I was doing horrible in school, always getting in trouble with the law, hanging around with the bad crowd. I decided I had to change my life, or I knew I would end up in prison. My parents were also not happy with my situation, so they encouraged me to join the military. I knew eventually I’d be drafted. I went in the Army at 17, at the time to young for Vietnam. After Basic and AIT, I found out my girlfriend was pregnant, so we got married. I went to Germany, but my wife wanted no part of the military. I re-enlisted to leave Germany, with two choices: Korea or Vietnam. I chose Vietnam.
I was a combat engineer on my first tour, during the 1968 Tet offensive. God was my savior. I made it out alive and in one piece. Then went to Fort Hood Tx for a year. Out of 240 soldiers in my Company I was the only one who ever actually fought in a war, and I had a bad attitude toward the others who talked and joked about it, and what they would do if they had to go. I lost many friends there–not sure why I’m still alive, I then came down on levy to go back to Vietnam, the only one in the company. I tried to get out of it. I went to a chaplain and other officials, but they told me I had a critical MOS and I was needed back in Vietnam, but this was bullshit, I was a carpenter.
I went back for my second tour and I survived it again. President Nixon was giving out early separation for those who were in country for more than 6 months, so I received an early out. Made Spec5 my second tour, got out in July of 71. Rejoined the Army National Guard from 75 to 83, where I made Ssg E6 and ended my service before Desert Storm.