758 – Vietnam Vet Gary Ahle served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade

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O’Fallon’s Gary Ahle served in the United States Army from Aug. 26, 1966 to July 4, 1968, and served a year in the Vietnam War. Robyn L. Kirsch rkirsch@bnd.com

O’Fallon, Illinois native Gary Ahle is a Vietnam Veteran who typifies the greatness of the Vietnam Veteran News. In this episode we will take a look at his story. It comes from The Belleville News-Democrat and is titled: Vietnam veteran recalls memories of service in ‘a different world’ and was submitted by Robyn L. Kirsch, rkirsch@bnd.com.

Ahle’s story interested the podcast master in several ways. First his was an Army  jumper who spent some time with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina same as your humble podcaster. In addition to that he served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam. My son served with the same unit in Afghanistan. Ahle was in Vietnam about the same time I was there on my first tour and also spent time in the same areas in the Central Highlands as your podcaster.

Another admirable attribute of this Vietnam Veteran was his attitude toward the obligations citizens owe their country. This is what he said about serving your country: “We did what we signed up to do — we followed orders and rarely questioned, only if we thought it wasn’t the right way or if we thought people were going to get killed.  When you take an oath — you live up to it.”

In her story, Kirsch, tells about how Ahle interrupted his college work after his first two years at Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville and joined the Army. Ahle said this is the reason why: “My brother was in during the Korean War. He was a paratrooper, and I looked up to him, and that’s what I always wanted to be … A lot of my best friends were already in, so I figured I should, too.”

After his service in the Army Ahle finished up his college career and earned a degree from SIUE, got married and started a family. He resume of service to his community includes teaching in multiple O’Fallon District 90 schools for 32 years, serving 23 years as O’Fallon Township assessor, four years as township trustee and is currently the township supervisor.

Gary Ahle of O’Fallon, Illinois truly is an outstanding representative of the great Vietnam Veteran Generation.


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