Freedom Fighters: John Meyers - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters: John Meyers


John Meyers fought the Vietcong with concrete instead of bullets, something he hadn't imagined when he joined the Air Force in 1963 and became a combat civil engineer.

"I just didn't realize how civil it got when we got to begin actually working in the field because they meant a shovel could be civil engineering," Meyers recalled.

Meyers arrived in Vietnam in January of 1966, in full winter combat gear.

"We had a parka and everything else and that's where we  practiced for two months and ended up in Camron Bay initially and it was about 115 T0 118 degrees," he said.

Meyers found that the extreme heat would be more of an enemy to his Red Horse Civil Engineering Group than the frequent attacks of the Vietcong. The concrete that his crews were pouring at the Phan Rang air base dried as soon as it was poured. The only solution was to work at night and try to sleep in the daytime, in tents, in the 118 degree heat.

"We started working from eleven at night until about seven in the morning," he said.

On the battlegrounds of Vietnam, John Meyers and his Red Horse unit were making history as the first air force civil engineering group. 

"Red Horse is still in operation today," he said. "Over the years we've done a tremendous job."

Meyers was to put his engineering skills to work again in Afghanistan in 2010. This time it was the Taliban shooting at him, and missing their mark. As a volunteer member of the first unit of Red Horse, John Meyers helped make history.

"There were a lot of people that were opposed to the war, but we felt it was better to fight a war over there than over here."

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