Sammy Cameron, US Army 1969-1971
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My name is Sammy Cameron, Mt Vernon, MO. I served in the Army from Feb. 12, 1969 to Jan. 20 1970. I went in as a private and came out as an E5. I was drafted. I always felt like I was going to go one way or the other. I guess they actually drafted me before I ever joined. I had a chance to go to reserves but I decided against that. I decided to just go active duty.
The only thing I’ve really got to say is I remember I was gone to Alaska for 16 months before I came home and when I got off the plane in St Louis there were people standing in line as we got off. They spit on us and called us baby killer, baby murderers. In retrospect, years later I thought of the 58,000 people that died over there that gave them the privilege, the right, whatever they thought they had to spit on me.
I was home for 16 months was there another few months until my dad passed away. Came home on emergency leave, I came home, got out. I was proud to do what I was supposed to do. I didn’t feel like for years that I did enough. I felt like I should have went to Vietnam. I guess the army and the lord had different ideas for me. I’ve kind of came to terms with that where I’ve decided that I did what I was supposed to do.
It was a good experience. I had some good times. I met a lot of good, good people. There’s a few of them I still stay in contact with. I lost, we’ve lost a few of them over the years. I had one real, real good close friend and I’d been looking for him for 25 years. We finally found him on the internet where he had died probably a year after he got out of the service, it was in a car wreck. That was kind of a blow cause I always wanted to see him again. From time to time I think about the guys that I served with. They were all pretty good. There’s probably about 10 or 12 that I was really close to when I was in the service. Anyway, I think most of the guys that I served with felt the same that I did. They had a job to do. We just done our job, what we were supposed to do. Never thought about whether it was right or wrong. We just did what we were supposed to do.
I cant say I really enjoyed the military but like I said I had a lot of good, I met a lot of good friends. Had a lot of close relationships with the guys that I served with.
My job really consisted of, I was holdover when I left Leonard wood and they thought I was either going to Vietnam, or Greenland or Alaska. I ended up going to Alaska and I spent 19-20 months up there in Alaska at Fort Wainwright at Fairbanks. I was in a MHE shop which is a forklift generator shop. I was attached to a heavy equipment shop. I started out I was supposed to be a heavy equipment operator and I ended up as a mechanic. That’s just the way the army did things.
I was glad when Jan. 20, ‘70 came around cause I got out and never thought about it again.