In the previous episode number 762 Vietnam Vet Robert Pempsell was featured. In this episode his story will be continued. It came from an article in The Buffalo News titled: Vet helped wage the ‘other’ Vietnam War in Cambodia that was submitted Lou Michel.
In the spring of 1970 college students across the country were raising havoc over their unhappiness with President Nixon’s conduct of the ongoing war in Vietnam. The event that set up that round of collegiate acting up was the invasion by the US and allied forces of Cambodia. Things got a little out of hand at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. The protestors moved off campus and began to damage property in the town as a result; the National Guard was called out to help restore order. Unfortunately one thing led to another and four of the protestors ended up dead.
While all this was going on back in the States the brave troopers of the 1st Cav Division, 25th Infantry Division, 11th Armored Calvary Regiment, elements of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade and several ARVN units were engaged in serious combat with the North Vietnamese Army during the invasion of Cambodia.
Robert Pempsell was assigned to D Company 5th of the 12 Infantry. While his unit was in Cambodia it picked up the title “Dying Delta.” It went into the fray on May 25 with 80 men. They returned across the border into Vietnam on June 24 with 50 men. They lost 30 men as KIA and WIA as the college students wasted four of their own during the Kent State Riots.
In the case of Robert Pempsell and the men in his unit, 5th of the 12th Infantry, they did some good. While in Cambodia his unit was credited with capturing:
- 320 tons of rice, enough to feed 20 enemy companies an entire year
- 449 small arms weapons
- 437,000 rounds of ammunition
- 676 rifle grenades
- 4 K-62 radios
For his brave actions during the invasion Pempsell was awarded the Bronze Star with V Device for valor. After his ETS in March of 1971 he returned to his hometown of Lancaster, New York and worked at the East Side meat processing plant for 37 years before retiring and moving to Bennington.