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Wilkinson remembers the constant noise of Vietnam

Rocky Wilkinson joined the United States Army in July 1965 when he was 20 years old. He was sent to Fort Knox for basic training, from Fort Knox to Fort Hood for advanced infantry training, then overseas to Vietnam. He was assigned to the 10th Co...

Rocky Wilkinson
Rocky Wilkinson

Rocky Wilkinson joined the United States Army in July 1965 when he was 20 years old.

He was sent to Fort Knox for basic training, from Fort Knox to Fort Hood for advanced infantry training, then overseas to Vietnam. He was assigned to the 10th Combat Aviation Battalion, where he was part of the infantry security platoon.

After four months soldiers started rotating back to stateside, communications was depleting, so Wilkinson volunteered to help out as a radio teletype. He was in charge of day-to-day communications.

He rode in a radio truck with several antennas waving around, making him an obvious target.

"The radio and medics seemed to be the favorite targets," Wilkinson, 74, said.

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He remembered being stationed in the mountains near the Cambodian border for a few months. Afterwards his outfit headed down the mountain in a small convoy that took two days in the pouring rain.

"The little bastards shot from the trees at night," Wilkinson said.

They were constantly under fire during the two-day trek.

"The noise was constant - the airplanes, the artillery," Wilkinson said. "You were always waiting for the bullet you don't hear."

After they came down the mountain, the Navy was scheduled to pick up the small convoy from the beach the next day.

"We were supposed to be picked up the next day, but they were late and we waited three days. Once they got there they treated us like royalty, food in a plate and showers without a weapon nearby," Wilkinson said. "You always heard gun fire while on the beach, but you're not sure where it was coming from. It was a little unnerving."

The 10th Combat Aviation Battalion, flew support for the 1st Cav and others, 'Vagabonds of the Sky' was the motto according to Wilkinson.

After serving 383 days in country, Wilkinson was stationed with the 14th Military Intelligence battalion at Fort Bragg, N.C. for the remaining commitment to the Army.

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This 1966 photo of Vietnam veteran Rocky Wilkinson was taken while he was stationed overseas. He said he was kicking back after a day's work. Special to the Pine Journal
This 1966 photo of Vietnam veteran Rocky Wilkinson was taken while he was stationed overseas. He said he was kicking back after a day's work. Special to the Pine Journal

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