Advertise With Us

Abilene Tet Reunion 2013

Abilene Tet Reunion 2013

Anybody over 10 at the end of January 1968 remembers the Tet Offensive in which the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong gave their first really good try at kicking the US out of Vietnam. It was one of the triggers that inspired my enlistment in the Army. The first “hero Medal” I saw given out was to a specialist fourth class truck driver in my company. The Silver Star citation made it clear that on the opening day of the Tet offensive, he stopped 5 machine gun teams, more than 10 sapper teams, and killed at least 30 attacking VC. Later I asked him for more details as he was only about 5’6 and nearly 140 pounds and a truck driver. “My duty was to drive a garbage truck to the dump outside base before dawn and again that evening. I had just entered the base again from my before dawn run when the attack started and was going to just turn and drive off because all the weapons were locked in containers a mile up a hill. Just as I turned, I saw a machine gun team open on the wing of the hospital where my friend was. So I drove the 5 ton garbage truck over them. {{more}} Another team started shooting at me, so I drove over them. I just kept doing that until the truck was so badly shot up that it wouldn’t move. Then I got in the metal back and stayed until the attack was over – about 30 minutes.” His actions gave the rest of the post time to get to weapons and fight back. He happened to be black. He never said what color or race his friend was. We remember the good times and the sad. Photo by Joe StarkeyThe Abilene Tet Reunion is over 20 years old. The people coming share good memories of times, like USO shows and friends that sometimes were for the length of your tour and sometimes for life. Like our counterparts from Korea and WWII, every year finds more missing faces of those that “did a tour” in Vietnam and returned home. Unfortunately we came home to a bitter and unfriendly reception from the American public and that destroyed many of those who survived the “war”. If you see a Vietnam veteran and “thank him for his service” – it may trigger memories of bad times in airports and hometowns and may not result in an immediate friendly response but keep helping us forget old memories while you create new ones of an America that is honoring its veterans.