Within a few days in 1967, David Hockman graduated from Harvard University, got married and was drafted by the U.S. Army. Hockman would serve for two years, including one in Vietnam near the Cambodian border, as part of Battery A, 7th Battalion, 11th Field Artillery.
The first time Woburn native Charlie Bevilacqua took a train, it was to go to the U.S. Navy training center at Great Lakes, Ill., in 1948. He would serve in the SeaBees (construction battalion) for 30 years, serving in Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and the United States. He was part of the construction crew that built the research bases at McMurdo Sound and at the South Pole in Antarctica in 1957. He also saw action at Inchon in Korea as well as in Vietnam.
Dan Hubbard was born and raised in West Virginia. He served four years in the Army from 1957-61, went back to civilian life and decided it wasn’t for him. So he joined the Marines. Dan talks about his 20-plus year military career in both branches, including his two tours in Vietnam. Dan also talks about the way the military was treated by the media and the public in the 1960s.
David Holly enlisted in the Navy in 1970 and although his background was in art, he was trained to be a medical corpsman. He served at the Chelsea Naval Hospital in Boston, then at the USMC base at Camp Pendleton, CA. There he trained with and provided medical assistance to Special Forces. After leaving the service in 1974 Holly went to nursing school and worked thirty years in the critical care unit at the Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick.
Knowing he would probably be drafted for the Vietnam Conflict, James Hastings nevertheless decided to join the Marine Corps. Training at Parris Island, he wondered “What the heck did I do?” but realized that the USMC strips you down to build you up to be a Marine. Jim tells a gripping story of his time in Vietnam, 1967-68. As a rifleman with the First Marine Division, he not only witnessed, but was a part of a war where friends died and he was severely wounded. The camaraderie he experienced was life-long, and his honest and emotional remembrances of these friends, survival and life after the war are unforgettable.
Fascinated by the Marines as a young boy, Warren Griffin fulfilled his commitment to help with the war by joining the Corps in August 1968 after the Tet Offensive. Describing his “little bit of hell” in basic training, his deployment to Vietnam was delayed as he was sent to jungle training and language school. Warren went as part of the ANGLICO unit of Marines to support the South Vietnamese Army as a forward Naval gunfire observer. With humor and clarity he tells of being sent to Dong Ha near the DMZ, and then of his 10 months in the Mekong Delta with the 21st RVN Division. He speaks of the unrest at home during 1969-1970 and the racial turmoil in Vietnam after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Warren’s commitment to his country continues today, volunteering with veterans’ organizations and helping the returning vets receive the assistance they need after combat duty.
Michael Green grew up in Reading, Mass., and joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1969. He was sent to Vietnam, where he served with the First Battalion, 5th Marine Division, as part of a rifle company. He served in Vietnam for nearly a year, took part in several skirmishes against the enemy and experienced the aftereffects of Agent Orange, including cancer.
William Gallagher enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1965 and served in the Air Police at Otis Air Force Base and in West Germany and was discharged in 1968. He then volunteered for the Army and was sent to Vietnam, where he was assigned to the Civil Actions Office which was responsible for distributing donated goods to civilians. Fracturing his hand near the end of his tour, he went to the 106th General Hospital where he saw “the real wounded.” Gallagher provides graphic descriptions of his experiences in Vietnam, which has served as a source for his poetry. He reads two of his poems, “Self-Pity,” and “The Wall,” which he read at the Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall when it was in Natick in June 2011.
James Foley joined the Marine Corps in 1966 and was sent to Vietnam in 1967. He served with the 3rd Marine Division in the infantry as a machine gunner team leader. Foley took part in the Tet Offensive in 1968, and was awarded a Purple Heart for wounds received during that action.
Dan Foley was born and raised in Natick, and joined the Marines after graduating from Natick High School in 1967. He became a field radio operator, and served in the 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, while in Vietnam from 1968-69. He would help monitor other units’ radio transmissions; he also took part in “road sweeps” to remove mines.