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Les Heller

“I was young and I was a proud American. I served my country with pride. I grew up quick and would recommend it for anyone. The camaraderie stayed with me throughout my service, and I still think of what I went through and the friends I made.” Dates in Vietnam: 1971–1972 Branch of Service: U.S. Air Force Rank during active duty: Sergeant

Heller enlisted at age 17 and worked as an air traffic controller. He recalls the time he left his high school ring on a shelf in a shower tent. On his way back to retrieve it, the tent was attacked. He was blown off a wall and later lost the function of his left kidney due to the back injuries he sustained. Between the action, he was able to send letters and cassette tapes home to his loved ones. Heller and his thengirlfriend, Ruth, got engaged through a cassette tape. They recently celebrated their forty-third wedding anniversary.

William E. Sidberry

“Nothing prepares you for Vietnam, even though we were trained for what to expect.” Dates in Vietnam: 1969–1970 Branch of Service: U.S. Army Airborne Rank during active duty: Sergeant

To his family’s displeasure, Sidberry had always wanted to join the Army. When he was 18, he volunteered for service. He did not tell his family he was going to Vietnam until the day before his flight. For extra luck, he carried around a pocket Bible given to him by his younger sister. An airborne infantryman, he saw combat within his first month overseas. He recalls, in list-like form, what he remembers most vividly about his time in Vietnam: the loss of life, the war, the protesters, the sounds, the sights, the monsoons, the jungles, the leeches, the heat. b

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

March 2015 •

Salt

53

Profile for Salt

March Salt 2015  

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

March Salt 2015  

The Art & Soul of Wilmington

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