Vietnam Veteran Proud To Serve Country

Submitted Photo Daniel Barlette served as a cook in the Army during the Vietnam War.

DUNKIRK — Daniel Barlette of Dunkirk served as a cook in the Army during the Vietnam War.

Serving from 1966 to 1968, while his main job was a cook, Barlette said he did everything else as well. One of the things he remembers very well from that time was almost being shot during his very first week while sitting on his bunk.

“I was sitting on the end of my bunk and the guy behind me was cleaning his rifle,” Barlette said. “It was automatic and it went off and the bullets went right through the wall behind me. I could feel them go by. I was pretty mad, and it was a blessing I wasn’t killed already in my first week.”

Another memory of Barlette’s was one time flying on a helicopter to Dĩ An Vietnam when they were shot at.

“I was with an advanced party with two gunners and the pilots,” Barlette said. “We were fired at and the guy next to me was shot in the arm and another was shot in the leg. The pilots said we were going down and to prepare for a rough landing. We got down with the wounded and landed at the American base.”

Barlette said they got the wounded out of the helicopter and to the hospital, adding that no one was killed that day. The pilots got out and looked over the helicopter and found 16 bullet holes.

Overall, Barlette said his time in the service was good.

“I served my country and it was an honor to serve,” Barlette said. “Everyone should serve their country because freedom is not free. I thank God I made it back, because some of my friends didn’t.”

The travel home involved traveling to the air base by bus to leave Vietnam. There was also a stop at the Japan air base once they were on the plane, and Barlette said it was a great feeling to make it home.

For Barlette, serving has had an impact on his life.

“I learned a lot of discipline,” Barlette said. “I learned to take orders and more respect. It made me a better person.”

He added that he was honored to serve his country with the people that he did.

“I served my country honorably,” Barlette said. “No country is better. The United States is the best country and it was an honor to serve. I met great people there, and we did what we had to do.”

Barlette said everyone should be proud of their country and be thankful for where they live.

“Be proud of the country you live in, because people can take that for granted,” Barlette said. “Thank God we live in the United States.”


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