HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — As Roger Dean Dickinson and his unit were about to land in Danang, Vietnam, the city was under attack.

After a rough landing and explosions in every direction, Dickinson ran to safety in a nearby bunker. Moments later, in almost total darkness, he met the man he calls his “angel.”

“It’s been 51 and a half years since I’ve left that place, and I still remember that conversation with that guy,” Dickinson said, “I never did see his face, but for me, he was an angel.”

Dickinson started a conversation with the unnamed man who was about to leave Vietnam.

“He says, ‘You’re just getting here, and I can tell you’re nervous by what you’re asking me, but what I want to tell you is, it don’t mean nothing,’ and I said, ‘What do you mean it don’t mean nothing?’, and he waited just a little bit, and he says, ‘You’re going to see so much; so much it will just — it will just turn your stomach. If you let yourself think about it, you will die here,'” Dickinson said.

Minutes later, Dickinson’s “angel” faded into the darkness of the bunker, never to be seen again.

“I thought about that so many times — was he real? You know, was I imagining things?” Dickinson said.

Dickinson would spend 11 months in Vietnam — holding onto the words from his “angel” through the darkest moments.

“I’m very fortunate to still be here — and I look up and say thanks a lot,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson never found out who his “angel” was.