John Sutor, Vietnam Veteran
“My enlistment date was October 14, 1964.
In the first months of deployment, it was rough, to say the least. One day you are sitting there with a squad member, and the next you were loading his body onto a chopper with his face blown off. You become hardened, and even to this day, I feel the same way about death. When Dad died, it was like, “okay he’s gone.” It was like he went to Florida and I haven’t heard from him since December 1993. Yet when we had to put one of our pooches down, I cried like a baby.
I know it comes from so much death and destruction. Killing became easy. They were no more than targets. I was sure that we were no more than targets to them too. That was my thinking at the time. I had no respect for the enemies because I just wanted to kill as many as I could and get out alive. I would take trophies from their bodies and pass them out. Yes, that person is still in me but has been under control for the last 48 years. I think the only thing that would flip the switch on is anyone hurting my grandchildren or my wife, and I’ll leave it at that.
The people I served with can’t be measured in friendship. I really have no friends. I have acquaintances, and then I have my brothers. I have buddies that I like hearing from now and then, but that’s as far as that goes. For instance, one of our brothers passed away several years ago. My company commander asked if I would have his back during his eulogy, and without hesitation, my wife and I were on our way to DC for one of ours. I didn’t know him, but he was one of the company commander’s top squad leaders. It’s simply mutual respect, and most of A/2/502 1966 has it.
Growing up you have friends, but there is nothing to compare to the person you were in battle with.”
~ John Sutor, Vietnam Veteran
John’s full story appears in the book VietnamandBeyond.com
Veteran stories are interviewed and collected by JennyLasala.com