“My Whole Life Is Helping Veterans”: A Vietnam Veteran Reflects On His Continuing Service
Pat Yngstrom grew up in Brooklyn, and was drafted into the Army in 1970. After Basic Training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, he received advanced infantry training at “Tigerland” at Fort Polk, Louisiana, before being stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. He deployed to Vietnam on September 15, 1970, and was assigned to B/1-502 in the 101st Airborne Division at Camp Eagle near the DMZ. On patrol, he carried the M-79 grenade launcher. He returned to the United States on September 14, 1971. Currently, he is a member of the Vietnam War Veterans Association on Long Island.
In this interview, he talks about his childhood, Army training, and deploying to Vietnam. He recounts several experiences from his time in the 101st Airborne Division, including falling thirty feet from a helicopter into elephant grass, and shooting at children who were firing AK-47s at his unit. He recalls returning to the United States and being spat upon by a woman in Seattle. Finally, he describes his role in the Vietnam War Veterans Association, which provides assistance to veterans and educational outreach to schools.