Veterans Day Essay
Thomas V. Pratt was a Vietnam veteran who severed for six years in the Army. His whole tour in Vietnam was for one year. He enlisted in the Army at the young age of 20. Tom volunteered so that he could avoid the draft, but more because he wanted to do something with his life.
After enlisting for the Army. Tom went to 8 weeks of Truck Driving School training and then 8 more weeks of Officer Training. Then he went thru 9 months of Pilot Training in Army Flight School. Consisting of 4 ½ months Primary Helicopter School at FT. Wolters, Taxes and 4 ½ months of more advanced flight training at Hunter Army Air Field in Savannah, Georgia. Before enlisting in the Army Tom was a high school graduate and had some college classes. To become a helicopter pilot there is all kinds of training, like officers training, artillery training, and half of the days in the class room and the other half training. Tom had his first solo flight after only 13 hours of flight training.
During Tom’s one year tour in Vietnam he was stationed in Chu Lai by the South China Sea. He was in the 71st unit of AHC (assault Helicopter Company) his position was helicopter pilot and was commissioned at 2nd Lt. Tom’s MOS (military occupational specialty) was a helicopter pilot. He flew a UH1-H helicopter which he was in most of the day. He flew constantly like a bus driver stop and go, up and down all day. On those daily flights it was dangerous because the helicopter was loud and was a big target. Tom also fired upon. Daily life was also hard like taking malaria pills and salt tablets to prevent malaria and dehydration. And you also lived in fear because you do not know who the enemy was.
In Tom’s six years in the army he had promotions and medals. After all of his training and before his Vietnam tour he was commissioned to 2nd Lt. in Vietnam Tom was promoted to 1st Lt. And after his tour in Vietnam he was promoted to captain. He finished his army career as a captain. When he was in the army he received many medals like two flying medals, bronze star, many ribbons, air medals, two distinctive air medals for honor, and a cross of gallantry it was Vietnamese. Returning back home for Tom was good his family was welcoming, but protesters were not. He said he would have served another tour but he had a kid and wife at home.
In Vietnam, Tom had life changing experience. He remembered one time when he was dropping off troops on the ground his helicopter came under enemy fire and his crew chief was shot in the chest. He said he could hear him breathing through the bullet hole. Tom and the crew in the helicopter could not save him and unfortunately the crew chief died. He said that the toughest time was watching his crew chief die right in front of him. Tom also said it was tough getting there because he didn’t know what was going on. And the fear of being shot at. The worst times was going to memorial services for the dead men. There were also good times like the parties and getting drunk with his friends. Tom said that everyday was an accomplishment even in the toughest times.
Thomas V. Pratt enlisted in the army at the young age of 20 and came out a greater man; over all made him a better person. Tom did not regret that he enlisted. He believes that everyone that is not going to college they should serve in the army. Tom had overcome adversity with leadership and independence. It is because of people like Tomas V. Pratt, that America is still here today.