MOUNT VERNON, TX (KLTV) - Bob Kerr joined the Marine Corps in 1966 and by 1967 was on his way to Vietnam.
"The day I arrived the rockets started coming in."
The rockets were aimed at the U.S. ammunition dump, where Kerr was assigned. It was the most dangerous place to be since all the ammunition, including 500-pound bombs, were stored there.
Only two weeks after his arrival in Vietnam, Kerr was wounded during one of the attacks.
"I spent 12 hours wounded in a rice paddy right off the bat."
200 tons of ammunition went up during that 12 hour period.
"I ran to a field hospital and spent a very short time in the hospital ship repo and back to duty."
It was a policy of the Marine Corps to transfer Marines who had been wounded to secure places. However, it turned out that at that time in Vietnam with the start of the TET offensive, there were no secure places.
"It was a surprise attack that nobody expected so it was a horrendous battle. We lost hundreds during the battle."
Once again Kerr was wounded.
"I was patched up in a field hospital and returned to duty."
The physical wounds Kerr received in Vietnam healed. But it was a different story for his mental and emotional wounds.
I have very few memories from my discharge from teh Marine Corps until 1972. I was pretty much a basket case. I turned, as many of us did, to drugs and alcohol."
Even though Kerr recovered from his addictions, his nightmares continued. Kerr says it has been through other veterans that he has found the most satisfaction.
"I'm a proud member of the Patriot Guard and Christian Motorcycle Association."
Kerr is also the organizer and host of the annual Veterans Appreciation Program. This year the program will be Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church Family Life Center in Mt. Vernon.
It's quite an occasion with food, music and best of all, every veteran appreciated for his service.