The Boomers: Reflecting, Sharing, Learning

Jim Wood Didn't Know He'd Saved a Life until Facebook Reunion

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Friday, 28 December 2012 15:44

Jim Wood joined the Marines at age 17, and at the end of his "hitch" he served in Vietnam with the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion.

He told the story of the first day his team climbed up a steep hill through the serrated monkey grass. Because he was the "new kid" he ended up carrying a 75 lb. load of supplies. Jim became worn out with his heavy load, and the post monsoon heat and humidity. His patrol leader, Joe, had the men take the road, which was an easier path but a more dangerous option. An hour later, Joe stepped into a booby trap receiving severe burns. Jim, who was carrying the first aid kit, put out the fire and tended to Joe's severe wounds.

"I always thought I had in some way caused the injury by not being acclimated, that I was the reason the patrol took to the trail," Jim told Mary Kay Mitchell during the interview. A few years ago, when Joe and Jim became reunited on Facebook, he found that Joe credits him for saving his life.  Turns out the whole patrol was worn out by the heat and mud.

CLICK HERE to listen to Jim's story.

 

A 1967 Christmas Memory in Vietnam

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Friday, 21 December 2012 12:02

Ric Wetherbee served in Vietnam the year of 1967 literately in the trenches.  "It was like a year-long camping trip," but grueling, he said.  Off camera he described how during the Monsoon season he tied his head to a tree to keep it elevated when sleeping so he wouldn't drown. The movie Platoon, he said, was much like his experience.

Having left the country to first serve in Germany in 1965, he was shocked to return in 1968 to people calling him "baby killer." He had no idea about how public sentiment had soured.

Ric recalled Christmas that year and how suddenly the constant background noise of gunfire stopped at midnight. It was so quiet people actually woke up from the silence.  In the distant valley he could hear children singing. Of course the reprieve lasted only a day and the Tet Offensive began shortly afterwards.

CLICK HERE to listen to this interesting interview with Mary Kay Mitchell.

 

 

   

John Dowd recalls his Service in Vietnamese Ranger Batalion

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Wednesday, 21 November 2012 12:47

John Dowd served north of the Mekong Delta near Saigon in III Corps in 1970. He worked on a four man team of Rangers, whose duty was to be a liaison between Vietnamese forces and American support. In this interview with Mary Kay Mitchell he recalled a surprise fire fight which ended tragically for two of his team and earned him a purple heart. CLICK HERE to listen.

After recovering from his injury he continued in the military joining the Green Berets with an interest in being part of the Special Forces.

Dowd returned to college after he decided against having a military career. Eventually earning his PhD and becoming a Geology professor at the University of Georgia, he said his military service taught him the self-discipline to pursue higher education. He commented, "I was a changed student after Vietnam."

   

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