BERRY: This is an oral history interview with Greg Buzzell, who served with the4th Battalion, 60th Air Defense Artillery, U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. This interview is being conducted at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum at the following address: 30 West Mifflin Street, Madison, Wisconsin, 53703 on the following date: November 4th, 2011. The interviewer is Rick Berry. Greg, thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Can you tell us something about your background and life circumstances before entering military service?
BUZZELL: Well, I was born in 1948 to just an average family in Wisconsin. I grewup in Delavan, Wisconsin and went to Delavan-Darien High School, which is where Scott Walker's from. [laughter] But that's besides the point. My life circumstance for this were-- I mean, I had a good childhood, wasn't bad. My 00:01:00parents divorced when I was 12 and that didn't go well. And I have to be honest, my grandparents actually raised me. My dad was involved in life. The issue was just that he just wasn't much of raising kids. So I loved my dad a lot and all that, but it's just that most of the parenting went to my grandparents and we lived right next door to them. So it was really easy to do. So I spent most of my time with my grandparents. I attributed my grandmother with my values and everything. And where I'm at in life is due to her more than my dad. So, I graduated from high school and I went to college for a year. And I was tired of the school thing, I wanted to take a break, but I knew--
BERRY: Which high school did you graduate from?
BUZZELL: Delavan-Darien High School. And I went to college at Illinois WesleyanUniversity and I moved to Illinois for a year. Majored in theater because I really loved theater. Still involved with theater, as a matter of fact. But after a year of college, I just decided that it wasn't my thing for a while. You need a break after 18 years of school-- or how many years of school you go to, whatever it is, 12 years of school. 13 years. I was tired. 00:02:00
BERRY: And what year did you graduate from high school?
BUZZELL: So in 19-- it would have been 1967, yeah, 1967, I came home and thatwas back when, of course, the draft was pretty active. [inaudible] So my dad, he gave me three tries. He said, "Go to work, go back to school, or join the military." I knew no matter what happened, I was going to end up in the military because they're going to draft me so I decided, well, rather than get drafted, because I don't want to be a Marine, I decided, I went through all the services and I said I don't want to spend four years in the Navy or the Air Force. I didn't want to be a Marine, which is the shortest, it's two years.
BERRY: Did you visit various recruiters to kind of evaluate the different--
BUZZELL: No, actually no, I just knew from talking to friends and that that hadalready been in or were joining in. And so I said the easiest one to get through would be the Army. Because it's three years, I get through, I'll be fine. So I went and joined the Army in 196-- oh, it was a deferred entry program, I remember that you said that deferred entry program. So I joined in like, June 00:03:00and wasn't supposed to go until November. So in November 1967 I was in the Army and basic training.
BERRY: Where did you do your basic?
BUZZELL: In Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
BERRY: Okay. Can you tell us about that?
BUZZELL: Well, basic was interesting because I was out with actually with abunch of National Guard troops and a lot of really-- I don't want-- got to be politically correct here. A lot of people, hill people from Kentucky and Tennessee. Okay? Now, education wasn't all that good, unfortunately, for those people. So a lot of us that were a little bit better educated were able to help these guys get through basic because the men in the Army at the time, they really lowered their standards. So they were requiring high school education and that kind of stuff. So basic was interesting because it was mostly National Guard and the people from the hills. Basic wasn't all that hard. I made it through pretty easily. The interesting about thing about basic in that year was that winter was extremely cold and bitter and snowy in Kentucky, which was very unusual. So we didn't do much of the bivouacking and all that stuff because it was just too miserable. And of course if you think about it, we're not going to a cold place anyway. We knew we're not going to a cold place. But I did actually 00:04:00get 30 days off for Christmas in the middle of basic. Don't ask me why. It was [inaudible]. It probably wasn't 30 days, probably more like two weeks maybe. I don't remember. I was home for Christmas. And I remember trying to get back to Fort Campbell, of course we flew-- you're supposed to fly and land wherever is close to Fort Campbell, I can't remember where it is, but the weather was so bad and it was snowing. They flew us all the way down to Atlanta and in Atlanta we had to get on a bus to go all the way back to Fort Campbell because the weather was so bad. So none of us were there on time. I mean, they relaxed the rule because nobody could get back because the weather was so bad. And so after that, we didn't do as much because of the bad winter. It was just too miserable. You got the guys who run the [inaudible] go out every 2 hours and start them, keep them running, all that stuff. So basic wasn't bad at all. I got through basic pretty well.
BERRY: And when you enlisted, did you enlist for a certain program in the Army?
BUZZELL: Yes, I did. Good question. Yes, I did. I enlisted-- I wanted to be ahelicopter mechanic.
BUZZELL: I've always been mechanically inclined so I thought that'd be reallycool to do so that's what I enlisted for. So once I got out of basic, they sent 00:05:00me to Fort Rucker, Alabama, which was the helicopter training school.
BUZZELL: So we get down there and I'd probably been there 24 hours. They land uson the field. There's like, you know, several hundred of us who had just gotten their new lives in the field and the parade ground and they get up in front and they said, "You will all be helicopter mechanics and then you will all be sent to Vietnam as door gunners. As crew chiefs." I said, this is not what I signed up for. I was going to be a mechanic. Well, and then that same time, then they got up front and they said, "Would these soldiers please come forward." They call my name. I thought, okay, now what did I do? [laughter] [inaudible] So I come out in front and some captain or some lieutenant up front and he says, "We see that you have very good administrative skills." I don't remember what else. "You got an extra year of education," yadda yadda yadda. And he said, "Would you like to be a personnel specialist?" And I said, "Absolutely. Where do I sign?" They said it's a good, safe duty. And he said, "You'll spend at least a year here in Fort Rucker in the personnel office." And I said absolutely, I'll sign. So I signed up. That next day, I was working in the personnel office in Fort Rucker, Alabama. 00:06:00
BERRY: So you essentially switched from helicopter mechanic school to the personnel--
BUZZELL: Correct, the personnel office. [inaudible] Correct. Because I didn'treally want to be a door gunner. And helicopter mechanic would have been fine but door gunner, no.
BERRY: And then how long was your basic? Well, I guess it'd be advancedindividual training there at Fort Rucker.
BUZZELL: There was none. It was on-job training. They put me in the office nextto [inaudible]. Somebody sat down and said, "This is what you do." A week later, I was doing it. And no AIT [Advanced Individual Training]. As with the military, they needed bodies to do other things than just be infantry, door gunners, those kind of things. And so they were looking for people that had certain skills that the Army was going to-- and we all know the Army overlooks that kind of stuff. If t0hey need you as a grunt, you're a grunt. Doesn't matter if you got a Ph.D., that's what they need at the time. So they needed somebody in personnel and they just happened to call my name. So it was all on the job training. So I spent a year in Fort Rucker and here's the thing about Fort Rucker, or in the South in 00:07:00the 60s, and I'm a northern boy and I wasn't very familiar with this, but we saw a lot of racism off base. I had a chance to go up to the capital of Alabama, which is--
BUZZELL: Is it Birmingham or Montgomery?
BUZZELL: I think it's Montgomery. Anyway. In a weekend also I thought I'd go upto catalog, you know, black and white drinking fountains, black and white restrooms. I wasn't used to this. This was real interesting for me and the Black guys in-base you'd be friends with but off-base it was totally different story. They treated them totally different than the Army did. So it was very, very interesting. And then I remember one incident that I thought was kind of funny. I got to know some of the locals. And there was this one family I used to go to church with one day. So I said, "Well, I'll go to church with you." And it was kind of fun to hang out with the family, you get a good meal and stuff, you know, do civilian stuff. So you go to church and about halfway through the service or I don't know, it might have been in the middle of the sermon, this very well-dressed Black lady walks into the church and of course, everybody just-- she walked all the way in the front of church and sat in the first row. 00:08:00And I thought, everybody is going to die. And I'm just sitting back going, this is cool. But they did not like that at all. And she did that. But the other side of it is, I have to admit that also the Blacks-- I don't want to say knew their place but the Blacks understood how it worked. And actually, I would say in Alabama, they actually treated the poor White people worse than they treated Black people. And it was really very-- I'm not sure the term there. Very caste system in Alabama at the time, very caste.
BERRY: And you say that racial sort of segregation outside the base did nothappen on the base?
BUZZELL: No, as far as you know, we didn't have any problem on the base. I mean,the military was pretty integrated at the time, and I don't remember any problems. I mean, we probably had more problems in Vietnam with the Blacks than we did in basic. But on base, everybody was equal. There wasn't really any division there. But then you take some other instances of racism down in there that I ran into, I also had another-- I also used to manage rock 'n roll bands. 00:09:00So I did that in college and when I got into Army, I ran into some guys and we formed a band. I didn't play, so I managed them and at the time, [inaudible] I tell you about that, let's see. So one time, again, the same family that I was acquainted with, their daughter was having her high school prom and she asked us to play. I said, that's cool, so we're meeting to work out the details and I learned at that time it's a Whites only prom and Blacks could not go to the prom. Blacks had their own prom. And I thought, I was a little upset about that but I thought, you know, I need the money worse than do you want to play the race card right now, you know, than to get all upset about that. So that's the thing that shocked me as even though it was an integrated school, they had two proms of White and Black proms. And then the same thing in this group also, we entered a contest, an Army-- I guess we were probably part of the Fifth army down here maybe. I don't remember. Long time ago. But we entered a contest to do some Army-- it was an Army contest for bands and musicians and we were going to play Fort Bragg. Well, the band I was managing didn't make it, but they wanted 00:10:00me to go on because I was a lighting expert from theater. So they wanted me to go and help with lighting and help-- just help manage them. So we had a bunch other groups with us in the bus and one of the groups was Hispanic. Not Black, but dark- skinned. So we get on a bus to go to Fort Bragg and it was like, a day's drive from Fort Rucker. And every place we stopped, they would not serve them because they were dark-skinned. So we as the White people on the bus, we said, "Fine, then we're not eating either." We had to find places where they served both of us. Very few of them. There weren't a whole lot of them between Alabama and North Carolina. We survived but I was just shocked about the same thing, you pull into a gas station, you get gas, but they would not serve them. They couldn't go in and get a Coke or anything. We could go in. I was there through '68 and then also in '68 after Martin Luther King was shot, you know, the riots going on in the country? And so we went on riot training because they decided that-- I don't know how many Army bases did it but a lot of the Army 00:11:00bases in various parts of the county were getting trained in case we had to go to various places to quell riots. So I went through six weeks of riot training and then we were on 24 hour call to go to Washington, D.C. if the riots didn't calm down. Fortunately they did calm down before the recall, but I went through a lot of riot training. Of course, that was hard to deal with, too, because as a soldier, I had just duty to do here but I agreed with the rioters. And that's stuff we talked about with the whole riot thing because they said, it doesn't matter, you have to do your job. You can't show any preferential treatment. And I have to say the riot training was pretty good. I mean, they took us out into-- parts of the base were empty and they had people really abuse us, you know, the other soldiers and their job was just to come and abuse you, yell at you, scream at you, calling names, just to see what kind of reaction they'd get. And so I remember that very clearly. Now, another story about that time. George Wallace was governor and-- no. In '68, let's see-- Wallace also been governor of Alabama for quite a while. And of course, we all know [inaudible] to race him at the 00:12:00time and he couldn't run again, apparently, to be governor. But he rigged it so his wife could run because they knew she would win and then he was really still running the state. Well, she died in '68 when I was there. And the mourning period and all the things they did, there was a lot of civilians in the office, but they mourned for like, a week longer than they did for JFK. It was just amazing. This was like the biggest thing ever to happen in that state, when his wife died. Big, I mean, big deal. And we ran the office by ourselves for like, over a week because we had civilians doing various things in there. So Fort Rucker was interesting. The good side of it was it was only an hour from Panama City, Florida.
BERRY: Did you make any lasting friendships, either in basic or at Fort Rucker?
BUZZELL: Let's just say I've got people I know. I was just not good at keepingin touch with anybody. So the answer is probably no.
BERRY: Tell us about the living situation at Fort Rucker. Were you in barracks or--?
BUZZELL: Yeah, we were in barracks. They were World War II barracks. Theyweren't too bad. Obviously there's no privacy. Typical military. The thing that 00:13:00was interesting was we were right across the street from the personnel office, which was fine, but we're on the main road that went through Fort Rucker. [cough] And so we're right-- I mean, my bunk faced the street. We were not allowed to have curtains. That meant you had to undress, you had to do everything with people driving by all the time. Now, the female barracks, which are on the same road, they all had curtains. And I just found that interesting that it was okay for the women to have privacy but not for the men. And the first few times you kind of worry about it [inaudible], it's too bad. Nothing you can do about it. You've got to get undressed, you've got to change clothes. But we were right there. We weren't ten feet from the road. I mean, the distance was okay. It was a typical military base at the time. There was not a whole lot to do on base. You could go off base and do stuff but then you'd have to have money.
BERRY: What did you do for recreation, then?
BUZZELL: We went to movies. We went down to Panama City a lot on the weekendswhen we had time. You go off base and we go to the drive-ins. There's things to do around there. You play cards, you do the usual stuff. The Army's not real 00:14:00good at keeping you busy but it was better than Vietnam. There was more to do there.
BERRY: Did you have access to a vehicle?
BUZZELL: No, I had my own. I brought my own car down. [inaudible] I brought acar down. I had a motorcycle, I brought it down one time. I bought a car, so I got vehicles.
BERRY: Could you tell us about your duties while you were at Fort Rucker?
BUZZELL: Well, basically, the duties again were just doing personnel work whichwas filling out ID cards, and I did 201 forms which were the four-page forms on your folder. So basically processing people in and out, change things onto what if they got an award or metal, go on their form and that. Those were enlisted men. I will tell you one bad thing I did, which is in my memoirs. As I said, I made ID cards and I'd be honest with you, I never really checked IDs but some guy told me, he said, "Listen, I'm going to send some guys over. They need some fake IDs." And I said, "I'm just not going to ask." So I was making fake ID cards for a while because, you know, you've got to realize, on base, we can drink. You went off base, go drink, people are going to go to Panama City and 00:15:00have a beer, you know? And it was you always think about the equality of that and all that, you can vote at 18, go fight a war, but you can't drink. And I'll be honest with you, I made myself a fake ID card and got caught with it. So I got an Article 15 and two weeks of KP [kitchen patrol] and docked pay for a month. Survived it obviously and still came out okay. But just one of those things. We're kids, you know, we're trying to--
BERRY: Fort Rucker being primarily a training base both for crew chiefs as wellas for pilots, you had a lot of people passing through the personnel section, I would guess.
BUZZELL: Oh, yeah. Yeah. It was a big-- the building was an old theater. So it'shuge. It's very big, it was a whole theater. So, yeah, we got a lot of people passing. We were always busy. We were always busy. But the interesting thing is, though, all that time I was down there, I never rode in a helicopter. Never rode one in Vietnam, either. Every other kind of plane, I was on. Never got in a helicopter, though. Kind of never understood that. Never understood that or figured out why. [laughter]
BERRY: Okay, well, you apparently spent about a year at Fort Rucker. What wasyour next assignment and how did you get involved with that? 00:16:00
BUZZELL: My next assignment was-- I mean, we all knew at some point we'd getorders to Vietnam. So in the fall of '68, I got orders for Vietnam to report in January of '69.
BERRY: And did you have some choice as to what unit you were going to?
BUZZELL: No, no, no. So when I got the orders, I took 30 days leave. So again, Iwas home on Christmas and Super Bowl Sunday, we got on a plane for Vietnam. And of course, 24-hour difference, we landed after the game was over. So we landed in Vietnam, I guess, would have been the same day or the day-- I don't remember.
BERRY: Where did you leave from when you-- From the West Coast?
BUZZELL: Yeah, it was from the West Coast. I'm trying to remember if it was FortLewis or [inaudible]. It's weird, you know? [inaudible] You remember some things and you don't remember other things. You know, it's just so stupid.
BERRY: So you were released from Fort Rucker and essentially given a month's leave--
BUZZELL: I went home on leave and from leave, I had to go to probably I thinkFort Lewis in Seattle, is where I left from. Then from there get on a plane and 00:17:00go to Vietnam. I know on the way over-- so, I did this four times. I know at one time we were in Alaska to refuel, one time in Hawaii to refuel, and one time in Guam to refuel.
BERRY: You went back and forth from Vietnam four different times?
BUZZELL: Well, two times. Twice back--.
BERRY: Each way.
BUZZELL: Yeah, each way. Yeah, I can explain that a little bit later.
BERRY: Okay, well, let's concentrate on your first visit to Vietnam. You--
BUZZELL: I left from wherever it was, I think Fort Lewis in Seattle, flew overand got over there after the Super Bowl was over, got off in Tan Son Nhut. Bien Hoa. I always get confused which ones are the big areas there. I think it was Tan Son Nhut. And you got to realize first, and you know this, as soon as you get off the plane, you go [big sigh]. Man, it was hot. The stink, the country stinks, dirty, and it's just a real shock. So you get off that plane and just, it's hot. It just gets you. So we get on a bus to go to the replacement center and there was screens, a chain link on the windows. And I said to driver, "So, what's the chain link for it?" He said, "That's so that kids can't throw 00:18:00grenades in there." And I said, "Okay." He said, "Welcome to Vietnam." So we went to the replacement center. I don't even remember how long I was there, but at some point-- we probably weren't there more than 24 or 48 hours, but at some point somebody said to me, "We need you. We want you to go up in a train to talk to a captain [inaudible], you're a personnel specialist" And I said okay, so I get on a plane. I'm assuming-- it's one of those things, I don't remember how I got there. But somehow I got to the train, met with this captain, and he said, "We need a personnel specialist in 4th Battalion, 60th Artillery." [inaudible] He said, "When we reviewed the things, talked about things," and obviously, he said to me, "You're not going to do the ID thing anymore." I said no, that was a dumb thing. I'm cool. It didn't matter, by the next day, I was in An Khe in the personnel office of 4th Battalion, 60th Artillery [inaudible].
BERRY: That'd be at Camp Radcliff at An Khe?
BUZZELL: Camp Radcliff, correct. In An Khe. I always forget the name, I alwaysforget it's called Camp Radcliff.
BERRY: And what unit were you assigned to there?.
BUZZELL: 4th Battalion, 60th Artillery.00:19:00
BUZZELL: With B-29 searchlights attached to it. I think it was the B-29, yeah.Okay. [inaudible] [laughter] Dusters are 240 millimeters, anti-aircraft. Dusters are actually-- what are they, M43s? M43s or something, I don't remember the number. But they're actually World War II weapons, they're anti-aircraft weapons, but they're 20-40 millimeters on a track, on a tank track, very effective on the ground because there really was no aircraft to worry about in Vietnam, its very effective on the ground. They can shoot about six hundred rounds a minute if they can keep them loaded and if they ran, they ran patrols, convoys, they were on [inaudible] duty in firebases, but every effective. Believe it or not, even though we were in the II Corps, we were assigned to the I Corps, even though we were in II Corps. And most of the Duster-Quads were up I Corps. And then Quad-50s were just with the [inaudible] just four 50 caliber machine guns in the back of a "deuce and a half" and again, ran patrols, 00:20:00convoys, did perimeter, and all these vehicles, even if you knocked them out, they could still function because they were mechanical. They weren't computerized. So even if you knocked the track off or you shot out a tire, these guys could still function.
BERRY: The weapons would still--
BUZZELL: The weapons would still-- [inaudible] These were all-- they wereindependent of the vehicle itself, so to speak.
BERRY: What were these convoys involved with? They were going down Highway 19back and--?
BUZZELL: It depends on what-- again, the Dusters and Quads, all of them[inaudible] just one of many Duster battalion, Duster-Quad battalions, there was-- I wish I brought the history book with me. That was stupid. There was a whole bunch of them listed in there. But they were assigned all over the country. In other words, they were independent vehicles. So in other words, they might assign two Dusters to some Marine division up [inaudible], they might assign a couple of Quads down in the Mekong Delta. So these all guys all ran independent. So only time we saw them in An Khe is if they were processing troops 00:21:00or something for the war or something like that, or coming in out of country. So in the history of the war, we were one of the few type of units that was never actually a unit, if that makes sense. In other words--
BERRY: So what you're saying is that the headquarters for the 60th Air DefenseArtillery was at An Khe--
BUZZELL: It was An Khe, correct.
BERRY: --but the different units in that might be anywhere in the country.
BUZZELL: Anywhere in the country. Most often in I Corps, II Corps, or sometimesdown in the delta. But in other words, they would come in and say, there's a Duster. You're going to go now be with the 1st Marine Division. That's your job. You go up there and be with them. But you're an independent operation. But you do what they ask. And the same thing with convoys, usually they assign them in pairs probably, it wasn't like it was independent Duster but like, pairs of Dusters would be paired with Quad-50s for assignment someplace. So these guys were all over the country. We had no idea where they were. So we just kept the records. But that was just for 4th Battalion, 60th Artillery and now you see, 00:22:00there was like, four or five other divisions of Dusters and Quads around the country that had their headquarters in other places. But they were all independent, so they were very few, very seldomly Dusters and Quads in An Khe. And if they came, it was for repairs or they came there to go someplace else. So you didn't see those guys too often. [inaudible] So I was able to use a Quad-50 because one was in long enough. They all had us sitting in and running Quad-50. So we all know how that works. I never had a chance to a Duster because they were just never there. Quads would come through quite often. They were a little bit mobile. So I did learn of these Quad-50s. Pretty cool weapon. Pretty cool. And they worked, it was totally independent, little [inaudible] engine on and you start the thing up and then you can totally run it. [inaudible] video game today, little handle there with buttons on it and you just kind of move it up and down and push the button to shoot. It was pretty cool. But Dusters, I do know enough how they work because I've read enough about them and talked to enough guys who used them, but they were just 20-40 millimeters. They had four rounds in the magazine and you can drop four rounds at a time in their buffer so 00:23:00they go [imitating gun sounds]. One barrel after the other. Biggest problem they have in Dusters is the burning out the barrels.
BERRY: Because they were just fired too quickly?
BUZZELL: Firing too fast, yeah. Took a [inaudible] rate of fire at around 600rounds a minute. Problem is, you melt the barrels. Now, I [inaudible] spare barrels. But a lot of guys burn themselves replacing barrels when they're hot because you're in the middle of valley now, now you've got to have another barrel on there.
BERRY: Can you tell us about the projectile that the 40-millimeter fired?
BUZZELL: It's a 40-millimeter round. It was about probably-- I want to say-- howlong was it? A foot and a half? Two feet long? And 40-millimeter diameters on the sides of it. And I have one sitting on my-- there's a picture of one of my-- because it's sitting on my desk, there's one sitting there, but it's pretty big round. It's a 40 millimeter round. It would go-- it would travel a thousand meters? Accurately, something like that.
BERRY: It had a high explosive projectile--
BUZZELL: Yeah, high explosive. Then they had different kinds of projectiles on atube and most of them were high explosive. Viet Cong did not like them because they were very devastating, because with that kind of rate of fire, they can blow up a lot of stuff. So the very fact of the Marines and the Marines, I 00:24:00believe, now and again, we spent-- most of our guys were with Marines. The Marines loved them because Marines didn't have any. And then later on, not in our unit, but later on, they brought in the Vulcans and Chaparrals, which they were testing in Vietnam at the time [inaudible]. The problem with those, we heard from reports was that because of the moisture and the dirt, they didn't operate all that well but the Chaparral was the-- I want to say that was a gatling guns on a track and the Vulcans were rocket launchers on a track. So they tested those for a while but none of them I don't think were ever assigned to us, but they did have Chaparral and that was what was [inaudible]. Their idea was that's what was going to replace the Dusters and Quads. Well, they never did because they never worked. They were never that effective. So Duster-Quads were a very, very effective weapon. And of course, now we had searchlights attached to us. And of course, our job was to light the battlefield. We actually had one on the top. I don't believe the one on top of Hon Cong was assigned to us. He was assigned to another Duster-Quad unit. But we could watch by night. When it was cloudy, they could actually reflect off the clouds and light up a field many 00:25:00miles away. A firefight. And it was pretty cool. They did a lot of direct lighting. And then I remember one time they brought in-- I don't know what the candlepower it was normally but they brought in a million candlepower light one time just for showing us, "This is the new light." This thing was so big that it had to have its own generator. I had this on the street, so they had a Jeep and the generator and the light but they said this light, if you focus it and walk in front of it, it would kill you. And fry you. This thing was so powerful. And I don't know where they went or how effective they were, because the ones we had weren't quite that big, the ones we really used. But they said this thing was just--
BERRY: They would use those lights, obviously, a light up the perimeter at nightso you could see what you were shooting at and so forth?
BUZZELL: No, I'm not exactly sure what they did with the searchlights. I justknow that we had one attached to us and I know what the one in Hon Cong Mountain did, but if you're up high, you can light 10, 20 miles away, if you were up high enough. And you could also reflect it off the clouds. But you're right that most of it was probably used if they put it in the firebase was to light up the 00:26:00jungle. There weren't that many searchlights in [inaudible], it wasn't like we had Dusters and Quads. There was only a few. It's just that with any anti-aircraft unit, if you think about historically, you always had a spotlight with you. That's how the Army thought. You had to have a spotlight because these were anti-aircraft weapons even though we weren't used for that so that's how they thought.
BERRY: Tell us about the living conditions at Camp Radcliff.
BUZZELL: They weren't horrible. Thanks to the 1st Cav, we had concrete floors,we had wood barracks with the wooden slats up the side of the screening to lay there and it was cramped. Like 10 or 20 guys in a barracks.
BERRY: These were open barracks? Or did you have cubicles in them?
BUZZELL: Nope, open barracks. The only cubicles were-- I think some of thebarracks has had-- what I'm trying to think of-- an NCO in charge, so he might have his own room but most of them were open barracks. So we just had lockers 00:27:00between us. And so I had a locker and then I'd have a bunk then there was a locker there and the next guy there's a bunk. And you had your footlocker down at the bed. And you had use the mosquito netting. So I would say it wasn't horrible. It wasn't horrible.
BERRY: What about the food?
BUZZELL: The food was okay. I don't remember anything bad about it. It was a lotof powdered stuff. But I do remember that the biggest problem we have is the Vietnamese always would steal the spoons. Anyways, it was funny, they wanted spoons, so every time we'd go in there, there'd be no spoons. How do you eat soup without a spoon? But food was okay. We had K-rations and we had K-rations so if we really didn't like we're eating up there, we could just eat up some K-rations. The food wasn't bad. The biggest problem you had in the camp there was no running water. We did have a shower but there's no flush toilets or anything. If you wanted your water, you had to get it off a bag hanging on a tree so it tasted like the canvas and was all pretty warm. And then we had a shower that had a steam water line and they'd come in and fill in every day. 00:28:00[cough] And I was actually in the shower one day when the steamroller took off and everyone came running and they said, "This thing's going to blow." So I ran on and it blew the end of the shower off. Blew the end of the building off. So for about a week we had no showers. We had to take showers in the officer showers, which they did not like at all. They did not like us using their showers, but of course, they didn't want us dirty either. [inaudible] But they complained. Took them about a week to rebuild it. But this thing blew out-- fortunately I got out of there. I don't know if it would have killed me, but it did blow the building down. [laughter] And of course about flush toilets, you remember the old 55, you know, they cut off the bottom of a 55-gallon drum? Put diesel fuel in it? That's where you took your bowel movements and then they'd pull it out every day and burn it. And then you had the 55-gallon drums buried in the ground for your urinals. [inaudible] Worst [inaudible] about that was, when a guy'd get too drunk and fall in them. So that was-- you probably remember all that stuff, too. I told my kids, I said it was just like you're back camping. You just think about what year it was, you know, maybe if you shaved, 00:29:00you shaved out of your helmet, if you didn't shave in a shower. If you didn't have hot water, everything was cold. You want to drink water, you had to go take it out of the bag on the tree.
BERRY: So what did you guys do for recreation when you were off duty?
BUZZELL: It was pretty boring. I read a lot, played a lot of poker games. Weread a lot. And obviously we drank way too much because you had to have an NCO-- [inaudible]
BERRY: Did you have an enlisted man's club?
BUZZELL: Yeah. We had an enlisted men's club. They kept pretty well stocked ofbeer but there are a few times where you didn't have any-- you know, the beer would be warm because they didn't get it through town. There were times when there wasn't beer at all. And then for a while we ran movies. I actually was a projectionist and we ran movies like once a week. The problem of that was that a lot of the first sergeants ought to be funny to throw tear gas in, which they used to do. See how prepared we were. We finally got wise to remember the second time. Everybody took their gas masks with them so they couldn't interrupt the movie and they quit doing that, but that was kind of a drag. But it's just like anything else. A lot of boredom. You have a lot of boredom and the adrenaline when you get hit.
BERRY: Do you make any lasting friends while you're at An Khe?00:30:00
BUZZELL: I did but again, I never kept in touch with them. Now I've found someof them since then but I have to admit, I should have kept in touch with them but I didn't. I'm going to be honest, I got home, life went on and I went about something else and forgot about them. A year is not enough because people are rotating through all the time. [sneeze]
BERRY: And did you get an opportunity to spend any time in the field?
BUZZELL: No, not actually in the jungle or anything. I ran a lot of convoysbecause I got picked for whatever reason. Didn't hear a click yet so it's still turning. But I was always picked to make supply runs at Quy Nhon, which was about an hour away through the end.
BERRY: Okay, Greg, you were talking about your experience at An Khe at CampRadcliff. Why don't you continue with that?
BUZZELL: You asked if I was ever on the field. I wasn't on the field per say. Ican kind of elaborate on that. Obviously, we all had to pull guard duty. And also every time you got hit, you had an assigned duty or you went to the bunker, 00:31:00depending on whether that was your night to be out on assigned duty. But I do remember getting hit every time because we got hit maybe once a month. I wasn't bad. They weren't really shelling us or trying to hit the helicopters behind us sort of right next to the golf course. You probably remember the golf course, right? Sort of right behind the golf course-- should I explain what the gold course was? Why it was called that?
BUZZELL: Okay. You wouldn't happen to have water in here, do you? I need somewater or [inaudible]-- [break]
BERRY: Go ahead, Greg, You were going to tell us a story.
BUZZELL: I think I was talking about guard duty. Everybody had to pull guardduty on the base and we were no exception. And you pulled it in different places around the Quy Nhon. I should probably describe a little bit of Camp Radcliff so people understand what I'm talking about. It's a fairly big base. I remember it was large. I don't remember-- it was huge. inside the base with Hon Cong Mountain, which we had a perimeter around Hon Cong Mountain and there was a radar facility and a searchlight on top of Hon Cong Mountain. It's also where air traffic control was. But in between was all Charlie, so this was inside the base. A lot of the time they'd shoot at you during the day every once in a while 00:32:00and we'd shell it all day, the number that they'd shell were 105s all the time, just to keep them in their caves. But when you pull guard duty, depending on where you were, it can be pretty easy. [inaudible] --all kinds of guard duty. In our compound itself, we had a tree house which had a guard on a night. We also had several foxholes with M-16s, [inaudible], which you'd put guard duty in. Plus we also had-- our motor pool was right on the Green Line. So we always had somebody stationed in the motor pool and a motor pool duty was the obvious first line of defense because you were right there on the Green Line. But if you weren't pulling guard duty, the other thing is you might be assigned to a particular task when you got hit. I remember one instance, [clears throat] my job was to get on a [inaudible] and rob the Green Line at some point along Green Line. As the first line of defense, we were getting hit. So I get on the [inaudible], we run up there, and there's mortars going off everywhere and 00:33:00they're shooting.
BERRY: When you say you get hit, that was normally mortar rounds coming in?
BUZZELL: Not only mortar but along with that, there could be Viet Cong coming inwith satchel charges. They normally weren't trying to hit us or more after the helicopters. But of course, they might have to go through us to get there. But one night we got hit and my job was to go up on the [inaudible] and have a bunch other guys and go up the Green Line, a pretty good spot in the Green Line and we were to defend that. So I jump off [inaudible] up there and sergeant hands me a M79 and says, "You're the M79 guy tonight." And I said, "Well, I've never used an M79." He says, "You break it apart like a shotgun, but the round in here, close it up, cock it, put it on your hip and shoot it. See where it lands and adjust from there." I said, "Okay." That was my M79 training. Fortunately I didn't need to use it but that was my job that night. [laughter] So typical military, you know this. You never know if they'll hand you a weapon-- I mean, I already had my 16 with me, of course. And if you pull guard duty on the village 00:34:00side of An Khe, that was never fun because the village side was not a free fire zone. And if you don't know what a free fire zone is, free fires and non-free fire zones was where you couldn't shoot unless they were attacking you. In the village side, they shot at us all night. They'd shoot at you. They didn't-- you know, it was barracks. They didn't where the bunkers exactly were. And we'd actually go out and get in a little-- [cough] in the guard bunker, they had a little thing cut out where you could sit down and just your head would stick up so you could just see because you'd have to really sit there and watch because you had the wire, the river, and the village. But they would shoot at you all night. You could watch them [inaudible] flash. You'd see them shoot at you, [inaudible], they'd shoot the next guy down. They'd do this all night and it would just drive us nuts because we couldn't shoot back. If we shot back, they'd court marshal you. Fortunately, as far as I know, they didn't hit anybody. They hit the bunker because I can remember getting rounds hitting my bunker. But you 00:35:00could crouch down so that just your eyes are above, just to watch it. But they'd shoot at you all night. That was never as much fun, that kind of guard duty. Then one other night on guard duty, I was in another place in the Green Line because again, we wee always someplace else. And that's when I had a 50 caliber. That's the one I had my own M14. When I first got in country, we were still given the 14s in '69 because [inaudible] one of the field units. [cough] So I had a 14, I had an automatic on it which I'd never seen before because I didn't think they made them automatics. So that night I thought, this was kind of cool. A fire that is automatic. So we're doing H&I every couple hours, which is harassment interdiction. Mainly we did it just to [inaudible] know we were awake. We weren't sleeping. I think it was summer around the Hon Cong Mountain area, I don't remember exactly where it was in the Green Line. So they said, this H&I, they said, "You want to fire the 50s?" I said sure. So I fired the 50 caliber [inaudible], that was really cool. And then the next one they said, "Just fired your rifle. Just shoot out there. "I said, well. Put them 14 automatics in a magazine and they're 20 rounds. That was pretty cool. And I had 00:36:00an ARVN standing next to me, an Army of the Republic of Vietnam soldier standing next to me who we've already identified, pretty worthless. And he had an M-16. So I take this thing and I start shooting it. I mean, all over. I just couldn't hold it still.
BERRY: So there was enough recoil--
BUZZELL: Oh, it was-- yeah.
BERRY: That weapon climbed?
BUZZELL: It climbed, it went sideways, it went every which way. So after aboutten rounds, there's like 3 seconds, I shot off ten rounds. The distance isn't very good. I looked over, the ARVN was gone. We never saw him the rest of the day. He was gone. So I said, well, now I know why they don't use 14s in full automatics. So I put it back to some semi-automatic and I said, I think I'll leave it there because you cannot control it. There's no way you can control it. And I didn't even know they made them that way, but it was quite an experience.
BERRY: Were you issued a personal weapon?
BUZZELL: Yes. When we first got there, we got 14s and then about probably two orthree months after we were there, they give us all 16s. So yeah, we all had flak jackets and we had each had our own personal weapons with a bandolier of ammo 00:37:00and several grenades.
BERRY: And you would keep that personal weapon with you at all times?
BUZZELL: Actually, we didn't. When we were in the office during the day, wedidn't take our weapons with us because it was relatively safe during daytime. The only time you got hit was at night. At night you didn't go anywhere without a weapon. And of course you didn't leave base without a weapon. For some reason I got chosen all the time, which was fine, to make supply runs to Quy Nhon, which was about an hour away on the coast and you had to go through the An Khe Pass which the An Khe Pass could be scary in of itself. Because we were about 12,000 feet up in the mountains, the Central Highlands. So whenever you went to Quy Nhon, you always took your weapons with you but we'd run down there and you know, the other thing about Quy Nhon is, besides getting supplies, it gave us a chance to go to the beach. We'd get on the beach and we'd [inaudible].
BERRY: How would you get to Quy Nhon from An Khe?
BUZZELL: I'd drive a three quarter ton truck.
BERRY: Just go down Highway 19?
BUZZELL: Yeah, you'd take Highway 19 on. If you're going by yourself, it's fine,00:38:00normally you want to go hook up with a convoy because it's a little bit more protection you get with a convoy. And of course downside of that coming back was it was really slow because of the hairpin turn. But I remember one case, we were down in Quy Nhon, and this is really scary. We were down in Quy Nhon and you had to be back past the last bridge before the pass by 5 p.m., otherwise they'd close the road.
BERRY: An Khe Pass was between An Khe and Quy Nhon?
BUZZELL: Correct. Yes. And we knew this and somehow we got to goofing around onthe beach or something and we lost track of time. I looked and I said, "Crap, we've got to get going or we're not going to make the bridge and then we're going to be AWOL." So we had to be back that night. There's like four of us, we all just jump in the truck. And if you remember, in Vietnam, they had speed limits, believe or not. And they actually had MPs patrolling. That day I didn't care about speed limits, I was going as fast as I could. We're getting close to the deadline to get to this bridge. And so we come through this village, we're 00:39:00going probably 60 miles an hour, come to this village, we hear a machine gun open up. And I have to admit, really everything was kind of in slow motion at that point. We're all sitting there going, okay. When are we going to get hit? For some reason they never hit us and did not want to go ahead of us.
BERRY: This was an enemy machine gun?
BUZZELL: It had to be. There's was no Americans-- There was literally not oneperson on the road but us. There were Vietnamese on the road because they all knew 5:00, get off the road. So we just kept going because we all went on, nobody got hit, no one got hit, so we kept going. We got past the bridge by five. But in hindsight it was really stupid to do this because we were literally, we're the only Americans on the road the entire trip back. And it's a 60 mile trip up through the pass. I mean, dumbest thing I could have ever done. But we were kids, we didn't know any better. So we were glad to get back after that one. And I remember another time I was going out of An Khe to go to Quy 00:40:00Nhon and we got just outside of An Khe before we actually hit the pass and all the traffic stopped. I said, "Why is all the traffic stopped?" If you look over here to the right, there was a firefight going on. There's a tank in there and there's guys going through the jungle and they're shooting. And of course, all of us at sit there and grab our cameras because they're not shooting at us. So we're taking pictures. Actually, I had a film of that and believe it or not, that film got lost somewhere. I do not have that film. I brought it when I came back to the United States. I had three films and I got them back from the drugstore, I only had two. And I should have pursued it at the time, I never did, you know, 1970, I didn't think much about it. So, those are kind of things that happen in An Khe. I'm trying to think of other things. I did some traveling because part of my job was to-- don't ask me why I was always doing the traveling but I was always the one that got picked, when they ask you to do all this extra stuff. So one time a guy got killed, one of our people got killed, but his body got back to Saigon before his paperwork. [inaudible] --to the 00:41:00morgue, back to-- so they call up one day and they said, "Somebody's got to get down here. We need paperwork to send this guy home." And I had the paperwork because I had the 201 forms. So they said, "Buzz, get on the next plane." And o course you know what that meant. That meant you had to find a plane first. So somehow they got a hold of a plane and I don't remember if you remember An Khe, you had the main area, the golf course, which I never finished complaining about that, I'll get back that. But we had the golf course, but then outside of-- not outside the base but off in the remote part of the base, there was an airfield and they had that metal stuff down, what do they call it?
BUZZELL: PCP. They had that stuff down there. It was actually a place for planesto land.
BERRY: PSP, I'm sorry.
BUZZELL: PSP, right.
BERRY: Perforated steel paneling.
BUZZELL: Yeah. Thank you. But that is a remote airfield. I mean, it was outliterally in the middle of nowhere. It was still inside the Green Line. So they put me in a Jeep and I got all my gear, I got whatever I need, a backpack, my 00:42:00M-16, bandolier weapons because I'm going to be traveling. I'll try to get down to Tan Son Nhut. They said there's a plane coming at this time. So they take me over to this remote airfield. They dropped me off, I'm all by myself. There's not a building, there's nothing there. I got to wait for the C-130 to come in. So I finally hear it coming because I'm a little nervous. It's daylight fortunately but I'm a little nervous because I'm it, there's nobody there. I'm a long ways from anything. So the C-130 comes in and lands and you probably know from the firebase, it lands, never stops. It dropped the ramp in the back and they turn around and they wave at me. So I got to run and jump on this thing because they don't stop. And if I don't get on it, they're going to leave without me. So I run up there and I jump on the back and they haul me in and the guy just takes right off again. I don't remember that flight, but that was one flight I took down to Tan Son Nhut. But anyway, I got to Tan Son Nhut, whether 00:43:00it was on that plane or what, those are the details that you forget, the rest of the trip there. So I get there and I deliver the paperwork to the morgue and the guy says, "You got to see the bodies?" And I said, "That's okay. I need to see the bodies. It's fine, here's your paperwork." So from that trip, I did get to spend a couple of days in Saigon because they put me up in temporary barracks because there's no way I was going to get back right away. So I was able to wander around Saigon. And it's interesting, even in Saigon, I didn't feel safe. I didn't have my six, at that time I had bought a .38 sidearm, so I was carrying my sidearm. Even in Saigon, I didn't feel safe because it was crowded. You just don't know who to trust. So I went to Saigon, couple days, and I think going back they put me on a C-141, the jet. And it was kind of weird because the seats were backwards in those. So you're facing the rear of the plane. I thought that was kind of weird but I probably ended up going to Cam Ranh or someplace like 00:44:00that or on the train and then have to get back and I don't remember how I got back. A couple of weeks later I get back to An Khe and I don't remember if that was a trip, my one trip I took some place, it might have been the same one, but the pilot of the 130 I was on was-- well, I should back up. If nobody's familiar with how 130 works, it had canvas seats along the outer walls. There was no pressurization or anything. And so you sat in these seats with no seat belts or anything and if you wanted to go to the bathroom, there was a tin can to pee into and they always had a pot of coffee going, though. But you sit in these and they're very noisy. C-130s, hardly noisy. They always left the ramp open in the back so you got to hear it coming in there and if there was supplies in there, you're also crowded in there with all these big pallets of supplies and stuff. [cough] So one of the flights, [inaudible] a different one, wherever it was going, I had to go to all these firebases first on this plane. So you came into 00:45:00one firebase. I don't know where it was, what it was called, and it was an Australian pilot. Believe it or not, it was not an American pilot. And he came in and he flew really low over the firebase and obviously to see if he's going to get shot at. He went up, stood it on the wing, literally went vertical on the wing, turned it around and came back and landed. Same thing, never stopped. Guys are going on around there just pushing the stuff out the back while he's moving on the runway. Soon as they're done pushing off, he took off again. I mean, we're not even around 30 seconds. But I thought when you sit in the C-130, and I was strapped in, it was pretty spectacular to stand that on the wing. [cough] So that's the kind of travel I took. And I did a lot of flying around there for whatever reason. Never got in a helicopter, though.
BERRY: Did you have an opportunity to go in R&R while you're--?
BUZZELL: Actually, that's interesting because that's another thing, I didn'ttalk to everything about An Khe yet. Let's see, we talked about Hon Cong Mountain. Talked a little bit about it. Talked about [inaudible] on a base, 00:46:00getting hit. If we were bored, what'd we do with boredom. Trying to think if there was anything else. That probably pretty much covers An Khe. I mean, I'm going back to it. But okay, now you can answer your question. I'm just going through my mind. I hope they edit this stuff. [laughter].
BUZZELL: Don't worry about it.
BUZZELL: [Laughter] That's kind of train of thought stuff, you know, rambling.To answer your question, I didn't actually go on R&R. What happened is that, towards the end of what I believe is October of 1969, the Army made a call for qualified individuals to work at an Armed Forces Language School in Vung Tau. They were starting an Armed Forces Language School and the purpose of that was to they were trying to teach Vietnamese soldiers English. Conversational language. And so this went out to all of the units. What they're looking for is, they were looking for an E5 or above, which I wasn't yet, by the way. I was like-- oh, I was an E5 by then, never mind. I was an E5, a Spec 4, a Spec 5. And 00:47:00have some college or a college degree to go start the school. Wow. At that particular time, the sergeant [inaudible] and I weren't getting along too well. He decided that he wanted to get rid of me. He said he put me down on a list to go down there. So I get my orders a few weeks later and I was not upset with this, I said this is fine, I don't care. [inaudible]
BERRY: This was towards the end of your tour, though, was it not?
BUZZELL: Yes, that's right. I'll finish the story here. Yeah, so this time itwas the end of my tour. My job was to go down and set this base up and I would have normally gone home in January of '70. I get my orders, I leave everybody there and they gave me a beautiful plaque, which I have with me, which means more to me than any medal. You guys know [inaudible], it's really cool. I'm going to show the archivist that you guys don't get it, but you could see it. Okay? [laughter] Hopefully my kids will take it. So I got to [inaudible] in November, somewhere in that timeframe. I somehow flew down to Vung Tau to set up 00:48:00our first language school, so we ended up going down and we ended up in this temporary barracks thing. Now, this unit, the Armed Forces Language School unit, was a unit not attached to anybody. Everybody was from the field. It only had one officer and it had a first sergeant. I was actually sent down there to become a clerk. So we had no attachment to anything. Everything we needed, we had to beg, borrow and steal. So I get down there in the temporary barracks and the interesting part of this story is I walked in this barracks and there's this guy playing guitar. I look at him and he's the guy who was in my band in Fort Rucker, Alabama. He's was a guitarist in my band. Talk about a small world. I don't remember what he was down there for or what he was doing. So after a couple of days in this temporary housing, they then decide our permanent place was going to be on the Air Force base right next to the airport. So we finally moved over there, but now we still got to get everything. [inaudible] you've got to go to your lockers, you've got to get everything we need. So we're going around the barracks, we had a Navy truck. We had an old Korean War three quarter 00:49:00ton truck. We had a Jeep and we go around, we're stealing-- well, not stealing, that's not the right word, but we had to get all our stuff together because we're not a real unit. We were not a real unit. [cough] After we put together, get the barracks put up, then-- the school was actually an old French-- I think was a French hospital downtown in Vung Tau. Beautiful building. Beautiful building. That's where the school was so we had to go on and, of course, set that up too. Again, we had the captain, the first sergeant, myself and then all the [inaudible]--
BERRY: Were you sent to this new unit TDY [Temporary Duty]?
BUZZELL: TDY. Everybody in the unit was TDY.
BERRY: Was temporary. Okay.
BUZZELL: Good question. Everybody was TDY. So at the same time we're settingthis up, I heard about a program in the Army that said, if you extend your tour in Vietnam for six months, you get out of the Army early. Well, I'm now in a place that has running water, flush toilets, hot showers, don't have to carry a 00:50:00weapon. Real food. I got it made. This is stupid. Why would I--
BERRY: Close to the beach, too.
BUZZELL: Right on the beach, yup, right on the beach. I'm going, this is stupid.I said, I dislike the Army more at that time than I did Vietnam because I couldn't see myself going back for nine months to play games because in Vietnam, you didn't have to keep quite as neat. If you weren't as shiny, you might have to pull guard duty because you're not shiny. Who cares? We're all going to pull it anyway. So I didn't want to go back to the United States and spend nine months doing military crap. I was a little bit too independent for that. So I said, okay, I'll extend for six months. Because then I can get out of the Army in August instead of November. I'd stay in Vietnam until I got out. And I got a beautiful duty, incredible duty here. You know, why would I--? And again, it's [inaudible] are all away from home but point is, you're still going to be away from home in the United States but you can have crappy duty. You got into [inaudible] and do all this other stuff which we didn't have to do now because this is one of those cases where the officer is just one of the guys, because 00:51:00what's he going to do? He's the only guy there. And he was basically never there because he was always doing other stuff. So the first sergeant and I ran the company. So I re-upped for Vietnam. And with that I got a 30 day leave. So for my third Christmas, I was home for my third Christmas. So I went home in December of '69, came back in January 1970, went back to the school. The school, we set it up, it actually started functioning in December. So I didn't really miss much of it. And I came back [cough] in January and stayed there until August. Now, Vung Tau was interesting because-- well, I should say what we're trying to do. Again, we were trying to teach Vietnamese soldiers how to speak conversational English. And none of us were English majors. I had an English minor because I was taking theater in college, but you don't realize how hard it is to teach somebody else English.
BERRY: Second language.
BUZZELL: Besides that, our language is strange because the word R-E-D can be00:52:00"read" or "red". There's all these things. Same as "can". Is it a can or is it can as an adverb or whatever it is. We had two civilian advisors with us which were there because most of us didn't know conversational English either. Students were not allowed to speak Vietnamese in the classroom. We let them do it occasionally because sometimes some student just wasn't getting it. [inaudible] [cough] But the real reason we were doing it is that these were all Signal Corps students and we're trying to teach them English because in order to learn electronics, you can't translate electronics into Vietnamese because it's too hard to do. So in order to teach them electronics, they had to know English so they can understand what a resistor was or resistance and ampere, volts and all that because that does not translate well into Vietnamese. And then the best students would actually get sent to Fort Dix. They would get sent to Fort Dix so 00:53:00that they would learn more then come back and help train. So that's what we were doing in Vung Tau. So it was a nice setting in [inaudible], we had a USO, really cool, they would give you hamburgers and listen to the latest music. I mean, we had a great [inaudible] I'm not going to tell anybody, this is cool, because we go to the beach all the time. We did work six days a week. Half days. So he had to be there [inaudible]. They didn't care where we lived. You could live on base or you could find a place downtown if you wanted to. We found a place downtown, we'd hang out there once in a while. We got to know a lot of Vietnamese. We got to-- my friends and I got to know one of the girls in the USO that was serving us and the Vietnamese. She asked me one time, she said, "Can you teach us English?" So we said, "Sure." So we used to go down to her place a couple times a week. They'd feed us. Now, most people don't realize, the living conditions of the Vietnamese was horrible. It was a one room house and no running water. The sanitation, they went outside to go to the bathroom in the ditch. Their water 00:54:00was from a cistern. It had a curtain and behind the curtain is where they cooked. And they had a loft, I think, where you could sleep, but basically just a one room shack in a back alley. We'd go down there a couple of days a week and help her and her relatives learn English. Just own her own. They'd feed us. We'd have Chinese food for something because they had no money. So the living conditions for the Vietnamese was really pretty bad. There wasn't quite a contrast in Vung Tau which you could see it in pictures because there were very rich people. On the hills they had all these really nice mansions, in Vietnamese terms, and then down below there's all these tar paper shacks, literally. Tar paper shacks were just crap. The presidential palace was there, I got a picture of that. His palace was up on the mountain and I assume inside of the hill. [inaudible] Thank you. So there was a lot of contrast in the way people lived in Vung Tau. But then about, I guess I'd say about April-- [cough] well, I'm not 00:55:00going to back up. There's a couple of different ways I can tell you. And one time the captain comes to me and he says, "I've got these top secret papers and I need to go over to the Army command." I said, okay, fine. I don't have a top-secret clearance. And so he looks at me and he says, "You have a top secret clearance, don't you?" I said, "No, I don't." He said, "You have a top-secret clearance, don't you?" And I went, "Oh, sure, yeah, I do." He says, "Here." So he gives them to me and of course, I mean, [inaudible] so I had to drive these over to the site like [inaudible] and look at them. And so I drive these things over in compound and give them to some officer there and come back. Because, again, he didn't have an aide. I was his aide and I'm a Spec 5. One other time was payday. And you know as well as I do on payday, if you don't get your money, you're a little irritated, right? So the captain says, "I'm going to be gone on payday." He looks at me and he says, "You're going to have to pay him." And I said, "I can't pay him. I'm not an officer." He says, "I'm not going to suffer the wrath of these guys if they don't get paid." He said, "I'm going to be gone for several days." He says, "You know what I want you to do?" He takes out the 00:56:00sheet and he says, "Here's your pay sheet. When the guy comes in, you find his name, you find how much you owe him, you count it out for him," he said, "and then you give it to him. And the first sergeant will be over here," and he said, "you keep your pistol next to you." Army thing, I guess. You keep your .45 next to you like somebody's going to rob us. I said, this is really not good. [inaudible] he says, I'm not going to put up with it. So payday comes. I'm sitting behind his desk and these guys walk in. And of course they all go [pause]. That shocked look in their face. They say, "What the hell is he doing here? Where's the captain?" They [inaudible] me and I'd [inaudible] them back, I'd get their name, count their money, give them their money, and the whole time I'm sitting there going, "If an officer walks in, we're dead." Because that's quite mercenary. We're dead meat here. But I got through the whole pay thing fine because it just had to be done. The first sergeant couldn't complain about it. The officer captain told me I had to do it. That was a weird story. That was one of those scary things. So we had that. We also had a car bomb one time. We 00:57:00did have somebody bring a car bomb in. I got to work one morning [cough] and there was a Vietnamese or one of the guys says there's a strange vehicle parked back behind the school. So they cleared everybody out. They got in whoever they got in, the bomb disposer, to look at it. [inaudible] They blew it up. I don't know if it was a car bomb or not, but they blew it up just to be safe. So we did that. It wasn't like, 100% safe but 99.9% safe. I also have a picture that we-- Let me back up. Vung Tau was the in-country and our center for the American soldiers plus it was also the headquarters of the Australians and New Zealanders. So it was very neutral, very safe, very neutral. But I do have to have a picture of the Viet Cong, the black pajamas, walking downtown in Vung Tau. They were there, too, but they were unarmed, which is why everybody left everybody alone. But again, they did warn you about safety there because they 00:58:00said don't ride downtown by yourself, I don't want to [inaudible] or anything. One time I had to. I had to go from the Air Force base downtown. I was really uncomfortable because they said they'll gang up on you. And we were not armed and we did not have weapons in Vung Tau. Now, there was an armory. And it was there so that if there ever was a problem, you could get weapons. So that was pretty scary. I did get downtown okay. And then one other time we did actually think we got hit. I'm in the shower one afternoon, again, I loved it because it was a real shower with running-- you know. Got to keep repeating that. After a year of not having running water, this was great. I hear a siren go off. What the hell's the siren going off for? Nobody hits us here. So somebody runs in the shower and he said, "We're on alert. We're getting hit." I said, come on, you guys are kidding me. I was in no hurry so I finish my shower and I go over and I give them [inaudible] and I go over to the Army and they had M14s so I give them M14 and we all lined up. The airport was here, the [inaudible] area was here, 00:59:00the road and the crossroad was the-- I don't know what you called it, delta, but the swamp, there was a lot of water because Vung Tau was kind of in a peninsula. And so we line up along the road. That was our defensive position. We're all just out there talking and smoking and having a good old time. Apparently some sampans had wandered into restricted area. So they put us on alert and they went after them with a bunch of helicopters, you know, chase them away. But that was our only time that we were ever on alert down there. But the barracks living there, and not talking about living there, the barracks there were slightly better than An Khe. They were formatted rooms. But the problem we have is that the barracks were backed up against the airport and the C-123s were backed up against the barracks. So every time they cranked up their engines, we got a barrack full of sand because basically Vung Tau's a big beach. Really sandy. So they crank those suckers up, noisy, and there would be sand blowing all over, 01:00:00crap blowing all over the place. It was awful.
BERRY: These were wood structures-- [inaudible]
BUZZELL: Yea, wood structures with the concrete floors and the slats and thenthe screens went up the hallway. When we walked back to our barracks, 20 feet was the [inaudible] to the airport and there was this 123 park right there. [inaudible] right there. They didn't care about us. A lot of us did stay downtown quite a bit. We had a place downtown we kind of hang out at. There's a lot of good pictures. We had a lot of nice Vietnamese people, some kids. You felt safe. Our hooch made in Vung Tau, and the reason they're called Vung Taus, there wasn't like a camp or anything, it was just Vung Tau, we weren't on the camp, it was actually the Air Force base. But our hooch maid had a really pretty 16 year old daughter. She's a really beautiful girl. Some great pictures of her in there. And I befriended her. I became pretty good friends with her. And so 01:01:00when she'd come by, if I was there, we'd talk a little bit. She knew English. So we talk a little bit. And I bought her a doll one time. No hanky panky going on because I realize she's too young. There's no none of that going on. But at some point, and I remember this not well, but at some point, somebody raped her. So the last thing I remember about her was I drove her and her mom back to their place in Vung Tau. [inaudible] I mean, as I say, that's another-- I call it victims of war. Just the nicest young girl you'll ever meet. I still wonder today whatever happened to her. But somebody did and we're in a safe place. This is not a bad place in Vung Tau. But somebody raped her. We don't have to tell you. My job is to take her home. So I was in Vung Tau and then on April 8, they made me a teacher. They decided to make me a teacher. And I have to back up a little bit and remind you that everybody there had to be E-5 or above and they 01:02:00all came from the field. So we did have people when we sit around after work and have a beer or something, there were some guys that sit there and say, "I don't want a beer, I'd rather be out killing Viet Cong." There were guys that did transfer out because they were sent here because they're a [inaudible]. But they actually liked being infantry rather than doing this. So you'd see some rotating through it. The core people there were there for that first six months and they were pretty much solid. So in April, they made me a teacher. So now I got-- did you run out again?
BERRY: Keep going.
BUZZELL: Oh, okay. [cough] So now I'm teaching English, trying to teachconversational English to-- I have my class. There's some pictures of me with my class. So again, I can come in every day, every morning, work half a morning, Monday through Saturday, and somebody else [inaudible] company clerk. And actually, I reconnected with that guy. I think I know who he is. And I'll tell 01:03:00you another story about how I reconnected with another guy here. I'll tell you about that a little bit later.
BERRY: So you were switched from the company clerk to an instructor.
BUZZELL: To an instructor, yeah. Again, for whatever reason or whether theythought I was that good or not, I don't know. And whether it was a move up, that doesn't mean anything either. It was just different duty. I no longer was the company clerk, but again, the captain liked me. It was one of those things. The captain liked me. We got along well together. I was the right hand man. So maybe he thought I just deserved to be a teacher now.
BERRY: How many teachers were there in the unit?
BUZZELL: That's a very good question. I really don't know off the top of myhead. There's probably 10, 20 maybe. Because each class-- [break in recording]
BERRY: Okay, Greg, we're back on the tape. You were telling us about yourexperience as an instructor in Vung Tau.
BUZZELL: That went pretty well. I learned a lot about English I didn't know,like the fact that we have-- English is a very difficult language because of the 01:04:00way we use things like "can" can be two [inaudible] or "red" can be two different meanings. Because there's "red" R-E-D, there's "read" R-E-A-D, there's "read". So it was extremely difficult sometimes to get students to understand that. They'd ask tough questions. They'd ask, "What 'can' you mean?" And that kind of stuff. So it was a very interesting learning experience. Then sometime in May a reporter came along, don't ask me where he was from but it probably military, decided to do a story on me for my hometown paper, The Delavan Enterprise. [inaudible] so he interviewed me for like an hour to make a story for The Enterprise, send it back to Delavan and it got in the paper. So again, I was doing teaching pretty much until August when I left Vietnam. Now [inaudible] on temporary duty, I did not have to go back to An Khe to leave. Now, of course, by then, I found out later, I didn't know this time, but by then, they'd already moved 4th and 60th from there down to Tuy Hoa. So they weren't even in An Khe 01:05:00anymore, which is probably why they didn't send me back, because [inaudible] I didn't even know where they were.
BERRY: Were you able to process your own paperwork to rotate on?
BUZZELL: That's an [inaudible], I have no clue how I got out of there. All I hadwas orders to go home. Wherever they came from, because, again, we were not assigned to any unit. There was no-- we had no commanding structure whatsoever. We were just a [inaudible] unit. The Navy and the Air Force actually had units in Vietnam called Armed Forces Language School, the Army did not and we were in the Army unit. So I've become connected with them through the Internet. And one of them suggested one time, they wondered if we weren't some secret-- doing something secret because they said they didn't know about us. Nobody knew about us. They were actually taught in the United States and brought over as units to teach. They were mostly in Saigon, Bien Hoa, up in that area. So when I got on the Internet with these guys they're going, "I never heard of you guys." I said, [inaudible]. We got the same patch. We were really in it, but we were Army. I 01:06:00don't know where the papers-- all of a sudden I got papers, [inaudible] here's your papers to go home. You need to you get up to Cam Ranh, you go fly up to Cam Ranh. And I do get up to Cam Ranh, I'm getting ready to go home. And if you remember, in those days, military, you had to wear your blues, you couldn't wear fatigues anywhere so of course, you've got to get your new dress uniform before you leave 'Nam. So believe it or not, all the time, I kept my dress uniform. So I get up to Cam Ranh and they give me another dress uniform. So I'm sitting there and I've got two dress uniforms and I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do with it. [cough] So I just said, okay, [inaudible], picked up a mattress, [inaudible], put it down and left it there. Because I didn't need two of then. We're getting ready to leave Vietnam and that whole wait thing can be like 24, 48 hours and you keep waiting for plane. You're waiting, you're waiting. Of course, you've turned everything so you have no weapons or anything. [cough] So I'm in very close, our plane's actually on the tarmac. We can see it. The siren goes off and we're going, "No, no." We're all sitting there. I can't 01:07:00believe this. I can see my plane and everything just now. So we all had to run out into the bunkers while they-- I don't where they were getting hit but someplace in Cam Ranh, they're getting hit. So we all had to go on alert. I get back on the plane and headed home and this time I know I landed in Seattle. Fort Lewis because [cough] at Armed Forces Language School, but we also had our own badges. They were not-- I don't want to say they weren't military but these badges actually came from the Navy Air Force units. So, on my uniform, they hooked onto your pocket. They hooked in the button of your pocket. That was the [inaudible] badge for my unit. So I'm wearing this for my unit because I got all my medals on and all the crap you wear on your dress uniform in those days until you could get to Chicago when I was officially out of the Army. So I'm walking down the airport in Seattle. I don't remember where I was going but I know I was getting on a plane to go to Chicago, and some young lieutenant walks up to me and he says, "You're out of uniform." I said, "No, I'm not. I've got everything 01:08:00on practically." He says, "No, you're out of uniform. So you can't have a badge." And I said, "Yes, I can. That's my unit in Vietnam." He said, "I've never heard of it." I said, "I don't care. that's my unit in Vietnam." And he says, "Take that off and give it to me." And of course, I still, you know, 12 hours from being officially out of the Army, so I had no choice. I had to take it off and give it to him. Now I regret doing that although I'm not sure what I would have done about it because it took until my son about three years ago finally found another of those badges because they were that obscure. He finally found one for my birthday and sent it to me, which I was very proud of. But I do have my badge back. Now, it's not exactly the same as the one in Vietnam because it's changed over the years but the one you can get is very close. It's so close I'm not quibbling about it, but right up to the end, the Army is still screwing with you. This guy had no clue what's going on because you saw [inaudible] OCS. And matter of fact, I had this badge on and to me, it was wrong. Of course, it wasn't. It was our badges. We wore them every day. So I finally got out of the Army, got home, and pretty much everyone ignored me, including my own family.
BERRY: Where did you go from Seattle? You were actually mustered out in Chicago?01:09:00
BUZZELL: No, I was probably mustered out in Fort Lewis--
BERRY: Fort Lewis, okay.
BUZZELL: But apparently you're still in for 24 hours after that or something.It's like, you can't all of a sudden change into civilian clothes and run home. So I think I was on my way to get on the plane to go to Chicago when this guy [inaudible] me.
BERRY: Tell us about your homecoming.
BUZZELL: There was none. They had to pick me up from Chicago and it was likenothing ever happened. It was like I was never even gone.
BERRY: Did you go back to your grandparents place or--?
BUZZELL: No, no, I went pretty much, by that time, to be honest with you, mygirlfriend was pregnant and I got her pregnant when I was home on leave in January. And I was going to marry her anyway. So I moved to Madison, my favorite city in the world here, Madison.
BUZZELL: Go to Madison, got married, had some kids, life went on. Nobody paidany attention to when I was in Vietnam. Nobody cared.
BERRY: What did you do after you got back? Did you go back to school?
BUZZELL: I did go back to school? I knew I needed to get an education, so I wentto the first school that would take me, which at the time was Wisconsin School of Electronics, which I don't think exists anymore. It was over on Sherman. It 01:10:00was Sherman. I got a degree in electronics and I've been in television for almost 40 years now. Working in television, started at Channel 3. So I got married and I've since divorced my first wife. But I got married and I've had a good life after that. I can't complain. Working in television for almost 40 years, you make a good living.
BERRY: What sort of work did you do?
BUZZELL: I'm a chief engineer of TV. My specialty is building and refurbishingTV stations. I've been all over the Midwest for many years now. I live up in Minocqua where I'm retired. I'm not going anyplace again, I'm not moving again. I'd actually love to come to Madison but that's not going to happen.
BERRY: How did you end up in Minocqua? You worked in Madison for a while.
BUZZELL: After I got out of school, I got a job at Channel 3 here in Madison,and then I went from 3 to 15. I worked there until-- so I worked at Channel 3 from I want to say '73 to '74 and I was at Channel 15 from '74 to '86. And I 01:11:00went from there to Omaha and I was in Omaha for three years and I went from Omaha to Green Bay. I was in Green Bay for a year and it just didn't work out. It was one of those deals that didn't work out. And from Green Bay I went to Cincinnati. I was in Cincinnati for ten years and all my kids graduated from high school in Cincinnati. And then the company that I work for now hired me in 2000 to take over their station at [inaudible], Michigan. So I went up there and in 2007 they sold the station but they wanted to keep me so they moved me to Minocqua. I'm the corporate chief engineer. And in Minocqua I'm taking care of station in Rhinelander and two stations in Bangor, Maine. TV stations, as far as engineering goes.
BERRY: Were you subjected to any problems and so forth being a Vietnam veteranwhen you returned?
BUZZELL: No. People just pretty much ignored me. Just like never happened.
BERRY: Did you essentially keep it to yourself that you were a Vietnam vet?
BUZZELL: I didn't tell a whole lot of people, because I knew there was a lot ofhard feelings about it so I didn't like, broadcast it. You know? But the people 01:12:00that knew me didn't even talk about it and basically it just never happened.
BERRY: Have you joined any veterans' organizations?
BUZZELL: My father-in-law convinced me to join the Legion some 25 years or so.I'm a member of the Legion in Mazomanie in Wisconsin. And a year or so, I joined the American Legion Riders up in Eagle River because I have a Harley. So I do that. But other than that, I'm not real active. In the American Legion Riders I am but the Legion, I'm not because the posts is down here. I've got way too many things on my plate.
BERRY: Did you get involved in LZ Lambeau by any chance?
BUZZELL: We went to it. Yes, we were there. In that respect, we're there. Ithink the greatest thing is [inaudible] I've ever done.
BERRY: So you're pleased with the way that--
BUZZELL: Oh, it was incredible. It was incredible. I mean, there wasn't a dryeye in the house on top of it. I assume you were there, right? That was incredible. We rode over, a bunch of us rode from Minocqua on our bikes and made a trip over there 01:13:00on the Harleys. And we just really loved it. Loved it. I've signed the map, did the whole bit. Incredible experience. I just loved it. And then we also [cough] [inaudible] a network for TV. I make sure our station knew about this. A lot of us local guys are coming down to LZ Lambeau. I said, "You really need to send a reporter down to cover this story." So they sent one of our reporters down and she actually did a story on us and had us talk about briefly how this fell to us. I'll tell you what, none of us got through it. None of us. It was like four or five of us and we all had trouble getting through the interview because, you know, there's [inaudible] all this emotion and I'm getting emotional now. It was emotions. I think the [inaudible] was incredible. When they [inaudible] today's soldiers?
BERRY: Looking back on your military experience, what has it meant to you?
BUZZELL: [Laughter] I don't know. I mean, would I do it again? No, not in amillion years. But it wasn't bad. I learned a lot. There were good times, there 01:14:00were bad times. I certainly would not-- I mean, first I'm not recommending anybody get in the military unless they really want to. I'm not a big gung ho military guy. My brother was a lifer in the Navy, so he's a big military guy. But there's worse things in the world. Quite frankly, I did not have it that bad in Vietnam. It was not that bad. Could have been a lot worse. I highly respect the guys who had it worse. My cousin was a grunt and he came back really damaged and unfortunately died young from an accident. But there's so many people I know that are just really screwed up. But I do have to say, I've had some PSTD occasionally. Is that right? PTSD? Or PSTD? Which one is it?
BUZZELL: I've had something happen to me. [inaudible] I remember one few monthsafter I got home with my ex-wife, we had a little apartment down on Williamson 01:15:00Street and we owned a white car at the time. So one night, she woke me up because she was up for some reason, the baby was awake, or something. But she looked out the window and somebody was getting into a white car outside the window and she woke me up and she saw it was our car. Her car was in the back. And I jumped out of bed and I was going to kill her. I just reverted right back, I'm going for my weapon, where's my weapon? I'm going to go kill him. I scared the crap out of her. And I said, "Don't wake me up like that again. Don't ever do that." I remember fireworks first couple of years back, I didn't like fireworks. And then it happened also, this was back in the 90s, my present wife and I were down in Cancun on a vacation. We went over to Isla Mujer [Isla Mujeres], which was mujer, mujer, whatever it's called, it's called Isle of Women. It's a whole island and we just kind took a boat over there with a bunch of people just kind of hanging out and she wanted to go do some shopping. So we went down this narrow alley. Was probably about as wide as this room, this alley. And on all sides were stores. So she's in shopping and I go in the store 01:16:00and now the problem with this is there was no other Americans there. It was just her and I. A lot of Mexicans. I got in the store and I turned to Jenny and I started to sweat and I'm just really-- I said to Jenny, "We have to get out of here." I said, "I can not be here." I said, "We have to get out of here now." She looked at me and she said I was as white as a sheet. So we walked out of there and as soon as we got out I was fine, but I was in a confined space with no Americans around me and no weapon. I mean, this was the '90s. This was how many years after? And actually I had that happen-- We were just in Colorado to see our kids in end of September. Took the Harley out there. Great ride, by the way. It was incredible. Really good time. But we going up in the mountains pass in the car and I had flashbacks, I get really stressed because I'm thinking of An Khe pass as we were driving up there. I had to get down and I said to Wes [??], "That was not comfortable." Now I could tell there was something wrong. So then the next day I approached the mountain on motorcycle and Jenny says, "You going to be all right? I said, "I'm fine. I'm over it now." [laughter] She 01:17:00didn't want me going over the edge on the motorcycle or anything like that. I do have one story and I'll back up to the one. I do have one story I didn't tell about An Khe which is very critical to my own life, because the reason, you'll know why when I tell it. One night, we talked about the fact that you had to go guard duty at night, so somebody was on guard duty. So one night, around 10:00, I went over the office to do something, or get something--
BERRY: This is back in Vung Tau?
BUZZELL: It was at An Khe.
BERRY: An Khe. Okay.
BUZZELL: Camp Radcliffe, An Khe. I'm back and I walked into the office and oneof the kids in the unit, I don't remember his name, he's an Italian kid, he'd been drinking quite a bit. He was in there with a loaded M-16. And I walked in the office and he pointed it at me and he said "I'm going to kill you." I said, "Why?" He said, "Because I hate Vietnam." He said, "You guys are picking on me because I'm Italian." Which none of this is true, I'd been-- you know. So all he had to do was close the bolt. Now there's a couple guys with me [inaudible] but I'm staring down this M-16. He's only ten feet from me. And I'm just watching to 01:18:00make sure he doesn't hit the button, close the bolt, because I could see the round, as close enough as I could see it. [inaudible] My guess was it was at the top, so he had to close it, want to be chambered?
BERRY: You could see the top of the magazines.
BUZZELL: Right, yeah. I could see the top of the magazine of the thing and he'sgot that 16 pointed at me. He says, "I'm going to kill you." And I said, "Why?" And he said, "Because I'm just going to kill you." [inaudible] He said, "You just happened to walk in the office. And I'm going to kill you." He said, "I was going to kill the next guy to have walked in the office. We finally talked him out of it. I was pretty sure and I really wanted to take the weapon and beat him to death with it. I was that angry but I didn't. We got away from him, we unloaded. Problem is we did something on guard duty we knew we weren't very well protected that night. I said to him, "Let's just forget it. The guy's lonely. It's the first time he's been away from home. He's upset, he's been drinking." He's all these reasons. I said, "He didn't actually hurt anybody." Well, somebody turned him in. So next morning, the colonel or whoever it was in charge of our unit, the major or whoever it was, called me in and I had to tell him 01:19:00what happened. [inaudible] He was gone, I never saw him again. I don't know what happened to him. I feel bad about that because he was a good kid. He just-- it's a lot of stress, you know, war is stress. but that was scary. And I was really scared because he was going to kill me. Fortunately, it wasn't long and we were able to talk him out of it. If I had been by myself and I'm not sure how that would have come down, because I may have been a little bit harder. But that's why he's been up here.
BERRY: Were you surprised at anything during your military service in general?Or were you pretty much as you expected?
BUZZELL: Well, I don't know if I was surprised by anything. The military isnot-- for me, they don't allow a lot of independence. At least they didn't then. A lot of games you had to play to do stuff. But in the right units and right circumstances, things can be pretty good because you do run into officers, or you did run into officers that thought they really were officers, were better than you. I forgot to tell you something else. They did have fraggings in 01:20:00Vietnam. They tried to frag the first sergeant in our unit when I got there. Didn't they get him, though. He managed to see it but he didn't leave his barracks for the next week until he was shipped out. So a lot of things. That was a strange war. A very interesting war. A lot of people didn't want to be there. But again, I still think whether the war was right or wrong has nothing to do with it. But the real heroes of the war are the ones that died or got wounded. I'm not a hero of the war, I just did my job. We all did our jobs. Very few people in there didn't do their jobs. It's a job that you're paid for, get a badge, you did your job. We all gave 100 percent. And then unfortunately, some gave all. That's what's so sad about is. 58,000 guys were killed, really, for nothing.
BERRY: Well, we certainly appreciate the fact that you chose to do this oralhistory interview. Why? Why did you choose to do this?
BUZZELL: I just think people need to know. I think people-- and same thing I didfor my kids, when I wrote that thing for my kids, they need to know-- First of 01:21:00all, they need to know what I did as their grandfather, their father and grandfather. What I think people need to know what war is about. You can't glamorize it. I don't care what you say. There's too many times they glamorize in movies and that. It's glamorized, and you can't do that. Trust me, I'm a war movie buff. I love it. But I'm also realized to know that you don't want to do this. You really don't want to do this. But again, it has to be done by somebody. And I think people should know what they're getting into. Even though I had a relative leave over in Vietnam, it's a moment. It's boring. And then there's this adrenaline because they're shooting at you. You're getting hit. It's dirty, it's stinky. Wherever you're going, whatever country, because people don't live like us in other countries. I came off that plane and it nearly knocked me over, it was so bad. I mean, I have to tell you that the second time I came back from Vietnam, [inaudible] keep telling stories, you keep going back to me--
BERRY: And this is after you went home for the month's leave at Christmas?
BUZZELL: Yeah, for the leave before I went back to Vung Tau. I came back andlanded that plane in Cam Ranh. They said, we're right on this plane, they said, 01:22:00"They're sniping at us." They said, "You guys all get off." [inaudible] run as fast as you can. I'm a veteran. I mean, I'm experienced, I'm okay with this. But all these new guys are about to crap their pants. Because here's their induction to Vietnam. Not only do they have to get off this stinky, hot, smelly country, but now they got to run across the tarmac to get in a bunker because they're shooting at you. That's another group of people I have to give a lot of credit to is the [inaudible]. How they put up the 300 guys going and coming from Vietnam? How they did that, I don't know, because we were pretty abusive [inaudible]. You probably remember that. We were pretty abusive. [laughter] A lot of drinking going on and [inaudible]. I give them a lot of credit for that. A lot of credit for that.
BERRY: Is there anything else you'd like to say?
BUZZELL: I think that pretty well covers it. Can't think of too much. I mean,there's always things you forget. [inaudible] But that should be giving enough. [laughter]
BERRY: Well, thank you for giving the museum your time.
BUZZELL: No problem. [break in recording]
BERRY: Hey, Greg, something else occurred to you? Why don't you go ahead and01:23:00relate it.
BUZZELL: You asked earlier did I keep in touch with anybody when I was overthere. Back when I was working in Cincinnati in the mid-90s, there was a guy that cut audio at the TV station and would come in a couple of days a week and would cut our audio for us. He was our voice. So I got to know him pretty well. He's a pretty nice guy and he'd come in and [inaudible]. One Christmas party, he and his wife came the Christmas party and Jenny, my wife and I, I said to Jenny, "We really ought to go and say hi to Scott because he doesn't know too many people here. He's only here part-time." So we went over and introduced ourselves to Scott and met his wife and we just got talking and somehow something about Vietnam came up. I said I was Vietnam and Scott said, "Well, so was I." And I said, "Well, Scott, what'd you do in Vietnam?" He said, "I worked for the Armed Forces Language School in Vung Tau." I said, "Really? When were you there?" And he said, "1970." I said, "Really? What shift were you on?" Because there were two shifts: the morning and-- He said he was on the morning shift. And I said, "Scott, you and I have to know each other because," I said, "I was the company 01:24:00clerk and teacher there in 1970." And I said, "You and I have to know each other. You and I have to." So we said, okay, we'll go home, we'll go look through everything, because I had an address book I kept that I put everybody's name in this whole keeping in touch thing, which I never did. So I go home, dig out my address book and sure enough, there's Scott's name in there. I got his name in there from wherever [inaudible] Scott Lang [??] back in Illinois. So he goes home and he finds pictures of us. It takes like six months, you know how that goes, it takes like six months for us to get together. Saying "oh, come on, we'll come on over, we'll get together". So about in June-- this was December, so in June, we finally decided we're going to go over their house for dinner or barbecue. So we get over there and get together and sure enough, he was-- They had a language lab in the basement of the school and his MOS was-- I don't know what his MOS was but he did that stuff. He ran audio equipment. So he was in the language lab. So sure enough, turns out we knew each other. Now, did we hang out together? No, but we played some poker or we went to the beach, did a few things 01:25:00together, but he had pictures of the two of us together. I have him in my address book, so we've been best friends since then. Great friends. Can you believe that? 30 years later, just happened to stumble across the guy who works in a TV station in Cincinnati, Ohio. Come on. You know? But he was there. He got out in like October, November, but he was there from like January through that. Basically the first year of the school. So that was my story about do I keep in touch? I keep in touch with him a lot.
BERRY: That's incredible.