Gary Dolan was a military brat, and spent his formative years in Augsburg, Germany. His father enlisted, but was eventually commissioned as a Transportation Corps Officer, and served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. As a teen, he traveled extensively throughout the Mediterranean one summer while working on a troopship. He became aware of West Point through a speech competition, and entered the Military Academy after a year at the Ohio State University. He “loved hating” West Point as a Cadet, but really enjoyed the military aspects of his training. Upon graduation, he commissioned into the Infantry, and was initially assigned to the 1st Battalion of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment at Ft. Bragg. He volunteered for service in Vietnam, and joined C Company, 75th Airborne Infantry Regiment, “Charlie Rangers,” at An Khe, serving as the Platoon Leader for the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol. He returned to the United States in 1971 and left the Army in 1974, transitioning into the National Guard and earning a law degree from New York Law School. He then became a successful businessman, and wrote a book about his experiences in Vietnam, “Of Their Own Accord,” describing the actions of his LRRP teams in combat.
In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his experiences at West Point, and his first assignment in the Army. He discusses, in detail, his deployment to Vietnam and several of the missions he participated in. He reflects on writing his book, and how using fictional names allowed his Soldiers to see themselves in various aspects of the account. Finally, he describes the significance of West Point in his life, and expresses the importance of his remaining close to the Ranger community by working with the association throughout the years.