ATLANTA VOICES: MEMORIES OF VIETNAM
John Jones's Vietnam War Photos
HIS VIETNAM WAR STORY
Ret. Captain, Medium helicopter Squadron 165, U.S. Marine Corps
John Jones flew the CH-46 ‘Sea Knight” in Vietnam, a tandem rotor transport helicopter.
If they needed food, water, ammunition, if anyone was hurt and they needed to be taken out, and if anyone’s time was up and it was a new one to take his place, we went in.
He recalls that despite the impressive size of the aircraft, it had little armor.
The aircraft itself had an armor seat and it protected you from your knees to the top of your head, from the sides and the back. From the front door was no protection and your legs had no protection at all.
Sometimes the difference between living and dying came down to luck, as Jones knows all too well.
I was flying in a helicopter for three and a half days and we changed at lunch, it came apart and killed everybody on board for mechanical reasons. And I think why me? It's been over 40 years now and I never will ever forget their names. Never ever.
The war in Vietnam gave him a new way to see life.
You don’t drive as fast, you don’t take the biggest risks that you always did, and you value what other people have to say to you.
In the end, Jones does not regret what he has done for his country.
I proudly served and very thankful that I did not receive any physical damage, and the mental damage was minimal, and I consider myself one of the most fortunate that went and came back.