Skip to main content

Author's Name: Joe McCarthy

Title: "12/17/69"

I landed in Vietnam on December 7th, 1969; Pearl Harbor Day - how ironic!. After in-processing and spending a week in the 1st Infantry Division jungle school (teaching us how not to get killed), I got picked for guard duty on December 16th, the night before we were to ship out to our unit. 

I spent the night pulling several 2 hour shifts in a bunker on the perimeter of the base camp.

The next morning, as we all stood around waiting for our orders and departure information, the Sergeant called my name "McCarthy".  I responded "here'.  He then asked me "Is today your birthday".  I replied that it was.  He said that if I would have mentioned it the night before I could have gotten out of guard duty.  

That would have been nice to know, because as midnight approached and my birthday arrived, I thought to myself "I'm spending my 19th birthday sitting behind a machine gun in Vietnam".