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Episode 1754 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature another visit by Vietnam Veteran, John Shoemaker. He served as an infantry platoon leader with the 196th Infantry Brigade in Vietnam. He was in country during 1970 and 1971.
In the previous episode he provided background on what led him to join the Army, choose the Infantry branch and request assignment to Vietnam during a time of some of the War’s heaviest combat operations. John is definitely a tremendous representative of the great Vietnam Veteran Generation, one as great as any that ever heeded the call of duty from its country. He tells a story in this episode that definitely verifies the above statement.
In this episode he tells a double story, one that is encompassed by another. He begins by telling about a plane flight from Zurich, Switzerland to Miami, Florida. At the time he was serving as an electronics company vice president working in Austria.
During that flight he was taken back in time to the summer of 1970. In his mind, he returned to his infantry platoon in the 196th Brigade in I Corps when they were taking part in Operation Elk Canyon. The Operation was a return to Kham Duc.
He goes on to describe a heart pounding fire fight his platoon was involved in on a mountain top. Most of the firefights and battles in the Vietnam War followed a common pattern normally dictated by NVA tactics known as “grab them by the belt buckle.”
The NVA leadership knew their forces were no match for American firepower so they decided to only engage American forces when they could get close enough to accomplish maximum casualties and avoid heavy American bombardment.
Generally the Americans had to fight defensively but this was not the case that day on a mountain top near Kham Duc when John Shoemaker and his platoon encountered a group of NVA soldiers. What happened next was astounding.
Listen to episode 1754 and discover more about the heart pounding story of Vietnam Veteran John Shoemaker and his platoon on a mountain top at Kham Duc, South Vietnam.
The Airborne OCS website features many of John’s Vietnam War columns.