WE WERE YOUNG AND FEARLESS
My name is John Shrank, and I am a Vietnam Veteran.
My father was in WW2 France to Germany. He was in the Army and a T Sgt. who worked in the motor pool with munitions. He didn’t talk about it… My wife’s brother did two tours of duty in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot. After he retired, he worked for the Kennedy Center in Washington doing security work.
Dyna Corp offered him a position to go to Kabul Afghanistan. We didn’t even know he was there. He was very distant. So the next thing my father-in-law, who was in his eighties at the time, had two people at the door telling him that his son was killed in Kabul Afghanistan. The building where he was giving a lecture was car bombed. Nothing like seeing an older man accept the flag at his son’s funeral. His name was Robert James Bifano. My father-in-law was in the Navy, but I have no details.
I served during 1966 and 1970. My deployment to Vietnam was as an Air Force Sgt. in Phan Rang between 1968 to 1969. In high school, I delivered news papers from my 1964 Ford Falcon fast back and after graduating, I enlisted at 18. We were young and fearless. But the reality was, that we were really scared when they were dropping mortars and rockets with things exploding and tracers red and green flares. As a result in serving, I grew up real fast. I was a Sergeant and at 20 years of age, and I was really good at being a weapons specialist which required responsibility for one’s actions and to those under you.
As far as a welcome home reception, I guess I missed the parade. I landed in California and remember the protesters yelling. They were on the other side of the fence. I did not care what they were saying. I was just happy to be home. I did what my country asked with no regrets. It was now time to get on with my life, and I was getting married in two months. Our Wedding was on October 12,1969.
That is what I came home for. Linda was waiting for me…
~John Schrank, Vietnam Veteran
We are very grateful to John for his story and invite you to share your family photos of those who served, so we may feature and honor them on Comes A Soldier’s Whisper, where we are all connected. Look for this story and many others in the book, Never Forgotten, The Vietnam Veteran Fifty Years Later. Visit website to click on Amazon or Barnes and Noble to purchase @ www.JennyLasala.com OR www.NeverForgottenTheVietnamVeteran.com