US Army, 1966-1968
My name is Michael Roy Haley, born August 9, 1947 at the old old St. Francis Hospital in Marceline. My parents were Warren F. Haley and Pearl Lourene Cowser Haley.
After the death of a cousin the family broke up. Uncle Howard, a WWII veteran of Europe, moved back to Hammond, IN. Dad, a WWII veteran of the South Pacific, became a preacher and moved to Mexico, MO. My grandparents Earl and Jessie Haley stayed on the farm outside of Marceline.
I graduated from Mexico High School in May 1965 and was thinking about joining the Marines. But one day when I got home there was a military car at our house. Two Marines were going with Dad to a church member’s home whose son had been killed unloading heavy equipment in Viet Nam. Dad told me the boy’s plane crew had volunteered to fly extra flights, and on the 10th trip were shot. Dad told me “don’t volunteer, but if picked for duty then do your best”.
I met Linda Hodge in 1966. We got married and I was drafted. For a farm boy I did not know this world was so big. On R&R, Linda met me in Hawaii and it was different — clean, smelled great. Over the years we’ve gone back a couple of times, but there is no place like home.
I volunteered for convoys just to see the country and the people. Montagnards and Vietnamese could not get along with each other, but the Montagnards were strong supporters of US forces.
I received Marksman Medals with pistol, M14, M60 and grenade, the National Defense Ribbon, 2 Vietnam Service Medals, and the Missouri Medal of Service.
There were many long term friendships but those friendships are getting fewer. Jimmy Folco was a good friend. Our convoy was stopped to let an armored convoy go ahead, and a roadside papasan had his goods to sell. Jimmy wanted something to eat and got what looked like a hamburger. Jimmy said it was good and wanted to know what it was. Papasan pulled out a live monkey, saying “Same! Same!” Poor Jimmy up-chucked his dinner.
If I had to go back I would go back with the same guys. We were a team that worked together. When we left out of Vietnam we came out under heavy fire because the Tet Offensive was still going on.