“After arriving in Vietnam in 1968, it didn’t take James McLain long to realize he would probably either get wounded or killed. The odds didn’t seem to be in his favor. “After arriving in Vietnam in 1968, it didn’t take James McLain long to realize he would probably either get wounded or killed. The odds didn’t seem to be in his favor. His first night in the field, the North Vietnamese killed seven members of his platoon. The third night, his unit was hit with mortar rounds, and a scout dog handler and his dog were killed. The day after that, a sniper killed two sergeants and a medic. A helicopter brought in replacements, and one was shot as he got off the helicopter. ‘They loaded him back on the same helicopter het got off of,’ McLain says. ‘I don’t know if he survived or not.'”
~excerpt from A Time to Honor
James Hickman McLain, U.S. Army Specialist 4 from the 101st Airborne Division, would serve a full ten months before getting shot, ironically on the day before he was to leave on R&R (rest and relaxation). He spent two weeks in an Army hospital in Japan, then 11 months at a hospital in Fort Gordon, Georgia, recovering from two gunshots to the leg. A recipient of the Silver Star for “gallantry in action,” he was eventually able to walk again with the help of a brace.
For nearly 11 years, from 1964 to 1975, 9.1 million Americans fought in the Vietnam War, with more than 58,000 of them losing their lives in the first war to be covered on television. Those who survived, returned home to a bitterly divided America, where their service was anything but appreciated.
McLain’s story is one of 115 told by American military personnel in A Time to Honor: Stories of Service, Duty, and Sacrifice, a book that has been written to remember and honor the service and sacrifice made by those who served during the Vietnam War. These uniquely personal narratives, and the hundreds of photos accompanying them, offer an up-close perspective of the war by those who were so deeply immersed in it. The hard cover edition is packaged with a DVD that contains a 68 minute feature documentary film. Entitled The Journey Home, the film explores the mistreatment veterans received upon their return from Vietnam and how efforts to recognize their service years later have helped reconcile some of those experiences.
American Legion USS San Diego Post #207 in La Porte City wants to make sure every local veteran of the Vietnam War receives a free copy of this special book and DVD package. Veterans, or family members of Vietnam War veterans, may request a copy by contacting Tom Juhl at 342-4240.