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"To Fight for an Ideal, I Knew Nothing About"


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If you have seen my Instagram account, @militarycurator, then you know I enjoy talking with veterans. I'd like to share a story plus a picture of a man named Larry Hazelwood of Toano, VA. He would serve in Vietnam as a door gunner. This is but one story from Mr. Hazelwood. I plan on posting a Christmas story about Mr. Hazelwood in December. I hope you enjoy.

 

The clinking of 7.62 shell casings rattle throughout the UH-1 Huey flying overhead of an intense firefight. Hundreds of Viet-Cong and NVA regulars charge en mass out of the tree line, lescending on an utterly outgunned group of engineers repairing a telephone wire in the jungles of Vietnam.

"Hold on Specialist, we're going in," hollers the pilot, steering the craft towards the soil, littered with blood, shell casings, and telephone wire.

Larry Hazelwood gripped on the side of the helicopter with one hand and pulled the trigger of his M60 machine gun with the other, laying down heavy and accurate fire support during the descent. The chopper lands and the engineers begin running to the helicopter like men possessed. Larry held out his left hand to pull six men inside and uses his right to lay down superior fire on the incoming communist hoard. The pilot nods to Larry and takes off after the engineers are on board. The spray of machine gun fire roars back to life as Larry begins to cover the helicopter. As they flew back to base, he asked one of the puppy eyed engineers for a cigarette. When he received it, he put it onto the cherry red barrel of the machine gun to light it and took a drag. The engineers stared in awe at this action.

This was one of the most heroic events that Larry participated in but in his interview, shrugged it off as "just another day."

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