Vietnam Platoon Leader Thinks of Long Lost Buddies, Soldiers in Action Today

"Where life has been right there to lose, and they've come through it -- then there's an appreciation."

Ed Marty was a first lieutenant commanding forty men in the thick of the Vietnam War.

"We were patrolling in jungles and rice patties, and mountainous terrain. Then, we moved into a very flat area that was difficult to navigate," he recalls.

"The soldiers believed that I knew where we were."

In a foreign land, he knew it was full of danger. Every step could be his last. One nearly was.

"I crossed a rice patty dike at a 45 degree angle right where the mine was. I didn't hear anything. They say you never hear the one that gets you. If you hear it, you ain't been gotten."

His legs were broken, shrapnel is still in his ankle, and he was blinded in his left eye. Yet through that, he sees life after the war much more clearly.

"You understand family, you understand life."  He says those in this war will understand too.

"There are a number of things that were important to them even before this fight. Now that they've been in combat, there are things that just don't matter anymore."

It took more than two decades before he got his Purple Heart. It just didn't matter too much at the time. His friends from the platoon mattered more. Some died, others lived. He's heard from none.

"Most vietnam veterans don't do a whole lot of communicating with each other. They went home, and wanted to forget about it."

But he now hopes to some day find those friends -- from the time of life he says makes boys, men.

Reported by Morgan Palmer