Vietnam War Commemoration


Jack Hardin

Years of Service during the Vietnam War:


Position and Branch of Service during the Vietnam War:

Sergeant, US Army

173rd Airborne Brigade (Sky Soldiers; Thundering Herd)

Where were you deployed:

II Corps – Central Highlands

  • Pleiku
  • An Khe
  • Tuy Hoa
  • Buon Me Thuot

What caused you to join the military:

Lost my student deferment during transition from Humboldt State to Sacramento State and decided to volunteer for the draft. Since I grew up in the military (US Marine Corps) I was used to taking orders and the disciplinary lifestyle.

What was the transition like when you returned home?

Relatively smooth, since I met my soon to be wife shortly after returning from Vietnam while stationed at Fort Ord, and I was focused on completing my service so I could pursue a B.S. degree in Geology at San Jose State.

Most significant memory:

  • Uncovering a sophisticated Viet Cong infantry training facility hidden from aerial view by a natural, thick triple canopy
  • Inserting myself into a tunnel (tunnel rat) and discovering a subterranean Viet Cong field hospital
  • Being caught up in a friendly fire situation
  • While awaiting medivac transport from the field due to pungi stick wounds, discovered a Viet Cong encampment that was used to make and distribute pungi sticks

What do you wish that civilians would understand about military service?

It requires you to grow up quickly, understand the benefits of discipline, and putting your comrades lives above your own.