Freedom Fighters: David Wall -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Freedom Fighters: David Wall

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After living through shell and rocket attacks in Vietnam, David Wall experienced a different kind of attack when he returned home.

He says in some ways that attack was even more painful.

"The Air Force was a decision that I made and that's what I wanted to do," says Major David Wall, retired U.S. Air Force.

Wall joined the Air Force in August of 1965. By 1967 he was on his way to Vietnam in the midst of the Tet Offensive.

Wall's first assignment was a radar installation on "Monkey Mountain", where the job was taking care of aircraft from flight following, to refueling, and even the rescue of downed pilots.

Wall says "Monkey Mountain" was relatively safe compared to his next assignment at Dong How.

"There was fighting going on all around us.  Our biggest problem, danger, was since we were 6 miles below the DMZ the North Vietnamese were able to bring in rockets. I think they were 20 millimeter rockets and artillery pieces, and they would shell us with them."

He says sometimes the shells would come in as often as seven times a day, always without warning, "There were a couple of times I was out in the open and the barrages are coming in and I'm laying three thinking the next round is going to take me out and I would feel as though that's the way it's going to be.  You find you just don't fear death as much as you do the pain."

There was plenty of pain and death around Wall, with a triage station next to the radar facility.

"You find out you don't fear dying as much as you do the pain, the wounds we saw at the triage next door.  I mean unbelievable damage that was done to the human body, up to a Marine in a pillowcase because that was all that was left of him after an artillery shell hit him."

Wall says when he returned home he found a war of a different kind, "We were murderers looters, baby killers, rapists."

Since he remained in the Air Force, Wall feels he avoided much of the public abuse other veterans experienced. And yet, it was a hurtful time for those who had fought in Vietnam.

"You'd go to a movie, you had a flag in your car, you'd come out and your windshield would have been smashed. You did not go off base in uniform, you were inviting people to spit on you," Wall says.

Wall is grateful for the change he's seen in public opinion.

"We're so grateful to see that the country has come to realize it's not the military, it's the politicians directing the military so we no longer get the blame we used to get."

Wall retired as a Major in 1986, after 21 years in the Air Force, "I literally tear up and sometimes cry when I see the support that's given to the military now and it makes me so proud to have made a career in the military."

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