I was over there from 1970 to 1971. It wasn’t that bad, but wasn’t a picnic either. It was better than boot camp. Looking back on it, I think I was too young to be over there fighting. I really didn’t have a lot of sense. I was lucky to make it out alive. I can truly say God was watching out for me. I had so many close calls—bullets flying near me; a guy stepped on a land mine right in front of me; and I could have died from hook worms, twice.
About four months into my tour I applied for a transfer into a village. I wanted to get to know the Vietnamese people better and help protect them from the constant raids of the VC. Thinking back on it, I think I just wanted more action. I was like that—stupid! Well about a week or so after I got transferred, the hill I was transferred from got overrun, and I think some of those I knew died. I’m not sure which ones. Wow, that was definitely God watching out for me. I couldn’t help have the feeling that God was protecting me, keeping me alive for some reason—though I had no idea what that would be. Maybe just to be a Christian light in a dark world—ha ha.
Ya, I was a gung hoe marine, but I remember a real scary night. The nights over there were pitch black, even in the village where I was. Anyway, one night, setting up on my watch in the village, I thought I saw someone moving out in the rice patties. But it was so dark I couldn’t get a clear fix on him. Then later that evening I heard something near one of the hutches. But yet I didn’t see anything. I had to do something. Couldn’t just sit and wait. So I took my 45 off safety, and in the ready position moved slowly around the hutch. I went all the way around it—and nothing. Yet I still heard something. Was he doing the same thing, following me? I went the other way, ready to shoot the first thing I saw. Nothing.
That morning I discovered there was a friendly Vietnamese soldier home on leave in the hutch—moving around. To think if I had seen him that night I may have shot him. What a crazy war that was.
Memorial Day is to remember those who died. But today I want to remember someone else. I want to remember God who kept me alive and who has kept countless others alive for His own special purpose. And for those who died, they died for a purpose too. Today I want to give God glory for working out that purpose.