HINTON, Iowa (KCAU) — Phillip Julch was born and raised in Hinton. He enlisted in the Navy right after high school. He said when his time in Vietnam was over, a new battle was waiting for him back home.
Which branch of the military Phillip Julch would choose was a toss up.
“I decided, ‘Well, I wasn’t going to be able to dodge the draft, so I didn’t want to go in the Army. I didn’t want the Marines.’ I thought ‘Well, aircraft, Air Force might be alright. No, them planes get awful high in the sky. Navy, ah, they go in the ocean.’ So then I joined the Navy,” said Julch.
Julch joined the Navy and was soon off to Vietnam.
“I remember mom wrote me one time and she said what’s it like over there. And being off the coast, it’s like a 4th of July every night. That’s all you see is the bombs going off in the trees, in the background,” Julch recalled.
Despite the deadly fireworks, Julch said he had it easier than others.
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“I was lucky enough that I didn’t have to be on the land. This one captain, this one night it was raining one night really bad. He says, ‘You know, you guys get to go ahead and lay down on clean dry sheets. There’s guys out in the desserts that’s going to go lay in the mud tonight, so consider yourselves lucky,'” Julch said.
Still, Julch said it was difficult in Vietnam and back home.
“I come home, and I had a little short encounter in the Sioux City airport, and my dad being the wise man that he was he said, ‘Just let it go, son, let it go, let it lie,’ and I did,” Julch said.
Julch said says at the time, military members weren’t greeted with smiles overseas or in the United States.
“I realized that since then, there’s a lot of Vietnam vets that had not a real good time at it,” said Julch. “I didn’t have it as bad as some of them do, but there are still some that are hurting over Vietnam.”
Despite it all, Julch said he’s grateful for the lessons he learned in the Navy.
“You learn who you are and you learn what you stand for,” Julch said.