Sunday, November 29, 2015

Da Nang Vietnam Veterans Remember Twist of Fate

Veterans form friendship, discover unusual link
The News Gazette
Jim Dey 1

Nearly 50 years ago — May 22, 1968 — Bob Harrison, a 19-year-old U.S. Marine from Villa Grove, was carrying a radio as part of a four-man patrol team near Da Nang in Vietnam, the site of a major air base used by American and South Vietnamese forces.

He had seen extensive combat since arriving on Thanksgiving Day 1967. That included a harrowing 77-day siege at Khe Sanh that began Jan. 21, 1968. It's one of the most publicized battles of any American war, one in which hugely outnumbered Marines, assisted by round-the-clock B-52 airstrikes, fought off North Vietnamese soldiers trying to overrun their base.

American forces suffered extensive casualties. Although Harrison's backpack took a bullet, he escaped injury. But his luck was about to run out.

The last thing Harrison remembers of his patrol that day is calling in his group's position.
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