I joined the U.S. Marine Corps in June 1968 with two other guys I ran track with just five days after high school graduation in Wisconsin.

We all graduated Boot Camp one day before my eighteenth birthday and from there went on to Camp Pendleton, California. I trained in weapons. I arrived in Nam (Da Nang) on December 10, 1968 and was assigned to the 1st Marine Div., 1st MP Battalion. The first picture shows me as a young Marine. I’m on my way to Vietnam.

I was wounded while fighting in the TET Offensive February 1969 and two days later I was Medivaced to the 95th Army Evac hospital for treatment. I went on to service a second tour and was assigned to the 3rd Military Police Bn, (Happy Valley) Home of the Viet Cong (VC). My uncle Fran arrived and we were in the same Battalion. It was Uncle Fran’s third tour in Vietnam.

During TET 69 the Viet Cong attacked our location at the Cam Le’ bridge just before mid-night. I was scanning the rice paddies south of our location using the “Starlight scope” (night vision device) and saw two separate squads of Viet Cong out there. After calling HQ to verify movement, and firing flares, there was no response. Then they opened up on us with Rocket-propelled grenades, the first one hit inside my bunker. The second one hit our Platoon/SGT on top my bunker while he was firing the .50 cal machine gun. The fighting lasted all night. There was a company size unit of Viet Cong waiting to come across the bridge, go into the Da Nang air base and blow it up. They never got past us. Air strikes were called in and for an eighteen years old, it was some excitement. The RPG came through the front bunker window at head-level and just six inches to my left and hit the back wall. My eardrums were broken. I couldn’t hear a thing and minor pieces of gunmetal were in my face, neck and chest. I thank the Lord for being here.

My twin sister Paulette joined the US Army while I was in Vietnam in the medical field and my older brother joined the Marines after I was wounded. Our father was a Marine during WWII and served with Col John Glenn in a Fighter squadron in the Pacific. After Vietnam, I went home and subsequently joined the US Army, Military Police Corps and worked my first five years as a Patrolman/Supervisor. The next seven years I was assigned to CID on the Drug Suppression Team working on drug cases. In August 1984 I was accepted as a CID Special Agent after completing the school. I worked as a Special Agent until I retired in October 1992.

The photo with me in a suit shows my receiving an award in the Berlin Drug Team where we arrested two Turkish nationals and seized 34.12 kilos of Hashish and their cash box. I later served on Protective service detail for Dick Cheney and General Colin Powell, and Under Secretary of Defense William Howard Taft IV, in San Jose, Costa Rica and Rome, Italy.

As a retired Police Officer, I am a member of the International Blue Knights Law Enforcement motorcycle Club, Alabama VII. Today I am totally retired and ride motorcycles with the Patriot Guard Riders, Funerals of Veterans and escort Wounded Warriors coming home and numerous other Military activities.

I am proud to be a Veteran and I would go again.

Semper Fi

~ Paul Maack, USMC, Vietnam Veteran

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