Joe Klinger, Vietnam 1967

Joe Klinger, India 3/5 Raised in San Antonio, TX. Went to MCRD in Feb. '67, 0311, assigned to I/3/5 in Aug. '67. Was a new guy that barely survived Sept. 6, 1967 during Operation Swift. I was next to Curtis Eidson during much of that horrific event, so we share many of the same memories. Lt. Corr (my hero to this day along with Capt. Kolakowski!) sent me to NCO school in Okinawa during Dec. '67, while 2nd platoon was up in Danang. 

Upon return, I was a Squad Leader and escaped without serious injury until June 8, 1968, when I was seriously injured when our CH-46 was hit repeatedly (Rodney Johnson was in the same chopper!). After a successful RECON response mission just North of An Hoa, I was sent back to the States after a couple of operations, and I was thrilled to get out of Nam.

Got married, had a family (1 son and 2 daughters), and went to school. I really enjoyed the school environment, so I stayed there for quite a while. I am now a Health Physicist, and work with nuclear materials as Chief of the Division of Radioactive Materials for the Illinois Dept. of Nuclear Safety. 

In 1985, I received a Commission in the U.S. Naval Reserve, and I am now a Commander and Officer-in-Charge of a medical detachment in Peoria, IL. I often work with the Marines, in fact, last year I was part of the medical support for 20,000 Marines in the desert at 29 Palms, CA in July! Let me assure you that the young military personnel hold us Vietnam combat veterans, especially Marine vets, in the highest regard and you should all be very proud. When they see my ribbons from Vietnam, especially the Purple Hearts, they ask questions and express their sincere respect and admiration.

In '99 supporting the Marines at 29 Palms in CA as a Medical Service Corps Officer. Uniforms haven't changed that much in 32 years! 

Last year I was requested by the Vietnamese government to assist in development of a nuclear safety program for the peaceful use of nuclear material in Vietnam. I presented a paper in Hanoi, and visited their military museums and the Hanoi Hilton. It was an unbelievable experience, and brought back many memories. 

At the Daewoo in Hanoi in '99 when I was a visiting Health Physicist for an international conference on the peaceful use of nuclear materials.

I have really enjoyed finding the India 3/5 website, and kudos to Curtis for his hard work. I, probably like most of you, thought I was alone out there in my memories of Vietnam. It's great to know that I 3/5 is alive and well and that we are still watching out for each other!

I am now the Training Officer for Fleet Hospital Great Lakes. I am responsible for all the training for approx. 700 Navy personnel in 5 states. Fleet Hospital Great Lakes is a fully capable 500-bed hospital that can be erected almost anywhere in the world and in approx. 10 days we can begin receiving patients. We proudly and enthusiastically wait for a call for mobilization to support our country in time of need for either combat or humanitarian operations. We hope we get called to proudly serve our country in response to the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001.  Semper Fi, Joe Klinger

Operation SWIFT

India 3/5 Website

Lt. John Corr Memorial

 Capt. Henry Kolakowski Memorial

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