11 Nov

Vietnam Veteran Gilberto Telles ~ Thank you

Marine who served in Vietnam War
Gilberto Telles, 70, is a former member of the 19th Rifle Company, a homegrown Marine reserve unit formed in 1953. Its members include combat veterans who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The company, now Delta Battery, 2nd Battalion, 14th Marines, still is sending troops to war.
Telles, a Vietnam War veteran and El Paso native, is a member of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas. He will be honored for his military service Tuesday during a local celebration of the Marine Corps’ 234th birthday.
Q When did your military career begin?
A I joined in 1956. My goal was to go to college. There weren’t that many things to take advantage of, ways to get ahead. In 1974, I was medically retired (from the Marines). … I got my bachelor’s degree in education from (the University of Texas at El Paso), and I taught school for 22 years for the Ysleta Independent School District.
Q When and where did you serve in Vietnam?
A I wound up doing two tours, from 1963 to 1964, and from 1966 to 1967. On the first tour I was an adviser, training the South Vietnamese how to defend themselves. … When I went back, we operated in (a river delta just south of the demilitarized zone that split North and South Vietnam). I was on a recon patrol. I am part Apache. That’s why I wound up as a scout.
Q You were conducting missions around Khe Sanh, Vietnam, before the brutal 77-day battle erupted. What happened there?
A Khe Sanh was a place you didn’t want to be. … (Military officials) knew something was going on there but they didn’t think it was worth it for the North Vietnamese army to attack. We were sent out to bring back proof that there was nothing going on, but the opposite happened. … We fought for about four days, throwing grenades down the trails to keep them away. Eventually they brought in the mortars. I picked up a (wounded) guy and put him on the chopper. … A chopper would land and sometimes you would have to run to try to get on it before they zeroed in on you. I was wounded on the 26th of April (in 1967). There were only eight of us on the recon team. We were taking mortar fire and I was shot through the legs. There we were in the middle of it.
Q How badly were you injured?
A I was 1/30th of a second away from being on the other side. But I survived, and here I am. Of the eight-man team, only four came out walking. It was pretty harrowing.
Q Is it true your wife knew you were in trouble the day you were wounded?
A One thing about native people, we can perceive things just by the attitude. … I was unconscious and I could travel anywhere. I came over here and she heard me.
Q How is your health?
A I was diagnosed with myeloma, bone cancer. It was caused by Agent Orange. Some of us are still paying for that war. Liberty is not free. … I’m in remission right now.
Q Why is Veterans Day important? Some say we are recognizing the nation’s heroes.
A I am not a hero. I was getting paid for that. I was a Marine doing my job. The ones who are the heroes are the ones who didn’t come back.

Wild Thing’s comment………
Another example of heroes among us. We will never forget the service of so many.
Thank you Gilberto Telles! Welcome Home.

…. Thank you Jim for sending this to me.

TomR says:

Gilberto saw some action. His present day ailments make me wonder to what extent Agent Orange affected Vietnam troops. I pooh-poohed it for many years, but have since seen too many buddies come down with similar cancers and other medical problems that my civilian friends don’t have. Agent Orange was used extensively in the area that I was in in the Delta. I wonder if I have a ticking time bomb in my system.
I think Washington DC should be sprayed with Agent Orange every two years.

Wild Thing says:

Tom, thank you so much for your input.
It is a strange thing, not all had a reaction
from Agent Orange, I am sure you will be ok. I
pray with all my heart.
Tom, I agree 100000 % let them spray Washington