I WAS DROPPED OFF BY HELICOPTER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE JUNGLE
I served overseas with 137th Ordnance co in Okinawa and CO A 1/327th Infantry 101st Airborne in Vietnam.
This is the only picture I have of me in Vietnam. I am on left and my twin brother William is on right. We were 18-year-old twin brothers from the Gerritsen Beach section of Brooklyn, New York. William and I enlisted and served in Vietnam. We were both with the 101st and in the same unit when we first got there. I was a grunt and he worked the rear. But he was eventually transferred to another division. My service spanned from November 5, 1969 to March 14, 1972.
My father is an Army veteran who served at the end of WW2. Two of his brothers served in the US Army Air Corps in that same war. They did not really talk about their service.
My MOS was 11B10, which is infantry. I remember when I got sent to the bush I was dropped off by helicopter in the middle of the jungle. I had no idea where I was. It was raining and the first night I slept on the ground with a poncho covering me. I had volunteered to go over and remember thinking, “What did I get myself into?” I never knew if or when I would run into the enemy. The one memory that has always stayed with me was when our helicopter crashed after I had left. I should have been there. The crash happened four months after I was medevaced from Vietnam. My Commanding Officer and about fifteen of the guys from my company were killed in that crash. Some said it was shot down and some said it was pilot error.
I have lost touch with everyone except for one person I served with in Vietnam. We met at a cemetery in Phoenix, Arizona to remember a fellow service member who was murdered about two days before I got into the field.
We did not have welcome home parades, parties, etc. One day you were in the field and the next day you were home. I was in Brooklyn still living with my father pictured here with my brother when the United States pulled out of Vietnam in 1975. I felt as if we failed but knew that we had not. It was our politicians who failed us. As for the protestors, most of who never served, they can kiss my butt.
I believe that many combat veterans went into emergency services after the war. I always wanted to be a policeman before entering the Army and later became a police officer in New Jersey and also volunteered with the NYPD as an auxiliary officer and with the Maricopa County sheriff’s office. I have also been a volunteer firefighter for about 28 years now. I currently work for the Department of Veterans Affairs and currently work in mental health. I work with veterans that have schizophrenia, bipolar and other psychotic illnesses. And advocate for them in any way that I can. I went to a conference in Boston a couple of months ago and listened to a seminar on telling stories and how it helps in a person’s recovery.
I am a life member of the VFW and the 101st Airborne Division Association.
~ Kevin Farrell, Vietnam Veteran
Veteran Stories Interviewed by Jenny La Sala www.JennyLasala.com