Retired Marine's mission to welcome troops - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Retired Marine's mission to welcome troops

His combat experience has been over for decades, but an East Texas Marine is continuing to inspire those around him. In Longview everyone knows him as simply 'Gunny,' and he's as much a patriot and hero today as he was when he wore the uniform. Over the years we've seen him at hundreds of welcome home functions. 74 -year-old retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant Danny Whyte never misses a chance to thank the troops.

"I think that's the least I can do. These young veterans, these young men and young women they go over there, for Gods sakes. They spend one, two, three, four tours at a time over there, and when they come back, they should be welcomed back, my God. The price of freedom comes very high for this country today," Whyte says.

 He was a hard as nails drill instructor, two tours in Vietnam, he was wounded, won the Medal of Valor, Bronze Star and numerous meritorious medals for bravery, including an incident when he saved his entire unit single-handed. He says now his mission is to give today's troops the proper welcome, one that his generation never got.

"Well I think it's a damn shame, I really do, that those brave Vietnam vets never got the welcome home they deserved," he says.

He wants to see Vietnam veterans given a welcome home after all these years.

"When I was in the Corps, they were burning their draft cards, running to Canada, and saying 'hell know, I won't go,' but these brave Vietnam veterans, they went and served honorably," Gunny says.

He's been called loud, abrasive and cantankerous. But he says what he means, and loves to welcome the troops.

"When I look at them, I see myself. Nobody likes to fight, but somebody's got to know how to do it ok. The important thing is when they come back, we should take care of them all right," Whyte says.

Gunny Whyte's legacy is ongoing; his grandson is serving in the Marines. He hopes one day there will be a welcome home ceremony for Vietnam veterans.

Copyright 2012 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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