In this episode we will highlight another tremendous representative of that great Vietnam Veteran Generation. This time it is Huntsville, Alabama native Robert Gill. His service to his country was chronicle in a story found in the Redstone Rocket titled: Navy patrol boat crewman keeps memories of war. The story was submitted by our buddy Skip Vaughn who is composing a series of articles about Vietnam veterans as the United States commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
Vaughn tells about Gill serving on a fast patrol craft, PCF 17, which patrolled the rivers and coastal areas in Vietnam searching for the enemy. He was the senior petty officer in a five-man crew on a fast boat. He spent two months in Danang, moved to Chu Lai and then to Cat Lo with the Coastal Squadron One, Coastal Division 13.
His fast boat would go out on three and four day patrols then return for a break in action for few days and then repeat the process. He experienced periods of boredom that would be broken by brief periods of combat action or other emergencies. When he came home to the States he encountered the hostility toward Vietnam returnees faced by many. That distastefulness has stayed with him to this very day.
After Vietnam he stayed in the Navy and retired in 1987 as a master chief petty officer after 23 years of service. His last assignment was assistant director of security at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. Gill, 72, worked for a security contractor at Marshall Space Flight Center from 1987 to 2000. Next he worked for a contractor with the Missile Defense Agency before retiring in 2013.
Robert Gill is a great American and has no reason to feel any shame for being a member of the great Vietnam Veteran Generation.