“Take It As Slow As You Want”: Walking Point In Vietnam

Henry "Hank" Hughes


Hank Hughes grew up in Niagara Falls, New York. His father, a sailor during World War II, worked in a chemical factory, and his mother was a homemaker. He was drafted in 1968, and after completing Basic Training at Ft. Dix, New Jersey, and Advanced Infantry Training at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, he shipped out to Vietnam. All of his instructors were combat veterans, and he felt that he received excellent training. He recalls arriving in Vietnam as the new guy in the unit, becoming the point man on patrol, and receiving mentorship from one of the Non-Commissioned Officers already in the unit. His two most vivid memories are encountering a bunker complex while walking point and observing the flashes before hearing the sound of the explosions during a B-52 strike. He was wounded on the bunker complex mission, and felt that the brave medics provided excellent treatment. After being wounded, he spent a month in the hospital at Vung Tau, an experience he found depressing, especially when he could hear other Soldiers screaming after surgery. After returning home, he worked for a gas company, and was married in 1971. In this interview, he describes many personal experiences from combat, talking about some of the Soldiers he served with, including some who were killed or wounded. He reflects on the unit reunions he attends and describes how they make him feel like a new man again when he reconnects with old Army buddies. Finally, he discusses his pride in his service.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie Military Techniques Returning from War
interviewer David Siry
date 18 April 2018


name Henry "Hank" Hughes
service Infantry
unit 3rd Squad, 3rd Platoon, D / 1-5 Cavalry
service dates 1968 1970