ATLANTA VOICES: MEMORIES OF VIETNAM
Kent Sharp's Vietnam War Photos
HIS VIETNAM WAR STORY
Sergeant, 9th and 25th U.S. Infantry, U.S. Army
Kent Sharp was drafted in 1969.
There weren’t very many choices to stay out. You could enlist and pick a branch of the service you wanted to go into or you could try to go to college forever but eventually they’re going to catch up to you. A lot of people were getting married and having children and as it was I was married but I didn’t have children and so they finally caught up to me.
He arrived in Vietnam in 1970 and was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division.
We were supposed to be seeking out and engaging the enemy, and we did that with traditional search and destroy missions. We usually inserted by helicopter and then we would go out on foot and look for the enemy. Not sure how effective that was because they sometimes found us first, which put us at a disadvantage.
He describes being in the Mekong Delta.
There was a lot of water and it was very flat, rice paddies everywhere. The mud was very sticky, and sometimes the water was very deep. I remember one time being up to my armpits and these guys had loaded me up with enough ammunition that I literally got stuck in the mud and I was thinking, 'Wow, if we get engaged right now I don’t know what I’m going to do.' A couple of them got to the other side, put down their packs, came back, and pulled my boots out of the muck. So it was hot, it was wet, and most of the time it was a slog. It was tough walking through all that.
When Sharp returned home he found that people were not that interested in the war.
What happened to me was probably what happened to most people. You got home and people said 'Oh hey, how are you doing?' as if nothing had been going on. Very few people say what your hear people say today, 'Thank you for your service.' I don’t ever remember hearing that from anybody.