‘It was a dangerous job’: Siouxland man prepped weapons for aircrafts during Vietnam War

Veterans Voices

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — The Vietnam War was a time of rapid development for the use of attack aircrafts, but none of it would have been possible without the hard work of those who prepped the weapons on those aircrafts.

“It was a dangerous job ’cause we were working with explosives all day every day,” said Vietnam vet Larry Bruyer.

Bruyer was drafted halfway through the Vietnam War, leaving behind his wife and newborn daughter. He became a munitions specialist in the Air Force.

“I picked the Air Force thinking that the Navy would be great for a single guy, but they’re gone too much,” Bruyer said.

Bruyer was part of the 13th Bomb Squadron, going back and forth between the Philippines and Phan Rang Air Base, prepping aircraft weapons for flight.

“A typical aircraft we would do four turns a day, and they would run anywhere from 8-20 bombs,” Bruyer said.

Working in four-man crews, turning aircraft on the flight line.

“Never shut it off or anything. I mean, that’s just how critical the operation was.”

Bruyer said he quickly became used to working in 120 degree heat during the day.

“We were on night shift one night, and it was cold, and somebody said, well, I wonder how cold it really is. I said, well, let’s call up to the air tower: ‘Oh, yeah, let’s see, it’s 85’.”

Bruyer served in Vietnam for 14 months, witnessing the launch of the Tet Offensive in January of 1968.

“You know at night, you’re sitting there, and all of these mortars are going out, and all these rockets are going out.”

While Bruyer’s squadron suffered no casualties during his time in Vietnam, a number of replacements met a different fate.

“One of the planes got hit by an enemy rocket, and took all of them out.”

Making Bruyer all the more grateful for his return home to his wife Louise and his younger daughter.

“She was three weeks old when I left, and when I came back, it was a thrill, it took a bit of an adjustment, my wife had done a really, really good job, of mailing tapes back and forth, voice recordings, and so when she saw me she was like, ‘Hi Daddy.’ My wife did a really good job of help leveling out of what might have been a more difficult situation.”

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