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VIETNAM: MY EXPERIENCE

Lonny B. Lester - Air Force

NVA/Viet Cong attack of more than 300 enemy soldiers on our eastern perimeter at Bien Hoa Air Base in February 1969. Three mass bomb dump explosions due to attacks, in my 13 months. As a Crash Recue Firefighter, we had to go in and recue those trapped in the dump and fight the fires amid the explosions.

I found out through PTSD group therapy, not everybody experienced the same things in different places, such as operational procedure. Some soldiers operated in a parameter that others couldn't. My job as a crash rescue firefighter and specialist, in association with our Para Rescue Group, involved a wide job description with many hat's to wear. 24/7 Flight line Ramp Patrol, Line Standby for inbound , in trouble aircraft , due to battle damage or mechanical failure, many still loaded with highly volatile munitions.

24/7 Interior flight line security, within the perimeter, everybody was trained for this. Some think that the Air force was not trained for combat, but they are wrong. My DI's at Amarillo AFB were cross over Marine and Army, put there just for that each already had one or two, tours in Vietnam under their belt. They put us through it!

I tell some what they did to us and they say they can't do that. Oh yes they did. Eight weeks of intensive training which involved constant harassment , sleep deprivation, running everywhere. They mad you think that you weren't going to make it out of there. I like to think that what they did kept a lot of us alive. It made you react with precision without thinking, in a heartbeat.



 


 



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