Living Veterans Part One: Six Veterans Share their Experiences During War

Updated 4 years ago

These six veterans are six very different people with different stories, but they share the common bond of service. They helped fight for this country’s freedom all over the world but their stories all start here in the US where these veterans chose to enlist or were drafted.”I figured I would probably serve and I looked forward to it. Technically I was drafted, but I did volunteer to be inducted earlier than I would have had to go,” said Philip Tiemann, WWII and Korean War veteran.”You know who won the war, but we sure didn’t know then and everyone was giving their all, whatever they could do to help,” said Betty Brown, WWII Women Airforce Service Pilot.”I spent my summers listening to my dad and my uncles and their friends talk about their WWII experiences and that’s where I first got interested in serving,” said Major General Bill Libby, Vietnam veteran.”My life really wasn’t going anywhere and I thought, well you know, the military might be the answer,” said Command Sergeant Major Terrence Harris, Afghanistan veteran.”I was 17 and of course you need parental consent to join the military if you’re 17 and my folks signed off. I went, I took the test, and I enlisted,” said Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Merrill, Persian Gulf War and Afghanistan veteran.”I went up to the recruiting office the beginning of my senior year and did their delayed entry program and I went to boot camp right after I graduated high school,” said Ben Thompson, Iraq War veteran.Next comes training: boot camp, drills, and job oriented technical training. All leading up to the day when they could put this training to use.”When you put this uniform on, you really know that at some point in time you want to discover whether or not what you’ve learned for all of those years is really effective when you get into a combat zone like that,” said Harris.”I got the opportunity to do things militarily that I had been trained to do. And I think all of us long for those opportunities,” said Libby.”It was like all right now, I want to go. There’s kind of an adrenaline rush,” said Thompson.And no matter where they were or the jobs they had…”Our unit controlled logistical units, maintenance units and those types of what we call combat service support units,” said Merrill. “I was a tank platoon leader. I had five tanks and a jeep and 25 men,” said Tiemann.It meant something to them to be able to do it for their country.”Being just a part of something different, a little bit more than the simple guy that’s out on the street for all of those years wondering what the flag really meant,” said Harris.”Very enthused, very grateful to be there, to be able to help out,” said Brown.”It was awesome to be a part of such a big event in history,” said Merrill.It altered their personal histories as well, forming bonds with those they served with that would last a lifetime.”You’ll never find a better group of friends when you’re in the military. Those guys are always there,” said Thompson.”We’re really quite a sisterhood. It’s tremendous,” said Brown.”When you get into an organization where you truly depend on the person to your left and your right, you truly depend on them to stay alive as I did during my year in Vietnam. It’s an experience that most people don’t have,” said Libby.And an experience that they agree, they’ll never forget.


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