RIDGELAND, S.C. (WSAV) — Setting up for a celebration. That’s just what the members of OPFOB, Operation Forward Operating Base are doing.
They are honoring the Marines, the Army and the Navy—anyone who fought in the Vietnam conflict—men and women who should not be forgotten even though the war ended 50 years ago.
“There were 5 16-year-olds killed in Vietnam. 5 16-year-old kids who wiggled their way in because they wanted to serve their country,” said Retired Master Sergeant, Marine Corps Ron West.
“Vietnam veterans sacrifice a lot. We are going to have folks out here tomorrow who served 3 and 4 tours in Vietnam. They spent 3 or 4 years separated from their families,” Retired Army 1st Lt./Vietnam Veteran Craig Ostergard told News 3.
40-60% of the people that went over there saw or were close to combat. But for these veterans, here is no regret—just respect.
“You train for these things but you don’t know what you train for until it’s real and you are there,” said West. “And then you know why, at that Island, over there, they do the things they do. As hard as it was I would do it again, I would never look back.”
By looking back, OPFOB hopes not just to pay tribute to that generation of veterans but also to help the latest generation and protect them from suicidal thoughts.
Men and women who fought in a similar conflict like Afghanistan have returned with some of the same issues.
Ostergard explained, “Let them walk you through exactly what they are going through. If they are willing to share it spend time with them, listen to them, encourage it. Because you can’t unsee what you saw while in combat, but over time it does get better.”