WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A retired Army Master Sergeant, who now calls Wichita home, signed up to serve because he wanted to do his part.
Retired MSGT. Jim Dinsmore said it was easy for him to get in uniform and do the job, he says it was most difficult for his wife and children, since he was gone so much.
Disnmore went to Vietnam three times.
“You haven’t lived until you’ve run into an ambush and you’ve got ten to twelve guys coming, speaking Vietnamese,” Vietnam Veteran Jim Disnmore said.
Dinsmore has lived, as he went to Vietnam three times.
He volunteered for his first deployment, as part of the 27th Infantry Regiment, better known as the Wolfhounds.
Dinsmore was a helicopter machine gunner.
“We flew supplies, and things like that to these out camps, for the special forces, we carried Vietnamese troops into battle and out of battle, subject to enemy fire going in and coming out,” Dinsmore said.
In just 90 days, he would go on to receive five air medals and a Bronze Star.
“It was really surprising when the General came down and handed them to us,” Dinsmore said.
His time in the jungle of Vietnam was far from over, Dinsmore would deploy once again, this time as a squad leader.
“We went into this area, we had to set up a base camp, and we cleared the area around us, mines, booby traps, and VC,” Dinsmore said.
He said in their battle they lost 5 noncommissioned officers and about 20 enlisted men.
“It was hard because you know the people,” Dinsmore said.
He also saw so many others who were wounded.
“When a person gets wounded, they go back to the rear and you never hear anything from them, and I always wonder, sometimes I wake up at night and think, well, I wonder what happened to this guy,” Dinsmore said.
After many gruesome battles…
“The hair on your head stands up, it was quite a challenge,” Dinsmore said.
Out of his entire platoon….
“Only two of us came back without any wounds or scratches or anything,” Dinsmore said.
Dinsmore said the journey to get home was not easy.
“You had to take your replacement with you on one operation, before you could rotate back,” Dinsmore said. “I went through three people before I could come back.”
When he went to Vietnam a third time, the assignment had changed, but the hostility had not.
“You would go into an area, and all of a sudden you would hits mines or booby traps, and then someone would lay down fire, by the time you counter attacked, there’s nobody there, they’re gone,” Dinsmore said.
He says that’s because there were tunnels everywhere.
“Some of them were two or three layers into the ground, all hospitals and stuff like that were underground,” Dinsmore said.
He would again survive warfare and remembers what it was like the closer he got to seeing his family once again.
“That’s when you really start thinking, man I don’t want to step on a mine, I don’t want to get shot, I don’t want to do this, but you still do it, because you gotta do it,” Dinsmore said.
Wearing the Army uniform with pride is something Dinsmore did for more than two decades.
He was also recognized after Vietnam, in his role as an Army recruiter.
Dinsmore said he always helped soldiers find jobs in the military they could use to make a living, later in life.