Five different units in four years: How a Siouxland veteran traveled the globe during service

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Norm Gries spends most of his time at the American Legion Post 64 in Leeds, where he now serves as the post commander.

He’s also a proud Vietnam veteran who was finally honored respectfully this past year as a member of the Midwest Honor Flight. He said the plane was made up entirely of veterans who served in the Vietnam War.

“We didn’t get treated very nice when we come back 55 years ago. But this was really quite a deal to get that welcome back, and I think all of us probably felt the same because we all went through the same thing over there,” said Gries.

Gries began his service in 1966 with the 82nd unit stationed at Fort Bragg. From there, he would go back and forth to four separate units as a communication repair specialist.

“They knew what I could do and they’d give me the authorization to go places I wasn’t supposed to be, and that’s why they kept moving me around so much, to help out, keep the communications going is all I was doing,” said Gries.

His longest stint with one unit was in Korea with the 304th, then back to the 82nd before joining the 7th Special Forces in Puerto Rico where good memories were made.

“I loved jumping out of the airplanes. I made like 26 counted jumps and then when I was with the Special Forces, I used to jump every other day just for giggles and kicks,” said Gries.

Norm also was stationed with the 182nd for a short period before heading to Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. He said his suitcase was always packed ready to go wherever the special forces needed his repair skills.

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