The Price of Exit: A True Story of Helicopter Pilots in Vietnam

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Dave had gone on a trip, flying Governor Mickelson and others to Ohio. We have survived his death, but we will never, ever forget him. What a joy they would be to him. Hansen, Pierre, SD Let us never forget our mistakes of the past and let us never blame our servicemen and women for the mistakes of a nation. I was in-country October until September While in Vietnam, my youngest daughter was born just three weeks after my arrival.

I saw her for the first time when she was nine months old. We went to basic training together.


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We landed in Vietnam together and served our tour together and came home together. He went home to Mitchell and I went home to Chamberlain. Its unusual for two men to serve their whole Vietnam experience together from the same area. Many of our parents had been veterans of WWII and their patriotism was reflected in the family values and carried over in our thinking. The idea that if our country called us to serve, it was prevalent and unquestioned—and we answered the call.

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I remember being a college student 18 years old, and reading in the newspaper that my high school neighbor and friend, Roger Jensen, had been killed in Vietnam. That is when I felt the call to duty, and volunteered for the draft, late in As the Vietnam War lingered on, and the media exposure, political skepticism, and rallies for peace impacted the soldiers and their thinking, it became difficult to remain focused on duty and mission. Yet, we were soldiers, young, and dedicated to serve. We saw a lot and learned a lot, and I for one feel good that I served my country, and sad that the outcome was what it was.

The Price of Exit

I am proud to have served, and remain a patriotic and proud American. Everyone, who has served, in Vietnam, or any other war, deserves the respect of all citizens, for putting their life on the line for freedom. Celebrate and appreciate your veterans, who gave what they had to give for your freedom and the United States of America. People like her are as responsible for lost lives as the enemy themselves. As Americans, when called to serve, we do so, and are proud of it. We all would prefer peace to war, but there is a price for peace, and it needs to be protected.

They really do need the recognition for their individual efforts and sacrifices. Tainan AB was a repair station for planes that were shot up over Vietnam. I refueled countless planes that were very badly bullet-riddled and needed to be repaired before they could be airworthy again and be returned to action. My platoon acted as engineers. We were told to construct a base for artillery support. We did not have axes or saws. We wrapped C4 around the trees and detonated them and scrounged for any material we could get our hands on but about an hour after we were finished we were eating C Rations and the Army artillery people were eating steaks.

Go figure!!! Once, we had one company of NVA firing on us and two more coming up the hill from each side while we were sitting on or near buried land mines.

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It was the Lord Jesus who spared my life that day. After viewing the Vietnam War Memorial website yesterday, I went home and felt inspired to write something, to let all of the veterans know how much I care.

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I hope you enjoy reading this. I never intentionally sat or laid down with the intent to sleep. But of course I would nod off, one of my worst non-combat feelings during my tour was when I woke up from a dream that I was back home in my own bedroom in the comfort of my parents' house. It was so incredibly real.

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Then I woke up staring at the beams in the roof of the bunker we were set up in. God, that was such a low desperate feeling that morning! We coordinated the airspace for nine countries for the mass movement of military aircraft as well as the Arc Light Missions and the Blackbird missions in SE Asia. There were over ships of all sizes in a very small area waiting to see what was going to happen. On the Dubuque, the ship I was on, the people coming out to the ship in their little sanpans thought we were sinking because we had the capabilities of blow ballast and lower the ship to take other boats into our backside.

I had pictures but they were taken away for confidential purposes. After spending nine months for a fractured left femur at Fitzsimmons, I was discharged from the Army on April 17, I retired from the teaching profession in and we have made our home in Broken Bow, NE, since When I got home in a medevac bus in California, we were egged at the base front gate. To you, John Q.

America and Jane Fonda—thank you for caring about my pain. I see you folks are doing well. Jane was put up for 'Woman of the Year'. I guess there must be payback in the next life. I know I sound angry but I did find happiness before my death though God and my children. Little Sr.


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Cartoons in that edition included Blondie, whose 75th anniversary was My memories include Bob Hope and Raquel Welsh both during Christmas ; juicy bugs in my salad at Cam Ranh Bay; Spooky cool gunship ; lots of youngsters using drugs—they just could not handle it; one of the first bevy of Huey Cobra Gunships totally awesome ; Agent Orange; the horrible smells in-country; eating a rat-meat sandwich in downtown Bien Hoa it tasted like a dried beef sandwich ; our buds from down under Australians were our best friends ; our company barber who tortured and killed our trusted Vietnamese helpers ; and, most of all, all those who looked to us to give South Vietnam their own freedom and identity.

In retrospect, I do forgive all those who spat upon me, and betrayed their country during a time of war. I do not feel I was blind to the issues, accepting my duties to my country, to my family, and to freedom. Those who repudiated their duties to their county will have to live with this, as will their progeny.

As will I have to live with those things I was asked to do for the United States.


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  8. Thank you for the gift of being born here. Thank you for reading this far. When regular troop replacements reported, I was told that I could leave. Without a passport, I was told that I could not go out through normal challenges. One night about 9pm I was called to company headquarters. I was told that there would be a plane at the dark end of the runway warming its engines at 11pm, and its door would be open. A friend took me to the area, I jumped the fence, boarded a C47 and we went out over Laos to Saigon where I caught an official military flight back to Korea to finish my tour there.

    Madsen, Gettysburg, SD I remember arriving in-country late at night. When we stopped in front of the terminal, all lights on the plane and the airport were turned off.

    We stepped from the plane and I will never forget the experience. It was unbelievably hot and humid. I was never so scared in my entire life. I lost way too many friends and comrades.

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    I was only one of them, and I made it back home. Friends were made very fast in Vietnam, and some of those friends are now gone. To find friends from Vietnam is often difficult, but recently I had the opportunity to meet the man who save my life and never knew it. His father, too, was a personal hero of mine.