I am an 83-year-old Vietnam veteran. I served three separate tours of duty in Vietnam. I joined the U.S. Air Force before my 16th birthday in 1954 to help my grandmother support the family. There were 2,709,918 Americans who served in Vietnam, and my extensive search of the internet show only a small group of Vietnam veterans who served multiple tours. They were retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jorge A. Otero Barreto, who served five tours, retired U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Mike DiRooco and myself.
While I was stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, I was assigned to an unfamiliar country called Vietnam. I arrived at Tan Son Nhut, Air Base, Saigon, Vietnam on April 27, 1964. I was transferred to an Army Ranger Special Forces Advisory compound, Military Assistance Command, Pleiku, Vietnam. I was assigned to the MACV compound with no combat training. I had to learn fast. My co-worker and the weatherman were the only Air Force personnel assigned to MACV Advisory compound. Vietnam history shows the battle of Pleiku in February 1965 as one of the famous battles in Vietnam, and I was in the middle of it. My compound was hit at 2 a.m. simultaneously with the attack on Camp Holloway, a helicopter base located 6 miles from my compound. President Johnson ordered immediate reprisals, as 49 U.S. Navy jets attacked North Vietnam for the first time in the aftermath of the battle of Pleiku. I departed Pleiku on April 19, 1965.
With the antiwar movements and all the racial unrest in the United States, I returned to Vietnam for a second tour of duty.
I arrived at Tan Son Nhut, Air Base, Saigon, Vietnam on July 4, 1966, for my second tour of duty. I was stationed at Tan Son Nhut until March 1967.
I returned to the United States from my second tour in Vietnam and noticed no changes. Antiwar demonstrations, migrations to Canada and racial unrest continued. I returned to Vietnam for a third tour of duty.
I arrived at Danang Air Base, Danang, Vietnam, on March 8, 1970, for my third tour of duty. I returned to the United States in March 1971.
I was a member of the U. S. Air Force for 24 years, four months and 29 days. I served in the U.S. and overseas at 20 different permanent duty stations, which was quite rare. I retired from the Air Force in accounting and finance.