“My enlistment date was October 14, 1964.

In the first months of deployment, it was rough to say the least.
One day you are sitting there with a squad member, and the next
you were loading his body onto a chopper with his face blown
off. You become hardened, and even to this day I feel the same
way about death. When Dad died, it was like, “okay he’s gone.”
It was like he went to Florida and I haven’t heard from him since
December 1993. Yet when we had to put one of our pooches
down, I cried like a baby.

I know it comes from so much death and destruction. Killing
became easy. They were no more than targets. I was sure that we
were no more than targets to them too. That was my thinking at
the time. I had no respect for the enemies because I just wanted
to kill as many as I could and get out alive. I would take trophies
from their bodies and pass them out. Yes, that person is still in
me, but has been under control for the last 48 years. I think the
only thing that would flip the switch on is anyone hurting my
grandchildren or my wife, and I’ll leave it at that.

The people I served with can’t be measured in friendship. I
really have no friends. I have acquaintances, and then I have my
brothers. I have buddies that I like hearing from now and then,
but that’s as far as that goes. For instance, one of our brothers
passed away several years ago. My company commander asked if
I would have his back during his eulogy, and without hesitation
my wife and I were on our way to DC for one of ours. I didn’t know him, but he was one of the company commander’s top
squad leaders. It’s simply mutual respect, and most of A/2/502
1966 has it.

Growing up you have friends, but there is nothing
to compare to the person you were in battle with.”

~ John Sutor, Vietnam Veteran

John’s full story appears in the book Vietnam And Beyond, Veteran Reflections, available on Amazon.com

Veteran stories are interviewed and collected by www.JennyLasala.com