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"... then you just become immune. Things that happen, you just deal with it, whatever happens." (Video interview, 39:05)

   Walter James Dexter
Collection image
Walter Dexter in uniform posing next to a machine gun [1968]
War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Army
Unit: Company E, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
Service Location: Pleiku, Vietnam
Rank: E-4
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In 1966, Walter James Dexter was a 17-year-old high school dropout looking for a fresh start and to escape a difficult family situation. Enlisting in the Army, he had no idea what to expect. Basic training, and then service in a combat battalion in Vietnam, came as a shock. Slowly he adjusted to the close calls and extreme conditions that made up life in the jungle as a member of a platoon. Eventually, he became so acclimated to the routine of search and destroy missions and combat assaults that he chose to serve a second tour in Vietnam as part of the 101st Airborne Division.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
» Part 1 
Download: video (86 min.)
»Photo Album  (21 photos)
More like this
»Vietnam War: Looking Back, Part 3
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
No political agenda when he joined the military; didn’t have much knowledge of the political situation in Vietnam. (00:54) Being nicknamed “Cherry” because he was new; yearning to see action so that he could get rid of the nickname. (00:39) Perspective he gained from enduring poor conditions in the field. (01:14)
Close call during firefight; acquiring a bullet hole in his helmet. (03:17) Witnessing a booby trap casualty. (01:57) Transfer to Germany; having a hard time adjusting there; going back to Vietnam for a second tour. (04:29)

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  October 26, 2011
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