By Jane Caffrey
May 26, 2017
"All I want to tell him is thank you," the former marine said with tears in his eyes. "Eight people got killed in the air. His family needs to know, that he's an angel. Can you imagine how many they saved?"CORPUS CHRISTI - The Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American soldiers, including 100 from Corpus Christi, and with Memorial Day approaching one local veteran feels thankful to have survived that conflict.
The former Marine was close to death in Vietnam. Decades later, his search continues for the man that saved his life. He believes he will find him in Corpus Christi.
Joe Elizondo has three purple hearts and has been honored by U.S. presidents nine times for heroic acts, but he has a hero of his own from his time in Vietnam.
Elizondo was a gun squad leader and a tunnel rat, taking on dangerous underground missions. He was stationed in Cong Tien, one of the most dangerous war zones near the demilitarized area. It was so dangerous it was dubbed "The Place of Angels."
"We had gotten in the morning 11 lieutenants. And they had just arrived from the States. And the next day, only one survived," Elizondo recalled.
One morning, the Americans were ambushed.
"I got hit by a sniper, and the bullet went right through my side of my head, and went out the other side," Elizondo said, showing where the the bullet went through his neck.
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