An ex-Vietnam Veteran Recalls His Experience

An ex-Vietnam Veteran Recalls His Experience

Veterans of the Vietnam War have not served in the South China Sea region for more than 50 years. They're the last people to hold on to pieces of history that many have no direct connection to or have forgotten all together.

The 79-year-old Flammond vividly recalls his service, complete with two years in Vietnam during the U.S. armed forces, the last eight at Fort Huachuca.

Flammond says he was 21 when he got the draft notice in 1964 while living in California. He called in rather than wait for the draft.

"I didn't do anything else - I lived by myself in California and just thought it was time," Flammond said. 'If I am going to go, let me choose what I want to do, not what they wanted.' Basically, if I had done what they wanted, I'd be in the infantry...And That was not what I wanted, so I just joined."

In his description of his military service, Flammond said he served in the Adjutant General Corps or AG Corps and was only engaged in combat during the Tet Offensive of 1968.
Seeing dead people on the streets wasn't a completely foreign experience for Flammond.

That was the only time I think I fired my weapon a few times, Flammond said. "I saw dead soldiers - Vietnamese soldiers dead - and other things. Never, however, American soldiers.
"We had a soldier killed by a rocket on the Tet of '68 compound. Occasionally, rockets could be seen, but it was not a constant barrage."

“I used to play (pingpong) with the Vietnamese when I was in Vietnam,” Flammond said. “He couldn't stay overnight in the barracks because he was Vietnamese.". On days I was able to see him, we played pingpong together during the day.

In 1972, Flammond got married and the couple had two kids. The Flammond's wife, Carol, passed away in 2015 and is buried in Sierra Vista.

In 1986, he was stationed at Fort Huachuca and was a sergeant major in the headquarters and Greely Hall in information systems. Following his retirement from the military in 1994, he opened a frame shop called "Frames by Flammond" which he ran for 19 years.
His roots aren't in Sierra Vista, but Flammond's 'round here.

His grandparents raised him on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where he grew up in a town on the reservation called Saint Francis.

The first four years of Flammond's education were spent at a parochial school. Walter T. Flammond was in the civil service, and my grandma and grandpa lived in Rosebud.

During his stay in a small town, he remembers the simplicity and closeness of small-town life.
My grandmother ran the post office, Flammond said. We used to watch movies by projecting them on to the wall. "Even little kids, 14 and 15, drove their pickup trucks. They were helping their mom and dad."

George Jacob Kills-In-Sight, an elder of the Rosebud Reservation, was the grandfather of Flammond's grandfather. John F. Kennedy shook his hand in Sioux Falls during his presidential run.

He's been diagnosed with diabetes since 2008, and his legs have both been amputated. Presently, he resides at Prestige Assisted Living in Sierra Vista using a motorized wheelchair.
“The pain was just so great I couldn't tolerate it anymore,” he said. Amputation of his right leg took place in October 2019, and his left leg in April 2021.

The fact that many Vietnam War veterans are approaching their 50th anniversary of service in this war emphasizes the importance of recording their stories.

In Tucson, Butch Morgan, the president of Chapter 106 of the Vietnam Veterans of America, said it is imperative to preserve veterans' stories so that future generations can remember the past.