WPRI 12 News
By Walt Buteau
Published: October 21, 2016
“I was 19 years old. I don’t believe a ring or a set of rosary beads are going to save my life. But my life was saved at least 12 times in Vietnam and twice at Camp Lejeune.” Michael Montigny
As the Vietnam War was erupting in 1966, Michael Montigny was a teenager in West Warwick, into baseball and hot rods.
But he would soon be in a Marine boot camp, face to face with a gunnery sergeant who let him know how dangerous it was to be the trigger behind a machine gun.
“He was right in my face,” Montigny recalled. “He says life expectancy of a machine gunner is 15 minutes, and I couldn’t swallow. I said, Oh my god.”
Before he found out just how accurate the sergeant was, Montigny was picked out of a crowd of Marines heading into Vietnam by a Marine who was going home.
“He fights his way through 200 of us, comes up to me and takes the ring off his finger,” Montigny said. “He puts it right in my face and says here. This brought me luck and protected me. It’s going to protect you.”
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