‘You couldn’t buy the memories from me for a million dollars’: Siouxland Vietnam vet recalls taking flight

Veterans Voices

EMERSON, Neb. (KCAU) — Andrew Olson of Emerson, Nebraska, had no idea where he would be assigned after he was drafted during the Vietnam War, little did he know after studying maintenance at Fort Eustice in Virginia, his high mark would soon earn him his wings.

“I wouldn’t do it again for a million dollars, but in a way, you couldn’t buy the memories from me for a million dollars,” said Olson.

Vietnam War veteran Andrew Olson was assigned to the 170th Assault Helicopter Company back when flying was still an option.

“I’d promised my parents, my girlfriend, everybody, I wouldn’t fly. Then I thought about it for a couple of hours, and I walked back into the orderly room and said ‘Just put me wherever you want me,'” Olson said.

Olson’s company carried troops to Cambodia and Laos through monsoons.

“Like a basketball, it’d just knock you from side to side and up and down,” Olson said.

And rocket fire.

“Like the Dr Pepper bottle: 10, 2, and 4. That’s ’bout time the rockets would come in every day,” said Olson.

After a few missions, Olson found out something which shocked him during a physical.

“And they found out that I am legally blind without correction, and I didn’t qualify for the job I was trained for,” said Olson.

That didn’t stop Olson from taking flight and saving lives with those who flew with him.

“We had a .38 pistol, and we got a call that another little ‘loach’ helicopter had gone down, so we took off to pack up that guy in a hostile area with a .38 pistol. That’s all we had. It was exciting times,” Olson recalled.

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