Veteran Salute: Service in Vietnam and beyond

Veteran Salute

EUREKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Vietnam veteran Don Scott was born and raised in Eureka, but he was drafted out of Oklahoma in 1969.

He said he learned far more than how to jump out of a helicopter in training. In no time, Scott was sitting on a bunker guard armed with an M-16.

“It makes a man out of you,’ Scott said. “You grow up real quick, over there in a warzone.”

He said they all had trenching tools, which came in handy, every evening.

“We dug a foxhole before it got dark every evening.”

He said they also traded off guard duty all night long since the enemy was everywhere.

“You couldn’t see who was shooting at you or where it was coming from.”

He said the Vietcong had weapons and food stored all over the jungle.

“We went up and down the mountain trails looking for the Vietcong.”

He remembers the battle for Hill 882 well.

“It took us three weeks of fighting every day, down these mountain trails to get the Vietcong out of the area.”

He was awarded a Purple Heart for that brutal battle.

“My mother put this together years ago,” Scott said.

Scott talked about the shadow box his mother made him that displays his Bronze and Silver Star medals.

“That’s typically what we had on our back, in the jungle in our rucksack.”

Once the supply drops were made, Scott’s rucksack was so heavy.

“I had to sit down, put my arms in my rucksack, roll over on my hands and knees and stand up.”

He said monsoon season was really something to deal with.

“Heavy rain downpour all the time.”

One time, his boots sunk in the mud.

“You slept in the mud, walked in the mud, you eat in the mud.”

Vietnam was nothing like the home the troops knew.

“Nobody appreciates what these people who are going to war are doing for their freedoms,” Scott said.

He said they did occasionally enjoy the comforts of home like a beer from a tub.

He said he is thankful he made lifelong friends while serving.

“I’ve got several that I keep in contact with and have ever since we come home from Vietnam,” Scott said.

Scott continues to honor the sacrifice of those who never made it home and those who proudly served.

“I wear my full uniform on Veterans Day every year.”

As the long-time commander of Post 2712, he’s also proud to be part of ceremonies to honor the fallen, veterans’ funerals, parades and other events.

“There’s quite a few patriotic people here.”

He is proud he served Greenwood County and encourages others to look into a stent in the military.

“That’s something that should be maybe in everyone’s agenda.”

Scott raved about his experience on the Kansas Honor Flight. He said there is no way to express the appreciation he and the others have for organizers that helped them take that trip of a lifetime.

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