The walking dead việt nam fanpage awards

Sgt. Bob Hayes received 2 Purple Hearts while fighting with the 3rd Marine Division inVietnam

by Don Moore

Bob Hayes of Port Charlotte was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division when he got to Vietnam in 1966. As an 18-year-old gun-toter it didn’t take long for him lớn receive his first Purple Heart for combat wounds.

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They called themselves “The Walking Dead.” His unit was deployed in vượt Thiên-Huế near the South trung quốc Sea in northeastern South Vietnam. With Hayes during the incursion was Bernard Fall, a war correspondent who covered the disastrous French invasion of the same area in ’53. He wrote a book entitled ’Street Without Joy,’ about the French military disaster.

He planned to lớn write a sequel to his first book about the Marine invasion of the area more than a decade later. It was never published because Fall stepped on a land mine & was blown lớn bits.

“Fall was on my left. Suddenly there was an explosion. He was killed instantly. His camera, blown from his body, landed at my feet,” Hayes said.

“We began khổng lồ take heavy casualties. Choppers were called in to lớn take out the dead và wounded. Our objective was a small river. We were facing superior forces. Nobody had been there since the French had gotten beaten by the Vietcong in ’53.

“I was in the second wave that attacked. The first wave had been hard hit. We had to khuyễn mãi giảm giá with enemy snipers và booby-traps,” Hayes recalled more than 60 years later. “I was a squad leader và I told the one guy with me there was another Marine detachment over lớn our right we needed to hookup with.

“It was night & we reached an opening. All of a sudden there was a god-awful sound,” he said. “The guy behind me had stepped on a mine. The concussion from the explosion sent me flying. I remember blood pouring down both sides of my face. I had shrapnel in both shoulders và legs.

“The incident happened on Feb. 21, 1967. People from the unit khổng lồ our right came and got me và put me on a homemade stretcher,” Hayes said. “I was sent khổng lồ a hospital in domain authority Nang. Nothing major had been penetrated. After I was able khổng lồ walk pretty good I was sent back khổng lồ my unit.

“By then my outfit was involved in a major operation near the ‘Demilitarized Zone’ that continued into North Vietnam. During a firefight, which was part of this advance, our unit was pinned down by enemy fire. I was shot in my right arm by a .30-cal. Machine-gun. I had considerable damage to my arm.

“I went back to a hospital in Japan. I ended up at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. Then I was transported to Chelsea Naval Hospital in Boston. I stayed there for over a year. They did numerous operations on my arm lớn try và put the nerves back together again so it would work properly. They did an excellent job. I was discharged in May 1968.

“Let me say something about how I feel about Vietnam. The civilians in Vietnam were caught in the middle. They are a peaceful, hardworking bunch.

“We had just taken this village. About that time one of our squads-members stepped on a mine & was killed. The villagers knew where all the land mines were, but they wouldn’t tell us where they were because the NV A & VC would kill them. So they didn’t tell us & that put them at odds with us.

“Right after my man was killed I went to lớn a briefing with my lieutenant. When I got back I found my squad had taken their anger out on an elderly village man. I found him hanging from some ropes. I went over and cut him down.

“Then I asked my people who strung the old man up, why? They told me because he knew where the land mine was that killed their buddy & didn’t tell them.

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“Then I told my people, ‘You can’t vì this!’ I explained that the old man is caught in the middle. If he tells us about the NVA và VC mines they will kill him. And if he doesn’t tell us, we might kill him.

“Fortunately, the old man lived.

“Another complaint I had with our military operation in Vietnam: We would be told to take Hill-64. So we’d take Hill-64 và some of our people would die. We’d secure ’64 và then we’d get orders to lớn take Hill-78. Again some of our people would die, but we’d take the hill. Then we’d be asked khổng lồ re-take Hill-64 all over again because we had let it go và the NVA or the VC moved back onto the hill again.

“Because I quit high school before I graduated I took advantage of the G.I. Bill. I got my high school diploma, then I went to Middlesex Community College và got an associate’s degree. Finally I got a teaching degree from the University of Massachusetts.

“While finishing up my teaching degree I decided the manners of the students I’d be teaching weren’t what I was accustomed to. I had a friend who told me I wasn’t cut out khổng lồ be a teacher. He suggested that since I working part-time in the grocery business I should make that my career.”

Hayes took the friend’s advice. He spent the first 20 years, after college, working for various supermarket chains in the Boston area. The last 11 years he worked for a food cooperative called Hanover Food Cooperative.

“It was an absolutely fantastic operation,” he said.

Hayes and his wife, Janice, moved to Punta Gorda last year. They had two daughters: Nicole and Stacy. Stacy is deceased.

Name: Robert Nicholas HayesD.O.B: 5 Jan. 1947Hometown: Lynn, Mass.Currently: Punta Gorda, Fla.Entered Service: 1 July 1964Discharged: 20 May 1968Rank: SergeantUnit: Company A, 1st Battalion, 9th Regiment, 3rd Marine DivisionCommendations: Two Purple Hearts, Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Vietnamese Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Camping Medal, Rifle Marksman’s Badge.Battles/Campaigns: Vietnam War

This story was first published in the Charlotte Sun newspaper, Port Charlotte, Fla. On Monday, July 23, 2018 and is republished with permission.

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Chuyên mục: Tin Tức