“Just Another Day In The Jungle”: Taking Emergency Leave From Vietnam

Bill May


Bil May was serving in Vietnam with 2nd Platoon, B Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, and was in the field when he received notice to return immediately to the rear to go on emergency leave. His unit had received a Red Cross Message indicating that there had been a situation at home requiring Bill’s presence. (Red Cross Messages are still used today to quickly and officially pass information from the rear to deployed Soldiers.) Arriving at the Company area, Bill learned that his newborn daughter had died, but he had no information on his wife’s condition. He left Vietnam so quickly that he had not showered, and he was wearing the same uniform he had been patrolling in. He did not have any money, and had to beg a dime from the flight attendant to make a collect call home. Later in his tour, he took Emergency Leave once again when his father died. On that trip, he was able to link up with Victor Renza’s father in Peekskill, New York, for a cup of coffee before returning to Vietnam.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie Military Family
interviewer David Siry
date 14 November 2022


name Bill May
service Infantry
unit 2nd Platoon, B Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division