WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Ed Kumorowski’s first two weeks in Vietnam included a specialized course in Vietnamese.

“You’d become acquainted with them well enough that you could kinda convey to them without an interpreter sometimes.”

It was crucial for the MACV, short for Military Assistance Command Vietnam, which he would soon find himself in.

“I had a weapons sergeant, light weapons sergeant, a medic, and an interpreter on my team.”

Ed Kumorowski

A team assigned to assist the South Vietnamese however they could.

“Weapon training and everything to try to install a capability of using some of the newer weapons and everything for them.”

The team was located in Tam Quan, a small district close to the South China Sea in North Vietnam.

“73rd Airborne was in our area and to the west the 4th Infantry Division.”

Kumorowski’s camp would constantly come under attack.

“Life in the building was such that at night if we came under attack, red lights went on, the regular lights were shut down,” he said. “When I first got there, a B a B-40 rocket had gone through the wall of the room next to mine.”

He said an explosion was heard in his first week.

“It killed five Vietnamese and wounded about 12 of them, and so that was my real indoctrination.”

To protect against future attacks, Ed and his unit stacked barrels around the compound containing Agent Orange traces.

“I thought I’d always escaped it, through, through the years, and then about 10 years ago, came down with cancer.”

When not at base, Kumorowski and his team would travel to surrounding units by Jeep or choppers, and at times, they would be sent out with the 173rd Airborne on combat operations.

“You could have what you think was a safe job and, and it would be totally different than what you thought,” he said. “We had several that were from our OCS class. We had, I think there were reports of two lieutenants coming off the plane and a mortar hit and killed them both.”

Kumorowksi says, as an advisor, it was a priority not to use his weapon in combat.

“Because you were to be busy showing them what to do if, if you’s on a combat mission, or if you had been ambushed or night-fighting, your job was to show ’em how to get supplies, what supplies they could get, medical treatment, training.”

Ed would serve in Vietnam for one year, eventually ending his tour in Qui Nhơn, helping the South Vietnamese to the bitter end.

“I can remember a couple being killed. North Vietnamese, or Viet Cong being killed. They had been down in tunnel underneath the embankment that you could walk over the rice paddy and the Vietnamese, the South Vietnamese had gone in, went into the water and used a grenade inside there pulling it, and then, they’d pull ’em out after they had been killed,” he said. “That was pretty much the, I think, the hardest thing.”