Veteran Salute: Back-to-back on a hill, waiting on the rescue chopper

Veteran Salute

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – One Vietnam veteran says the people he served with stand out the most in his mind when he thinks back to his time in the jungle.

Bill Dusenbery says the guys who didn’t make it home deserve the recognition more than soldiers like himself, but he barely made it off a hill, in Vietnam.

“This is just a small museum to my family,” Vietnam Veteran Bill Dusenbery said.

Dusenbery was already on two wheels. at the age of just six.

“I ran over everything in the backyard,” Dusenbery said.

He said his father, a well-accomplished flat track racer instilled his love for racing.

“It’s exhilarating, to say the least,” Dusenbery said.

That’s why Dusenbery knew exactly what he wanted to do in life.

“When you run a bike in at 80 miles an hour and throw it sideways, and know that you are going to make it through the corner,” Dusebery said.

His career plans were thrown off track after he received a draft notice.

“All you have is the anxiety of keeping yourself alive,” Dusebery said.

Dusenbery was assigned to the 4th Infantry, with a very close friend.

They became part of a special team of soldiers called LRRP’s, or Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols.

“Way out in enemy territory, to check bomb sites, to catch body count, to spy on enemy positions,” Dusenbery said.

He worked on a three-man team and says since there were so few of them, they were very mobile.

“We could hit something and get out of there, before they knew, literally what hit them,” Dusenbery said.

He said they had to take extreme precautions to ensure they went undetected.

“Make sure that there’s no American smell because those guys can smell,” Dusenbery said.

He said their very first reconnaissance mission didn’t go as planned.

A platoon of North Vietnamese Army was surrounding them, so Dusenbery said they kept climbing higher and higher.

“We were literally sitting back to back, on top of a hill, calling for our ships to come and get us,” Dusenbery said.

He said their fearless commander told them to adjust their fire.

“Put them on semi guys, we don’t want to run out of ammunition,” Dusenbery said.

He said the fifteen minutes that went by, seemed like an eternity.

“Hope the choppers get to us before they do,” Dusenbery said.

He said the chopper wasn’t able to land, because of all the thick bamboo.

“It hovered some ten feet in the air, we jumped up, grabbed the rungs and swung up into the helicopter,” Dusenbery said.

He said another chopper, trying to get to them, was shot down.

“The guy who was running our chopper, went around and landed on the chops of that down chopper, and then we went down and got the crew,” Dusenbery said.

He said everyone survived.

“The guy who was running our chopper was a hero,” Dusenbery said.

He said so was the Sergeant who led them.

“The man really responsible for getting two 19-year-olds out of there,” Dusenbery said.

The men were awarded for their bravery that day.

“This shows me someone did appreciate what I did,” Dusenbery said.

The Army Commendation Medal was pinned on his chest by a General in Vietnam before he returned to his true love, the track.

“It was an awesome time, awesome, beat the heck out of the jungles of Vietnam,” Dusenbery said.

He said although it was a brutal war, it is an experience he will never forget

Dusenbery said seeing how the rest of the world lived, helped him better appreciate what he had in life.


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