INDIANPOALIS – Nearly four decades ago, The United States ended its involvement in Vietnam. The nearly 10-year war divided the nation, defined a generation and changed how the U.S. Military would operate.
And one Hoosier Hero is recounting his time in the country, just as the U.S. involvement was escalating.
“It was heck, hectic sometimes,” Michael Monroe said, a U.S. Army veteran.
While many Americans witnessed the war through television, Monroe witnessed the war firsthand as part of the 205th Ordinance Platoon, landing in Qui Nhon, Vietnam in 1965. From there, Monroe wnet to Ankae as an explosives operator.
“We unloaded trucks from coming in from the ammo dump, we unload them and stack them up,” he said. “And when troops come in and needed it, we loaded them back up.”
Monroe, who now lives at American Senior Communities, Washington Healthcare, recently recalled his mission. From Ankae, he was reassigned to Pleiku, an airstrip established by the South Vietnamese Air Force at the start of the war.
Monroe said he had to stay focused on two duties.
“Just had to,” he said. “Especially when you had to unload the dead, and had to load the back up with ammunition, all we’d do is take up buckets of water and wash the blood off the floor to get the ammunition back in there.”
While difficult, Monroe said comradery is what held the troops together.
“We depended on each other,” he said.
Monroe spent 8 months, 21 days and 8 hours in Vietnam. After his service in the Army, he spent 10 years with Indianapolis Power and Light before working for Comcast and building towers.