Cliff, a lifelong resident of Forest Park, was born November 3, 1944. He served in the U.S. Army as an artillery battalion in Viet Nam with the rank of Sergeant E5. Cliff was drafted at age 20 in August of 1965. Although he did not have the benefit of a college deferment and saw young men flee to Canada to avoid the draft, Cliff embraced his desire to do his duty for his country. Within only one week after completing his physical, Cliff was sent to Fort Knox, KY for basic training, then to Oklahoma for artillery and infantry training for deployment to Viet Nam. Orders quickly changed as Cliff’s unit was re-routed to Hawaii for jungle warfare training where rigorous training took place in a climate and terrain that was similar to that of Viet Nam. Trainings included ambush training, mountain climbing, belly river crossing on a rope. After being transported to Viet Nam on a ship housing 3,000 soldiers, Cliff was a member of the artillery battalion with duties of providing artillery supply by convoys and helicopters and firing rounds to protect South Viet Nam Army bases. The artillery battalion went to many operations wherever Viet Cong were spotted. Viet Cong would find U.S. artillery rounds that didn’t explode and bury them in the roads. When his artillery convoy made contact with the unexploded rounds, Cliff endured a concussion when a huge explosion occurred where he witnessed many casualties and serious injuries. Cliff extended his time in Viet Nam by two months for an early Army discharge in July 1967. He was awarded an Army Commendation Medal Against Hostile Forces. Upon returning to the U.S., young people spit on the ground as Cliff and his fellow soldiers dressed in uniform came off of the plane. Despite the political unrest of the times, Cliff is proud of his service and would do it again for his country. He feels comfortable talking to other veterans and proudly wears a Viet Nam Veteran cap. Cliff continued his willingness to serve under pressure as a Forest Park Fire Fighter for 33 years and has been retired since 2003.
Our Neighbors, Our Hero Audio Story
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