Siouxland vet uses Vietnam experiences to help others cope with trauma

Veterans Voices

MASKELL, Neb. (KCAU) — Dennis Knudsen served his country in the Air Force. He was stationed at Da Nang Air Base, in Vietnam.

“Two times a week, usually three, maybe four times, every night we would get hit with rockets, so it was known as ‘Rocket Alley,'” Knudsen said.

As a munitions maintenance specialist, Knudsen built bombs. He recalls the day a large bomb dump exploded, near the base.

“Huge mushroom clouds of flame and smoke coming out of the, you could see it in the distance, looked like a mushroom cloud, like a nuke would send out and you would watch the shockwaves come across the sky at you,” Knudsen said.

These days, Knudsen volunteers his time with Hospice of Siouxland, helping veterans cope with the trauma of military service.

“They’ve seen things, done things that haunt them I guess you could say,” Knudsen said. “They never talk about it and in their last stages of life, they need to unload.”

For Knudsen himself, it’s difficult to think about his time in Vietnam.

“I never directly killed anyone,” Knudsen said. “War involves killing, but sometimes I feel like I’m ultimately responsible for a lot of deaths just because of what I had to do.”

Knudsen said he’s proud to help other Siouxland veterans work through their experiences, one conversation at a time.

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