My grampa, Albert Joseph Wotchko, is my American Hero. He was and always will be a United States Marine. My grandpa served in Vietnam from September of 1966 to March of 1968. He lost friends, but gained new ones. I cannot imagine what my grandpa and the other tens of thousands of soldiers went through in Vietnam. My grandpa was in M3/7, Mike Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, and was the radio man for his platoon.
On November 2, 1967 my grandpa was on Hill 25 and it was overrun by the North Vietnamese. There were twenty Marines on the hill when they were overrun by over one hundred North Vietnamese. The platoon leader called for artillery on themselves to defeat the Vietnamese. Ten Marines walked off or were carried off the hill.
In June of 2002 I went to Georgia with my grandparents to the M3/7 Vietnam Reunion. It was a happy time and a sad time. My Grandpa met with his friends. His friends are incredibly nice. On Saturday, the last day of the reunion, we went to the Memorial Service. They played Taps on the bagpipes. Marines followed the Bagpiper down the aisle. The Marines stopped, turned around and stood at attention. Some of my grampa's fellow Marines stood at a podium and read the names, ranks, and the years of their fellow Marines that were killed in action. After each name was read a small bell was rung. It was a very emotional experience for everyone there, even for me and I did not know the men. Meeting my grandpa and his friends, you would never know that they were in Vietnam.
Back at the hotel one night, some of my grandpa's friends came over and talked about some of their experiences. This was all new to me because my grandpa does not usually talk about Vietnam. I learned some interesting things and some sad things. I was not aware of the battles my grandpa was in or the effect it had on him. He could not ubderstand why he was never wounded, but several of his friends were wounded or killed. I have since learned this is called Suvivors Guilt.
When the Vietnam Veterans came home from serving their country they were not welcomed. The Vietnam War was a very controversail war, not everyone agreed we should have been there. In 1982 the Vietnam Veterans were finally reconized when the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. was dedicated. There are 58,000 names on the Wall of soldiers who gave there all.
I am very happy that my grandpa's name did not end up on the Wall. I know my family is too. My grandpa is proud to be a Marine and I am very proud of him. That is why he is my American Hero. Thank you grandpa and all veterans who served our country to preserve our freedom. ”