Steve Conroy grew up in St. Albans, Queens; his parents were both immigrants from Ireland. His father worked on the subway, and his mother cleaned houses to provide for their four boys. In high school, he played basketball, but at St. John’s College, he discovered cross country. After college, he joined the Army and received a commission through OCS (Officer Candidate School) in 1967. He deployed to Vietnam in August 1968, and was assigned to the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, which was supporting the 25th Infantry Division in the vicinity of Cu Chi. He linked up with his platoon of 11 Soldiers near Nui Ba Den (Black Virgin Mountain). Throughout August and September 1968, they operated around Cu Chi, Trang Bang, and Song Be. Later in September and October, the unit returned to Phu Bai and Camp Evans, which the 101st Airborne Division had taken over from the 1st Cavalry Division. He spent the next six months conducting patrols around Quang Tri, and remembers a notable ambush in the village of Phong Giap Tay. On another mission, his platoon was sent in search of Soldiers who were missing in action. He was then assigned to the Reconnaissance Platoon, and was serving in that role during Operation Apache Snow in the A Shau Valley. In May 1969, he was reassigned to his old platoon, 2nd Platoon, B / 1-506 Infantry. On June 3, 1969, while his platoon was searching for Soldiers who were missing in action and trying to find a weapons cache, Steve Conroy was wounded by RPG shrapnel. He was evacuated to the 85th and 95th Evac Hospitals at Phu Bai and Da Nang, respectively. After the war, he taught history for a few years before going into sales, eventually working for Xerox for thirty years. Years later, he returned to Vietnam with COL(R) Pete Falco to honor 44 Soldiers who were killed while serving in B / 1-506.
In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his experiences in Vietnam, and what he’s done since leaving the military. He describes several of the operations and patrols he participated in. He highlights the importance of returning to several important locations in Vietnam 43 years later to pay homage to those who were killed. He notes that such trips offer closure, particularly for those who lost Soldiers in the war. Finally, he reflects on what his service means to him.