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  • Tom Boyd

My War Days

War Days

War Days

The picture and the YouTube, neither of me, shows most of what I did while in Vietnam with the 199th light Infantry brigade when not filling sandbags or literally burning shit (true, we burned it to get rid of it). Most of the time we traveled by helicopter with the 106 on a sling under the helicopter to be dumped in the jungle, swamp, or rice fields; or secondary (with much personal preference) we rode in a jeep with the gun mounted on the jeep too.

The funny part, I was not trained to be a grunt (infantry) nor a gun bunny (artillery). I was trained to be an artillery surveyor (graduated 3rd in class of about 80). HQS decided they did not need my skills and assigned me to the 106 platoon. I blame Mickey Mouse as I was reading a comic book when the Sargent arrived to pick a volunteer and Tompkins was writing a letter to his wife, I got the pick. (Tompkins, who barely graduated in the same surveyor class, spent a lazy safe year at HQS shuffling papers, good for him).

Life is funny. I did not serve in my trained job but I was better off than many others. While in Vietnam I spent a week in the hospital but it was for food poisoning. I had a battle field operation but it was for an ingrown toenail. I went thru the Tet Offensive of 1968 but was protecting base camp and not looking for the Viet Cong as they came storming at us (bad call there). Two bee hive rounds from the 106 by another outfit killed 67 Viet Cong.

I did not like Vietnam and have no plans for visiting, I would have to be 165 years old before it got on my bucket list. It took until about 1979 before fireworks did not cause me anxiety, or jumping and it took until about 1999 to stop being prejudice against Vietnamese.

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