WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — As a young airman, Steve Seymour volunteered for Vietnam. His orders were for An Khe, a strategically important town in Central Vietnam.
But after initially landing in Danang, Seymour’s plans were quickly about to change.
“Danang was nicknamed ‘Rocket City,’ and for good reason, so when I got [into the] country, they told me, ‘That’s gonna be your home for the next year.’ I said, ‘No, no, no, no, my orders say An Khe. I’m, I’m not staying here,’ and he said, ‘Airman, we don’t have An Khe anymore,'” Seymour said.
Seymour had arrived in Danang one week after the fall of An Khe.
“So, timing’s everything, and the Good Lord was looking out for me,” Seymour said.
In Danang, Seymour, an Air Force Air Freight Specialist, was responsible for loading and unloading aircraft heading to and from South Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
“We sent a lot of supplies and munitions and vehicles. I mean, we had jeeps and trucks and forklifts and everything,” Seymour said.
Seymour split his time between the flight lines and the munitions storage area, more commonly known as the “bomb dump,” working 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
“I had my choice when I got [into the] country to work either six at night to six in the morning or six in the morning to six at night, and since we were getting hit at night, I chose to be awake during that time instead of sleeping,” Seymour said.
On many occasions, Seymour’s base was under constant fire.
“Sometimes we’d go days with, with rocket attack at least once a day … the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) was pretty exact in the placement of their rockets — they could walk rockets down our, our flight line down our landing strip, just one right after another,” Seymour said.
Seymour would serve in Danang for one year. Despite his heroic efforts, he credits those who never came home as the real heroes.
“Butler County lost 17 in Vietnam, and for a community of this size, that’s, that’s a pretty good number. I lost three classmates from EDHS (El Dorado High School) class of 1968 and a couple of friends from the class ahead, and, I just, you know, I wanna thank all those that didn’t make it back,” Seymour said.
Seymour would serve in the Air Force until 1973. He went on to become a welder, a freelance photographer, and a property manager.
If you would like to nominate a veteran for our Veteran Salute, email KSN reporter Hannah Adamson at firstname.lastname@example.org.