TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Even though 1969 was a time when many young men were trying to avoid the draft, Allen Brown was trying to get in.
"I was 19 when I decided I wanted to get into the military," says Brown. "I wanted to serve my country in the military and I was not opposed to the Vietnam War although eventually, I decided it was a lost cause because of the politicians."
The hang up with the draft boards Brown approached, seemed based on the fact that he was born in Panama of a Panamanian mother and American father, who worked in the canal zone.
Finally, because his American father's citizenship entitled him to citizenship too, Brown was inducted into the U.S. Army and in October of 1971 was sent to Vietnam.
"I served in Vietnam as an infantryman with the First Calvary Division," says Brown.
Brown spent the first half of his tour in Camron Bay and then it was off for the bush.
"When I was out in the field it was more search and avoid than search and destroy," recalls Brown.
It was a time of off and on peace talks and off and on fighting.
"When we could go into areas and blow up bunkers up and stuff, we would find evidence that they had just been there. It just seems like, almost like they would get word we were coming and they would go away," says Brown. "It wasn't so much a hot pursuit, everyone knew we were leaving and didn't want to be the last one to die."
Although not in a great number as before, American soldiers were still dying.
After Brown's tour in Vietnam was over, he returned to the states, where he had no patience for the anti-war demonstrations and its demonstrators.
"They were sleeping in a warm bed at night, they were eating three hot meals a day and as one infantryman pointed out, they all have their girlfriends and they probably have our girlfriends too,' recalls Brown.
Toward the end of his time in the army, Brown was sent to Panama where he had been born and after completing his active duty, he remained in the Army Reserves.
"I was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Army Reserve and I remained in the Reserve for another three decades, retiring in August 2001 as a major," says Brown.
Allen Brown says the maturity he gained during his time in the service, was a determining factor for his success later in life.
"I wouldn't trade it for anything," says Brown.