(KCAU) — Randy Newlon was drafted into war more than fifty years ago, shortly after he graduated from Sioux City East, and from there was assigned to the 101st Airborne, 3rd of the 506th Battalion, a group that was placed into a variety of divisions while in Vietnam.
“Our name of our battalion was Curr-he which was Arapahoe for ‘stand-alone battalion’ so basically they sent us in where they didn’t want to send their own guys,” said Newlon.
Soon after arrival at Cam Rahn Bay, Newlon said he survived several small firefights that would last around a half-hour, but one day a courageous soldier took his place in battle.
“He said I’ll go with these two, the two Puerto Ricans, and so we switched places. Well, in about ten minutes, he was shot right through here and we couldn’t get a Medevac there. I owe that man my life, I think about it every day,” said Newlon.
Then-President Nixon ordered Newlon’s 4th Infantry squad to invade Cambodia where things got even dicier, trapped in a valley surrounded by mountains and where he experienced the region’s wacky climate.
“That happened to us a couple times where we couldn’t get out and it was during the monsoons and I couldn’t believe it could rain three weeks solid,” said Newlon.
Newlon expressed how misunderstood the war was during that time and wanted to set some facts straight.
“We didn’t lose the war, we never lost one battle in Vietnam. The politicians stopped financing it,” said Newlon.
After his year of service, Newlon flew into Seattle where he was able to avoid the protesters degrading American soldiers.
“But the guys that came home through California, they were spit on, called baby burners and murderers and stuff and luckily I wasn’t exposed to that and I really do appreciate it when people come up to me like in Walmart and say thank you for your service, because that didn’t happen,” said Newlon.
Newlon said he stays in touch with fellow veterans to this day and spoke on the comradery he felt during his stint in the Central Highlands of southeast Asia.
“You’re closer to your buddies over there than you are your own brothers back here because we both just tried to keep each other alive and come home in the upright position,” said Newlon.