Vietnam veteran recalls time at war - WNEM TV 5

Vietnam veteran recalls time at war

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“I was there. It was my choice to go there. What happened happened,” Vietnam veteran Joseph Priebe said.

Priebe, 66, was drafted to fight in the war in 1970. He admits he thought about heading north Canada, but his sense of duty and country wouldn’t let him.

He was 21 at the time and ready to serve.

“It’s an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But it’s an experience I’ll never, you know, I would never give up,” Priebe said.

Priebe was stationed in the central highlands of Vietnam for about six months before his life changed forever on April 2, 1971.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it,” Priebe said.

His base in Pleiku, Vietnam had come under enemy fire. He was one of nine soldiers in a pit next to a cannon. The pit took a direct hit from a rocket. The blast left one dead and eight others wounded, including Priebe.

“My lower right leg was pretty messed up. And it was kind of hanging there a little bit and I figured I lost it. Look at it, you know, once I woke up I figured ‘well, it’s gone,” Priebe said.

At the time doctors were able to save his leg. He ultimately lost his limb in 2009.

He keeps his Purple Heart and other memories from Vietnam in a display at his home. Priebe is part of the Agent Orange Club.

He survived a heart attack in 2005 that was attributed to the chemical exposure during the war. He takes each day as it comes.

Priebe said he’s glad to see Vietnam vets getting recognition for fighting in what many call the Forgotten War. He hopes everyone who puts their life on the line to protect the greatest country in the world gets the thanks they deserve.

“We’re not looking to be set on any pedestal or anything like that. But, just a simple acknowledgement. How you doing? You know, welcome home. That’s all we need,” Priebe said.

Welcome home Priebe. We salute your service.


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