TJC Records War Veterans Accounts - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/3/03

TJC Records War Veterans Accounts

1600 war veterans die every day in the United States. TJC's "Seniors College", under the school of continuing education, sees it as an honor to join the national veterans project to help document East Texas' veterans. With WWII veteran Jack Jackson conducting the interview, Vietnam vet David Rasco was asked to tell his story.

"I arrived in Vietnam in December of 1968 just in time to catch the Bob Hope Show, which was kind of fun," said Rasco.

"When I ended up getting there, I ended up being the old man. I turned 21 over in the rice patties, but, uh, everyone else was anywhere from 17 to 20. Of my (officer training) graduating class, i was the 6th officer to be shipped to Vietnam, and the previous five had all been killed.

At times, for Rasco, it's a hard story to tell. While on patrol in the Vietcong one day, he took shrapnel to both legs, both shoulders, a wrist and the side of his face when a booby trap was triggered by a bomb sniffing dog.

"I heard the explosion and I thought, you know, some darn fool has hit a boobie trap. I opened my eyes and I was laying flat on my back. I never felt it. It was just that quick. And I was looking up into the trees. Then I started hurting. Somewhere after getting the dog handler out, and picking up the radio and calling for help, I went into shock. At least that's what the docs were saying. But... You still...operate. "Sometimes it kind of washes over you. So, you remember people that you lost."

David is one of 19 million war veterans in the United Sates, asked to record his story. A tough task, but one he feels is necessary to do. Jackson has done the same thing himself, and says, it's about time.

"I certainly relate to everything he said about military service," said Jackson. "and the people you serve with and the pride you feel for having done your job and hopefully having done it well. We've missed a lot of stories, but better late than never."

TJC is scrambling to get all the interviews done. Three East Texas veterans died before they could tell their stories.

Kevin Berns, reporting.

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