By Dave Kinnamon
Doug Frantz spent 1968 in Vietnam, as a Marine Corps platoon leader.
Frantz is an insurance and investment adviser and a former mayor of Enid.
Frantz is an Enid native son who graduated from Enid High School in 1962. He attended the University of Oklahoma in Norman and volunteered to serve active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps following his graduation from OU.
Prior to his college graduation, Frantz attended officer leadership training. Following graduation, Frantz invested his first year in the Marine Corps in training.
He was posted to California was living in San Clemente, Calif., when he received notice of his imminent mobilization.
“I got a call from my company commander. And he said, ‘Kiss your wife good-bye, tomorrow you’re shipping out.’ It was a real good way to leave because you didn’t have all the anticipation and all the concerns that most people have building up to going overseas. We just had one night to get ready,” Frantz recalled.
“The next day, I reported out to the base, and we didn’t know, frankly, whether we were going to North Korea or to Vietnam. President Johnson came to see us off, and he told us to go kill Communists and all that stuff. We flew into Vietnam, and I was given a platoon,” Frantz said.
After serving about three months in combat operations in Vietnam, Frantz was wounded by enemy mortar fire and subsequently medically evacuated to Guam.
While recuperating on Guam, Frantz received radio communications from fellow Enid resident, Dr. Abernethy, a ham radio operator and enthusiast.
Frantz’s 1968 was devoted to serving the U.S. in combat overseas and because of that devotion, Frantz was absent from home during some important family events.
In fact, Frantz’s son, Kyle, was born while Frantz was getting ready to return to Vietnam, after sufficiently healing form his combat wounds.
“I was in Okinawa, getting ready to ship back in country (to Vietnam). I got another phone from Dr. Abernethy. I learned that my son, Kyle, was born. Kyle was about nine months old before I got to see him. She sent lots of pictures, of course, but I didn’t get to see the old guy until he was about nine months old,” Frantz said.
Frantz describes the year 1968 as “intense.”
“It was intense overseas; it was intense back here in the United States. There were two assassinations. It was just a tough time for the country,” Frantz said.