James Hummel, Vietnam veteran
Lebanon, Penna., USA
I entered the Marine Corps in Aug. 63, wanted to be part of the best if I was going to serve in the military.
Was assigned to Amtracs with the mos of 1183, it was and still is the unit that gives the Marine Corps the ability to be Amphibian.
Went on a Med Cruise in 64 got back state side in time to be sent to the Dominican Republic in 65 for a short visit, then back to Camp Lejeune to be volintered for duty in Viet Nam along with most of the other guys in our Plt. since we were all experenced in our jobs.
Sailed out of SanDiago Cal onboard the Billy Mitchel, on an old troop ship in Aug. 65, we were packed in like sardines. The ship didn't sail on time due to alot of the Marines not going to guarters, we were on deck singing folk music along with folks on the pier.
My time incountry was spent mostly in the bush, transporting Grunts, supplies, and extracting wounded, giving forward positions security.
Our tracs weren't always loved cause we drew fire being the largest thing in the rice patties. And when we struck mines it was bad news we were fueld with 480 gals of gas under the deck, lots of life lost before we started loading the troops on top instead of inside.
Operating in the rivers was some what safer, but it left you open to RPGs and mortars. and in monsoon season the rivers became hard to navigate.
I'm proud to have served in the Marines, and Amtracs, Nam is still something I have mixed emotions about most seem negative to me, the lost life on both sides, the maimed,the scared both body and mind. The division of our country over our policy which continues today sadly, the lack of concern for the Vets and the list goes on.
Nam had taught me to value friends, true friends, made under trying conditions.
Keep the PEACE