Longview Vietnam Vet: "My Friends Gave The Ultimate Sacrifice" - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/24/07-Longview

Longview Vietnam Vet: "My Friends Gave The Ultimate Sacrifice"

With memorial day approaching, one East Texas Vietnam veteran is asking people to remember those sacrifices, and respect those still protecting our country.

"These guys are just everyday people just like anyone else. They didn't ask to go over there. They're just everyday people that we went to school with just like the guy sitting next to you," said 62-year-old U.S. Marine Vietnam veteran Benny Black of Longview.

His service ended nearly 40 years ago, but the memories of the friends black lost in combat remain clear in his mind.

 "You went, and you did the job that you had to do, and did the best you could to get back alive along with your buddies," he said. He re-enlisted in the Marines to fight in Vietnam as a helicopter gunner, seeing first-hand the horrors of war.

"A lot of my friends gave the ultimate sacrifice, some of them didn't come home. These are guys I fought with, drank with, played with and then all of the sudden, their not there anymore," said Black. His toughest memory, evacuating the wounded, under fire.

"I think the medivacs were the worst. You've got a corpsman in the belly of the plane; and I'm trying to hammer them to get to keep them off of him, while he's trying to load the wounded. These guys are begging him not to let them die," Benny said.

With the war in Iraq still raging, Benny's message this memorial day is simple.

"These kids over there, they're putting their life on the line every minute of the day and doing it in hostile territory. Over here, people act like there's nothing going on; it's somewhere else, it's not here. But it's a part of us and we need to remember that. The only reason the United States is still here is because someone, some young kid was willing to stand up and say I'll go," said the former Marine.

Bob Hallmark, reporting, bhallmark@kltv.com

 

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