle

Ulepon returning from Viet Nam, I was a proud, fearless Sergeant in the Marine Corps. I expected all of my friends and family to look upon me, as the hero I had envisioned myself. I guess I watched too many war movies.

As you read in my Homecoming Story, instead of cheers and banners, hugs and kisses, there was not a soul at the airport to greet me. When I did meet with friends and relatives the next day, they looked at me with fear. Usually, the first comment was not Welcome Home, but rather, “Hey Mike, how many did you kill?” “How were the women over there?” Nobody really cared about how I felt, or what I had endured or achieved. I found this to be a horrible experience, for a man twenty one years of age to deal with.