Letters to the Editor

» I APPRECIATED the Spring edition, “A War Remembered,” and I wanted to give you my insights to college life and what I remember before and after going into the Army on September 7th 1966.

I am the third generation Taylor in a family line of four generations to have served their country in the last eighty years. While I did not actively seek military service, I am proud to say that I went and fulfilled my obligation to Duty, Honor, and Country.

The history:
I graduated from Auburn Academy in 1962 and arrived on campus in the fall of that year, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Vietnam didn’t enter my consciousness until my second Sophomore year in 1964-1965. I had just changed majors and that was a kiss of death from any draft board. In the school year 1965-1966, the early war was a civil war for the heats and minds of the hamlets of South Vietnam. The war was being encouraged by the U.S., which supported a corrupt government in the South.

The U.S. role at that time was with volunteer advisors to the South Vietnamese Army, who went out to the villages by day to indoctrinate and defend small areas. The night was ruled by the Vietcong, (Charlie, or Gooks as Americans soon called them, were financed by the North, but remained small local militias in the South until heavy losses during Tet, (January 31-February 1, 1968).

On campus we’d read the paper from the bulletin board at the entrance to the Administration Building, or listen to Paul Harvey News radio at noontime in the cafeteria. In 1966, color TV was allowed in the men’s dormitory reception area, as we began to get a colored view of the war as fought by the South.

The war became personal in March of 1966, when I as drafted, and ordered to report for my physical in Seattle, Washington. Since my folks lived in Auburn, Washington, it was a short vacation, or a long weekend at home. Back on campus, they had a program where you could take a college deferment exam, and I scheduled one over at Whitman College.

The deferment lasted until June of 1966, and since I was not going to graduate with my normal four-year class, I became a dead ringer for induction on September 7th, 1966. (I might mention here, that for all 20-year-old males, the stress of grades was heightened when the Registrar’s Office was ordered by the State Draft Board to report all quarterly or semester grades for their review.)

I gave up my civilian status and became U.S.56956644, and was inducted at North Fort Lewis, WA. After about ten days of in- processing, all conscious objectors, SDA’s and otherwise were ordered to report to FT. Sam Houston, TX, for Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training as 91B10’s (Field Medics).

The months went by, and my class graduated 500 medics, 300 of which went straight to Vietnam for assignments as replacements to units already there. The rest of us were assigned to units here in the States, Europe, Southern Europe, or Korea. (Just because you got a stateside didn’t mean you weren’t going to Vietnam.) My unit, the U.S. 1st Army, 42nd Army Field Hospital, was stationed at Ft. Knox, KY, for build up and preparation to go to Southeast Asia. Lucky for us, the Army had a personal selection draft within the service to take individuals, and send them to Vietnam. We never got to full strength, until after I had left. I hear that hospital did finally get to Vietnam in 1970, or ’71.

I worked in the Orthopedic wards of Ireland Army Hospital my entire tour, and was awarded Soldier of the Month, and Solider of the Quarter for Fourth Quarter 1967. I made the rank of Specialist 5th Class.

From my recollection:
I don’t know if Richard Harter was the first WWC student into Vietnam or not, but I believe one of the Heusse sons, maybe Don Heusser, went into the Army as part of the early draft build up for Vietnam before the school year 1964-1965. (You will note on page 223 of the 1964 yearbook that both Harter and Heusser appear on the same page.) In the 1965 yearbook, only Richard Harter is listed on page 146. Don is missing and I believe, in the Army. I know he served in Vietnam, and may have been one of the first students from Walla Walla College to do so.

Other friends and acquaintances entering into the Armed Forces from Walla Walla College circa 1965 & 1966 that I knew, included:
• Hershall (Sandy) Brown, 1965, page 233 of Mountain Ash, 1963
• Robert Eby, 1966,page 117 of Mountain Ash, 1966
• Glen Chedester, 1966, page 154 of Mountain Ash, 1966, Having saw his campaign ribbons, I believe him to be the highest decorated Vietnam Veteran to return to Walla Walla College.
• Dwayne House, 1966, page 164 of Mountain Ash, 1965
• Dale E. Taylor, (me) 1966, page 148 of Mountain Ash 1966
• Dave Heusser, 1966, Listed on page 278 of Mountain Ash. 1966, no picture
• Ken Stream, 1967, Listed on page 281 of Mountain Ash, 1966, no picture
• Lewis Border, 1966 page 153 of Mountain Ash, 1966

Remembrances of the War:
Letters, lots of letters. Wrote one every day to my girlfriend. It took a week to get across country.

The wounded victims of war. We would get patients from Vietnam, and Japan, 36 hours after injury. They would be flown in on giant four engine air transports, and off loading could take half a day.

The screaming, and crying. To this day, I can hear the crying of 19-year-olds, begging for morphine, Darvon 65’s and other painkillers. Most were gun shots to the limbs or body form AK47’s and or shrapnel from mines and bobby traps, bouncing betties, artillery fragments, or rocket grenades.

Long shifts on the ward. Twelve hours a day, or more about a week after big battles.

Taking peeks at genitals of young males to reassure them that everything was OKAY. Sometimes we had to lie.

Discovering that wounds do not heal fast. Some taking up to several years to heal.

Having someone send me the Collegian.

Watching helplessly out in the field, as two Huey HU1B’s (standard air cavalry helicopter) flying in formation, locked rotors in mid air, causing the crash of two choppers with eleven men on board each. We saved half of them. Vietnam was not the only place to get killed or injured.

Getting married in July of 1968, and returning to College Place, WA, to look for a new home for the school year 1968-1969. We found our little house at 408 N. College Avenue.

Watching the collegians look at me if I wore my BDU’s (army fatigues) on campus.

Discussing with Lewis Border, back from Germany and Vietnam, whether we should wear our uniforms to Daryl Meidinger’s funeral. The word of Daryl’s death had reached us from around the world in less than 30 hours, and had found us on Dr. Eugene Winters Spring camp craft class, way down on the Succor River near Caldwell, Idaho. We elect not to wear our uniforms, but to go as students, in casual clothing. The Collegian comments on that fact, as most wore dress clothing. We were just tired of the service, but I think now, that we should have worn them.

May 10, 1969, a little battle starts for the town of Dong Ap Bia, in the A Shu Valley, for Hill 937, (named for the elevation of the hill), with units from the 101st Airborne, and First Cavalry Division. By the end of the first day, 15 Medics from the 101st Airborne are killed or wounded in action. The little battle develops into the fiercest battle of the War. By May 21st, Americans had 70% casualties, and the North Vietnamese were not much better off. The battle will forever be named Hamburger Hill, in memory of the meat grinder assaults on the hill. I read, watch and listen with interest as I finish up Spring Quarter to graduate. The casualty reports are going up.

Graduation Day, June 1969. I sit in the College Church along with other Seniors, listening to Dr. Malcom Maxwell address the class. Somewhere in his speech he mentions the madness of war, and wonders how the actions of such brave young men could be reduced to the description of hamburger by weekly new magazines. My mind wonders off to that distant place, 17 time zones away, and I began to get emotional about the sacrifice. Recovering, the service about over, itıs time to walk up and get my picture taken with my new diploma. Time to look for a new life. Some of my classmates are headed into the Armed Forces within a year of graduation, even if they don’t know it. I feel relieved, I’ve done my duty, and lived to tell about it. I remember the World War II slogan that came out of the bloody battles in the South Pacific... “And when I get to heaven, to St. Peter I will tell; one more Marine reporting Sir, I’ve served my time in hell.” I think I have an idea what that means.

I still serve my country today. I am a nine-year member of the American Legion, going to monthly meetings, marching in parades, going out to cemeteries on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. We honor all wars, and the heroes who lie beneath our feet. If you want to get the feeling of gratitude for those who served, then view the movie “Saving Private Ryan.” It is how I feel for the job we all did for Duty, Honor, and Country.

Dale E. Taylor ’69 - Renton, Washington


» As a Viet Nam Vet and former student, and after reading the spring issue of Westwind (again), I felt I needed to write. Maybe just to get something off my chest, but here it is.

I graduated from the Hawaiian Mission Academy, Class of ’67. I planned to attend Walla Walla that fall, however, I was drafted in September. After training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas ALL, except three guys, of my training class were went to Viet Nam. I arrived in country three weeks after the ’68 Tet Offensive started and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry (Black Lions), 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Lai Khe). I spent a year with the infantry as a medic and decided to stay in country and extended my tour. There were reasons for me to stay there, the biggest was we heard about what OUR own people were doing to GI in uniform and decided I didn’t need any part of that business. At least in Viet Nam I knew for the most part who was the enemy. I spent the last six months with the 93rd Evacuation Hospital, I worked in the Emergency Room/Pre-Op (I loading the evacuation helicopters and unloaded them).

To my point:
After being discharged is September 1969, to late to start the fall quarter, I made plans to attend Walla Walla winter quarter. The memory that has stayed with me the most about attending school was how out of place I felt. I was 20 years old, survived a year and a half in a combat zone and I felt very much out of place. To the school I was just another freshman, to other students my age (upper-classmen) I was a freshman. I met only one other Viet Nam vet and he was the student dorm “daddy” (don’t recall his name) and he was an upper-classman. I felt so very much alone.

I tried to stick it out, but after awhile I left and took the road less traveled and for me that has made all the difference. I don’t know, maybe if some had reach out things may have turned out different. I not asking for anything, just wanted to relate my personal experience. By the way I did finish school and hold an MBA from Wayland Baptist University (too bad it was at Walla Walla College). Wish you all the best.

Lawrence K. Araujo


» I appreciated receiving the latest edition of Westwind: “A War Remembered.” The articles represented a rather nice cross section of various military experiences from the Vietnam era to present day reservists who have given significant contributions to our Seventh-day Adventist Church, Walla Walla College and in particular our beloved United States of America.

In one particular article I noticed my former commander Colonel Frederick W.Troutman reminiscing about his time in Vietnam. What the article did not bring forth in much detail was his continuous commitment of service to his country. While serving as my commander he was teaching full time as faculty at Walla Walla College’s School of Nursing as well as assuming the role of Dean of the School of Nursing. During this particular time our world was experiencing yet another worldwide crisis. Colonel Troutman was responsible for sending and staging reserve troops for active duty in every continent of the world at one simultaneous time, except for the southern part of the Western Hemisphere. Because of the need to maintain strict confidentiality this level of responsibility was known primarily (and only partially) by those who had the privilege to serve under his command.

The role of any member of a reserve military organization is to meet the responsibilities associated with being on call for America. I appreciate the opportunities of being on call for American and having served with Colonel Troutman. To all veterans and reservist of whom you wrote, I salute you, especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while being in harm’s way. For those of you who have served and continue to serve I salute you for your years of service and dedication to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the military. May every blessing of Heaven come your way. Please accept my thanks, appreciation, admiration and warm regards.

Patrick N. Francisco ’82, Major, USAFR - Vancouver, Wash.


» I was quite surprised at the latest Westwind Spring 2000, “A War Remembered” Vietnam War. Nothing is being said about The Forgotten War- Korean War. The Los Angeles Times is doing a series 50 years later. The series is called “The Korean War Remembered.”

There are a few of us that have been forgotten. I served with the 9th Med. Co. 9th MF Post Infantry Division in Korea 1952-1954 as a Combat Medic. Received the Combat Medic badge and an award very few people received: Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service. Equivalent to the Bronze Star given in combat.

I was drafted out of my junior year at Walla Walla College in 1952, came back in 1954, graduated in 1956. Nobody gives us recognition on serving in the Forgotten War. I usually do not mention this to too many people. During basic training at Camp Pickett, VA, I met a junior from West Hampton College for Women, University of Richmond. English Major in Richmond. She wrote to me very faithfully while I was in Korea serving. Her mother sent me care packages which took 6 weeks to get to Korea. I had written to so-called friends who did not bother to answer.

You should read this book, “Marines in Autumn” by James Brady. James Brady served in Korea with the Marines. I cried at the end of this book. It was so touching about the retreat of the Marines and the 2nd and 7th Inf. Div.

Edward J. Neill ’56 Fargo, S.D.



I don’t think I ever spoke to him.
He sat directly ahead of me in worship
I remember the crew cut.
That’s how I knew him--
The guy with the crew cut.

Then his seat was empty.
Someone said he had been drafted.
I never went to his funeral--
Just watched the hearse
From the window of Bowers Hall.
I married, I was drafted.
My wife was pregnant so
They let me off (it was a girl).

Back from Africa; she 16.
We visited The Wall.
“Who were all these people?” she asked.
I found his name. “Who was he, Dad?”
“He sat ahead of me in worship”--
“He had a crew cut”.

A couple of days ago the mail came.
I sat and read the Westwind first.
She, now married and 32, happened by.
Looking over my shoulder she said
“Isn’t that the name you showed me on The Wall”
“Yes” I said. “He had a crew cut.”

Floyd Petersen Attended 1966-69 - Loma Linda, Calif.

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