The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Summer of '68

July 13, 2008

Enid area residents, former residents wax reminiscent about their 1968 experiences

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I was sent out to the field — northwest of Chu Chi — and I enjoyed the helicopter ride because it was cooler up there and helped to lighten the load we carried. I was immediately assigned to carry the radio — I became the Radio Telephone Operator (RTO) — so I was always the fourth man back from the point on a “hump” (a G.I. expression for an overland patrol with lots of equipment carried on one’s back).

I went daily to search for “Charlie.” I won’t go into detail about the firefights I was in, but I lost a lot of good friends.

I spent eight months in the field and then was transferred to a security guard unit at Long Binh, where we guarded the generals who ran Vietnam, U.S. Army-Vietnam Headquarters and the Women’s Army Corps unit.

After two months of guard duty, I was assigned as the driver for posting the guards and then checking on them with the Sgt. of the Guard. One night we took coffee and fresh bread from the bakery to the guards; the bakery smell reminded of back in Enid when Bond Bakery was in business and the great smell of fresh bread.

I served my 365 days in Vietnam, except for a five-day R&R; (rest and recuperation) in Hawaii, and came home April 15, 1969. I went back to work for ONG (Oklahoma Natural Gas) in Enid, which, after 42 years, I’m still working for today, or at least till Sept. 1 — then I am retiring.

Larry Stephens

Enid





Waukomis man views ’68 as historically important

With a humble apology to Charles Dickens, 1968 literally was the best of times, the worst of times. Historically speaking, no year in history, aside from 1776, 1861 and 1941, had greater impact on American society.

The year 1968 was electric. It was Khe Sonh, the Tet Offensive, draft cards and the My Lai massacre.

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Summer of '68