Sam Johnson of Selma, Alabama and a Vietnam Veteran will be featured in this episode of this podcast – Vietnam Veteran News. His story was recently was covered in story in The Montgomery Advertiser titled: For Selma veteran, Vietnam wounds remain. It was submitted by Alvin Benn in a special to the advertiser.
Sam is another one of those magnificent representatives of the Great Vietnam Veteran Generation. He served with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam in 1967. Sam’s fire team was participating in Operation Union in the Que Son Valley when he stepped on a land mine. The explosion lifted him several feet in the air and left him with serious injuries that would have killed most men but not Sam. His best friend in his unit, Pvt. Jerry Henry, rushed to his aid and administered aid that helped save his life.
It took sixteen months for his wounds to heal enough for him to return home to Marion Junction in Dallas County, Alabama. His family of six brothers and seven sisters were glad to see him home. As Sam’s physical wounds healed he found it hard to forget his memories of war. He’d wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, reliving moments that continued to haunt him long after he had returned to civilian life. He said: “I’d yell out instructions to my team, telling them to take cover and to be careful. I’d find myself in the jungle or rice paddies. We’d be in firefights.” It took years for those nightmares to subside, but, every now and then, one would force its way into his psyche.
Sam got over his war time injuries and went on to complete a career with International Paper as a human resource manager. Today he lives in Selma with his wife Thomasene. He is proud of his family and especially his son Michael who defensive end with the Cincinnati Bengals. Michael sponsors programs aimed at helping youngsters plan for their futures.
Sam Johnson we salute you for your service to your country and your community.