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VETERAN SPOTLIGHT: Veteran Steve Fluck remembers Vietnam

This image was taken of Steve Fluck as he poses with his gun shortly after he arrived in Vietnam in the spring of 1969. Contributed Photo1 / 2
A young Steve Fluck sits on patrol with his radio while stationed in Vietnam in 1969. Contributed Photo2 / 2

Steve Fluck was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1968. The Litchfield, Minn., native was sent to basic training three months after he graduated high school. After basic, he was sent to infantry training to learn how to handle a weapon.

The 18-year-old was home for Christmas that year and deployed to Vietnam shortly after.

Fluck was stationed overseas for 13 months in the Mekong Delta in southwestern Vietnam. He began as an infantryman but then began carrying radio. His job was to send in locations and call in a helicopter to carry out injured soldier soldiers.

"I called in airstrikes, called in for support and called in to dust people off," said Fluck. He explained "dusting people off" meant to radio for a helicopter for injured soldiers to pick them up and bring them to a hospital.

What he remembers most are his "firsts," like the first time he saw an American killed and the first time he had to kill someone. After that, time blurred together for the teen.

He also remembers that it was very wet: it rained six to eight months of the year.

"It was mostly mud, swamp and water," said Fluck.

Most of the traveling he did while stationed in Vietnam was done by river boats and helicopters.

Memorial Day is important to him.

"I think we need to remember the people who fought for our country and who died for our country," said Fluck.