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Going Home


Back to the ‘World’

Although 26 March 1971 officially marked the end of duties in Vietnam for the 1st Cavalry Division, President Nixon’s program of “Vietnamization” required the continued presence of a strong U.S. fighting force.

My DEROS (Date of Expected Return from Overseas) was near so the first part of April, I transferred to Firebase Di An about 12 miles north of Saigon where I waited for my official orders to depart from Vietnam.

My final days in Vietnam were either uneventful or perhaps my mind shut down wanting to forget it all. I do not recall boarding the ‘Freedom Bird’ or where we flew out of, but I did take these pictures.

‘Freedom Bird’ leaving Vietnam taking us back to Oakland Army Base where the journey began.

I remember arriving at Oakland Army Base around midnight to process out of the Army. I thought back thirteen months earlier when I was processing for my entry to Vietnam. The men coming back looked burned out and lacked emotion. That night I understood why because that’s how I felt.

Although I physically left Vietnam, the experience of combat had a profound and life long effect on my frame of mind.

After receiving my last payment from ‘Uncle Sam’ (about seven-hundred bucks) I signed a bunch of papers, releasing me from active duty in the United States Army.

In the wee hours of the morning, a bus took us to a nearby airport where I caught a flight to Los Angeles International Airport. There I boarded a non stop flight to Eppley Airfield in Omaha, where I would be greeted by my family. I recall the strange looks I got from people as I walked through the airport terminal at LAX carrying my war trophy.

My eyes closed as soon as I boarded my last flight and didn’t open until our approach into Eppley. I looked out the window and saw the Missouri River.

I was home at last…

Eppley Airfield Omaha, Nebraska where my parents, two of my brothers and girlfriend (now wife) waited for my arrival…

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Report from Vietnam


Foreign Correspondent John Hlavacek

As I walked out of my hooch one afternoon to perform my daily mail clerk duties, I ran into a man whose face I had seen many times on TV back in the ‘World’. It was John Hlavacek a reporter/foreign correspondent for KMTV-TV in Omaha, Nebraska, and he was looking for me of all people.

His mission was to film and interview soldiers serving in Vietnam from the TV viewing area around Sioux City, IA and Omaha, NE. He was putting together a program to be viewed as a TV Special during the 1970 Christmas Holidays. The families of the soldiers were notified by the TV stations ahead of time so they could watch their loved ones when the program aired.

He wasted no time doing the interview after I told him Charlie Troop 1/9th was a prime target for frequent mortar attacks. He asked a few questions, did his filming and quickly moved on but not before I got his autograph…

A letter and videotape was sent to my parents by KCAU-TV in Sioux City, Iowa.

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Apocalypse Now


In 1979 the Movie “Apocalypse Now” was released, featuring 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division.

In the summer of 1979 while grocery shopping in my home town of Carroll, Iowa this Life magazine caught my eye. I bought it and hurried home, so I could read about the movie “Apocalypse Now” which was to be released August 15th of that year.

I made a two hour trip to Omaha when it started showing in some of the larger Midwest movie theaters. Watching it stirred up vivid memories of my thirteen months in Vietnam with Charlie Troop 1/9th

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