Frank Shoemaker, Jr.
Frank Shoemaker was a member of the Marine Corps, specifically the First Marine Division, Da Nang, Viet Nam, Quang Nam Province, Platoon One Alpha. He served his tour of duty from 1969-1970, achieving the position of Platoon Sergeant, and would return home to become a police officer, achieving the rank of Master Patrolman.
Q1: “What were the first things you remember about Vietnam, what was on your mind, how did you feel?”
What the hell have I gotten myself into
So, this is the 'Nam
Damn, it's hot here
365 days is going to be a long time
This is one serious place
Q2: “What was a typical day in Vietnam and what were common objectives you would be assigned to complete?”
Hot as HELL
I made it through the night, will we make it through the day
Keep security and watches TIGHT
Keep an eye on the FNG's
Complete the sweep/mission and have as few casualties as possible.....maybe none
Everybody knows their jobs and responsibilities
Q3: “What was the hardest thing about being in Vietnam and what were the things that you lacked the most?”
Viet Nam was the damnedest OJT job you ever had
Do EVERYTHING by the numbers or you will end up dead
Lacking? At first, confidence to be a platoon leader, situations don't allow. You just do it
Master the map and compass and radio procedure when calling in arty or air strike
Q4: “What was the one thing you have the most distinct memory from Vietnam?”
That first firefight.
I was a Corporal fire team leader.
Keep cool, controlled, mass your effective firepower
Q5: “Did you ever receive any thanks when you returned, and how did your family feel about your service?”
At first, only from my family. Vets were not very popular coming home in 1970.
It came later, I was invited to talk at my younger brother's elementary school