DAKOTA COUNTY, Neb. (KCAU) – For more than two decades, this Siouxland veteran was part of the US Army and got the chance to see much of the world. But that journey started in Vietnam.
“Vietnam was going on and I figured as long as I stayed in school, I wouldn’t be drafted. And if I did go in, I’d rather go as an officer than an enlisted man,” US Army Veteran Larry Armbright said.
Larry Armbright began his military career through the Reserve Officer Training Corps. For nearly three years, Armbright was stateside until his orders for Vietnam arrived.
“I was on the battalion staff handling supply. From there I went to the battalion adjunct.// And then I got to have command of a maintenance company,” Armbright said.
Armbright was just 20 years old when he stepped foot in Vietnam. His primary job was to make sure everyone had necessary supplies.
“I had two young soldiers with a truck and a clipboard, and they just drove to all the supply points, they had a radio, and I’d call them and say hey, I need to have a trackpad for M-88. That’s how we kept the units running,” Armbright said.
One day, Armbright and a friend were on their way to get food. Armbright says if it wasn’t for his apetite, he wouldn’t be alive today.
“I was sitting in the common area and I said it’s time to eat. And I got up and started to walk back hollering at him to come on , let’s go eat, when the Vietnam hit, the Vietnamese hit the compound with artillery shells. The chair and the dresser that I was sitting beside were pretty well shredded, so luckily I had moved,” Armbright said.
However, a piece of shrapnel did hit Armbright, earning him a purple heart.
“Started rubbing my leg because it was hurt and I looked down and then somebody saw me doing that and put me in the underground hospital,” Armbright said.
Armbright would be released from the hospital and return to his duties. After a year in Vietnam, Armbright’s tour would come to an end. The memory of returning home to his family is something he cherishes.
“Yeah, it was just a lot of hugging and tears all the way around,” Armbright said.
Armbright’s service for his country wouldn’t end after Vietnam. He would embark on tours in Sudan, Germany, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to name a few. After more than 20 years in the military, Armbright decided it was time to retire.
“It was not a place I wanted to go and the assignment wasn’t going to do anything for promotions, so I put in my retirement paperwork,” Armbright said.
Armbright said he has fond memories of his tours around the world and he made sure to bring home a relic from each country he visited.