Club revisits Vietnam War

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At the July 22 meeting of the Roxboro Kiwanis Club at La Piazza restaurant in Uptown Roxboro, club member and city councilman Reggie Horton presented a video documentary about a medical evacuation operation in Vietnam called American Medevac. He indicated that the film has been shown nationally on PBS. It includes efforts to reunite those who participated in the featured event. CBS news correspondent Morton Dean was embedded with a unit in Vietnam and went along on a Medevac mission. A land mine was tripped and a soldier suffered a leg wound. He was airlifted by helicopter to an aid station.

At that point, the film jumps forward to show a reunion of the pilot, Dean and the injured soldier. Experiences of the pilot and the soldier after they returned from service were reviewed, including the perspective of their families. The mission, which was the focus of the documentary, occurred in 1970.

Club member Leigh Woodall recalled his service in the Phillipines during the Vietnam War, at a hospital which received injured service members and sought to stabilize them before their return to the United States. Horton remembered that his duties in Vietnam included visiting villages and interacting with the local population.

Club member Doug Robinson shared his experience with this conflict as having been told that the mission was to fight communism. He noted that those who were in the field were lucky to get back to a base camp every couple of weeks to get a shower and get food other than MRE’s (“meals ready to eat.”) Robinson noted that the political aspect of the conflict bound the military to a strategy that was doomed to fail.

Woodall indicated that he had two years of ROTC at N.C. State University and chose to do two more so that he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force. He got a degree in civil engineering and was assigned to a four-month school to learn environmental engineering. His college roommate was an electrical engineer and was assigned to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia to work with satellites. Woodall said that he views his training as first rate, which required touring the U.S. to visit various facilities, including nuclear power plants.

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