Henry A. Niemann III

                       Interview with Henry A. Niemann III

              Veterans' Memorial Hall Oral History Program

(Disclaimer: To the best of our knowledge, the information provided in this oral history interview is accurate. We do not make any representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of the information.)


                      Oral Interview with Henry A. Niemann III

Conducted by Dan Hartman: Veterans’ Memorial Hall Program Manager, St. Louis County Historical Society

                               Recording Date: July 14, 2011

                          Recording Place: Bayshore Health Center

Transcriber: Susan Schwanekamp, St. Louis County Historical Society Transcription process funded by a grant from the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation

                                        Dan Hartman:  DH

                                       Henry Niemann:  HN

DH:  So today is July 14, 2011, and we are starting to conduct an interview with Henry Niemann. And you served, correct me if I’m wrong, in the Army during Vietnam.

HN:  Yes, I did.

DH:  So I’ll start with the easiest question of them all first. Can you say your first, middle and last name, and can you spell your last name? 

HN:  My name is Henry A. Niemann. N – I – E – M – A- N –N – N III.

DH:  And what year and day were you born?

HN:  8-23-39.

DH:  And were you born here in Duluth?

HN:  No, I was born in Central Wisconsin.

DH:  What was the name of the city?

HN:  I was born on a farm.

DH:  OK.

HN:  The doctor came out to the house.

DH:  Wow. And how long did you live on that farm?

HN:  Until I went into the service.

DH:  OK.

HN:  Which was almost 21 years later.

DH:  So what type of farm was it?

HN:  Dairy farm.

DH:  So I take it your parents were the farmers, as well.

HN:  Absolutely.

DH:  Your parents – your Dad – were his parents before that farmers, as well?

HN:  Yes. My grandparents come from Germany.

DH:  On your father’s side? Or on both?

HN:  Both sides.

DH:  So you have some heavy German blood, then?

HN:  I am German, yes. Actually, I’m an American, but Germany has history.

DH:  Did you know about what time your grandparents came over from Germany?

HN:  In the late 1800s, but I don’t know when.

DH:  And what religious background were your parents?

HN:  They weren’t.

DH:  They were not religious?

HN:  They were not religious.

DH:  OK. And when you were growing up as a kid, on the farm, I imagine it was probably a lot of work, too.

HN:  Well, part of farming.

DH:  What were some of the chores that you did as a kid?

HN:  Clean out the gutters, you know, from cow poop. Help make hay. Plant crops.

DH:  Things that you had to do.

HN:  Part of the farm work!

DH:  What were some of the things you guys did for fun on the farm? Any certain games you guys played, or…?

HN:  No. Because I was the only child at home.

DH:  Do you have older brothers and sisters, then?

HN:  I have older sisters.

DH:  How much older were they?

HN:  At least five years.

DH:  And what were your sisters’ names?

HN:  Lois, and Betty – she was five years older than Lois.

DH:  And I forgot this: What were your parents’ names?

HN:  Henry, because I am the third. He was the second.

DH:  And what about your mother? 

HN:  Lorraine.

DH:  And her last name?

HN:  Miller. M – I – L – L – E – R.

DH:  And so was it strictly a dairy farm, or did you have chickens, too, or anything of that nature?

HN:  We had some chickens. And we had some ducks, but other than that, it was all dairy.

DH:  OK.

HN:  We didn’t have sheep. We didn’t have pigs.

DH:  About how many dairy cows did you have?

HN:  It was milking 35.

DH:  _______for 35 cows. Was there a certain season of the year that was busier than others?

HN:  Well, your planting time. Planting, and of course harvesting. In the wintertime it was just feed the cows and milk ‘em twice a day. That wasn’t so bad, but in the spring in the fall, planting and harvesting – it was rather busy.

DH:  How big of an area did you have to plant?

HN:  Well, we farmed 160 acres, and about 100 acres of it was under plow.

DH:  So you had to go out and pick rock and things of that nature?

HN:  Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

DH:  How much fun was that?

HN:  How much fun was that?! It wasn’t. You find somebody that says it was fun, they’re lying to you.

DH:  I would believe that. What were some of the activities you would kind of look forward to, though? Was there anything at the harvest…did you look forward to the food that came forward from that?

HN:  I had enjoyed my dog and going out in the woods hunting.

DH:  What kind of dog was it?

HN:  It was a dog dog. No breed, it was just…

DH:  Oh, yeah. And what was his name?

HN:  Gee – I don’t know. King.

DH:  King?

HN:  K – I – N – G.

DH:  And how long did you have the dog? Was it something you had most of your childhood, or…?

HN:  Yes.

DH:  And what did you go hunting for, usually? Deer, or …?

HN:  No, no. Squirrels, rabbits.

DH:  Did you go hunting for deer at all?

HN:  Yes, I did.

DH:  Any certain deer you’re pretty proud of? Any 10 point bucks or….?

HN:  No, not particularly. No.

DH:  When you were growing up was there a certain gun that your family had? Was there a certain gun that you used to go hunting with, or anything of that nature?

HN:  25, 20.

DH:  So when you were growing up on the farm, did you ever think about joining the military, or was that something that happened later in your life?

HN:  No, I didn’t think about it one way or the other.

DH:  OK. Did your father, did he serve in a prior war?

HN:  No, he didn’t.

DH:  OK. And…..you mostly grew up in kind of the 1950s, ‘60s era? 

HN:  Yeah.

DH:  When you were growing up was there a certain thing that you wanted to do when you became a teenager? Did you guys go to movies a lot? Any activities…?

HN:  I’ve had a car ever since I was 16.

DH:  So you’ve been driving for a while.

HN:  Yeah.

DH:  What was your first car?

HN:  ’49 Ford.

DH:  Any fun stories you had with the ’49 Ford, or…..?

HN:  No. Usually the girls would call me at home and say “my boyfriend”…and they got out, give me a call and I’d go pick ‘em up. Their boyfriends never bothered me – I was always bigger than they were. (Laughter) Or maybe just meaner – I don’t know which.

DH:  That was a ’49 Ford.

HN:  It was a ’49 Ford.

DH:  Any girls you remember in particular?

HN:  Not really. Not really.

DH:  When you were growing up was there a certain group of guys you hung out with, played any sports with?

HN:  Usually the football players.

DH:  So you played football, I take it, in high school? 

HN:  Yes, I did.

DH:  Any certain position?

HN:  Guard.

DH:  OK.

HN:  Defensive guard. That’s the one I liked the most. They had me on offensive line, too, but I liked the defensive. Then you can throw people around and go get the _____the ball.

DH:  And so did you play all the way through your senior year in football, then, or…?

HN:  Yes.

DH:  Did you guys have any luck? Did you go to State, or any…?

HN:  Well back then there was no such thing as “going to State”.

DH:  So you guys just played neighboring communities pretty much?

HN:  Yeah, there was a conference, but we stayed within the conference ____.

DH:  Were most people in your school also farmers, as well, or _____ mixed (??)______,

HN:  The largest percentage were farmers. It’s a farming community. Central Wisconsin.

DH:  And so was there anything kind of interesting about Central Wisconsin when you were growing up that you kind of miss, or….?

HN:  No, it’s good farm land. I miss the soil. You know, I miss the animals.

DH:  What was unique about the soil?

HN:  Well, you could grow things. (Laughter) Sounds dumb, but I liked the smell of the soil when you plowed it. The next couple of days you could always smell the fresh soil. I liked the smell of that.It’s not quite like the clay that we have up here.

DH:  No, it’s not. And how about the animals? I imagine there was something about the sounds and noises of that you might miss - ?

HN:  Well, yeah. I miss taking care of them. You get attached to the animals.

DH:  35 cows, too.

HN:  You raised young stock to replace the cows as they got too old to produce.

DH:  And I imagine you had a lot of fresh milk, too, then?

HN:  Oh, yes. That’s all we drank. That’s not all we drank, but always fresh milk.

DH:  Was that a lot better than what you could get at a store? Or was it kind of a mix? Like from some cows it wouldn’t be, or…?

HN:  It wouldn’t always taste better from what you would buy in a store, but it was a lot easier. Now I just couldn’t drink it, because it’s just too thick. I drink whole milk and it’s too thick. I drink skim milk. It’s what we get used to.

DH:  So when you graduated high school, what were your plans after that? Did you have a job at that point already? Because you had a truck.

HN:  It was difficult to get a job. I lived out on a farm. It was difficult to get a job because of the draft. And they were drafting everybody. It depended on the area, at what age you were eligible for the draft. In one particular area of my county they were drafting 24 – 25 year olds. Later on it was 18, 19 year olds. I couldn’t get a job, so I just enlisted into the Army.

DH:  Why did you choose the Army over the other branches? 

HN:  Because they guaranteed me the schooling that I wanted. The other branches just put down what not.  I had a written guarantee from the Army. This is way back when.

DH:  And once again, this is active Army, not Reserve?

HN:  Active Army.

DH:  And did you take advantage of the schooling later, then?

HN:  Well, I went to school. I went to school for a particular thing. They instruct pilots in radio navigation and flight simulators.

DH:  Oh.

HN:  That’s what I did in the army, at least in the first part of my career

DH:  OK. And so where did you enlist at? Where did you sign up to join the Army at? ‘

HN:  ____, Wisconsin.

DH:  Do you remember the office, what city it was in, or..?

HN:  It was in Wausau. I took my physical down in Milwaukee. Physical, then I went to the Army.

DH:  So you were signed up, definitely, through the state of Wisconsin, pretty much, then?

HN:  Yes.

DH:  And you took – where did they send you from there, for training, after you took your exams?

HN:  Well, after basic training I went to school. On flight simulators.

DH:  Sorry, I have to back you up. Where did you go to basic training at?

HN:  Fort Leonard Wood.

DH:  OK. And how was that?

HN:  It was all right. No big deal. I was in shape from playing football. No big deal.

DH:  So from basic training then you went to…

HN:  Fort Rutger (??), Alabama.

DH:  How does that compare?

HN:  (Unintelligible) It was far down South. I never looked at as good, bad, or otherwise. Just fine.

DH:  And what type of training did you have to do there?

HN:  Flight simulators. How to instruct on flight simulators.

DH:  Did you enjoy it, or…?

HN:  Oh, yeah.

DH:  Tell me more about the training. What did you have to do?

HN:  Actually, flight simulators. But they were doing the teaching. Regular navigation. How to get from one place to another place without looking outside the aircraft. Reading instruments only.

DH:  Now this is 30 years before the computerized flight navigation, I would imagine.

HN:  Right.

DH:  So what does an old flight simulator even look like?

HN:  Well, it looked kind of like a regular plane, without wings or tail. Just the fuselage.

DH:  Then you would just kind of show the panels, then? How would you teach people?

HN:  Well, they basically learned what the panels meant. You know, how to read the altimeter, radio magnetic communicators and stuff like that. They learned the instruments. When they come in to see me, they hadn’t actually made the flight. You know, landing and take-off – stuff like that. Flight path.

DH:  And when they would use the instruments, would they still be registering things ….

HN:  They still registered things, sure. The computer – the on flight simulator off of my desk would have an arm _______ into the floor and you put, it was a tripod, and one of its legs, it was _______ . (Interruption from the background environment occurs here.) Anyway, one of the legs was an _____wheel and the tripod of the ____was hooked up that 18” bar and that worked as a _____. I didn’t have to do anything.

DH:  OK. So that makes a little bit more sense, then. You could still read what was going on and how they were doing it.

HN:  Oh yes. I had instruments out there. It was the same as the ones he had inside. So I knew exactly what he was looking at. And after the flight I would always…I’d critique him. On what he did wrong, what he could have done better.

DH:  And how long were the sessions – (how long did they) typically last?

HN:  An hour. An hour.

DH:  OK. And this is something you definitely enjoyed, it sounds like.

HN:  Umhm.

DH:  And you were 19, 20 years old at this time?

HN:  I was about 20 years old.

DH:  And how long did you do this for?

HN:  Probably until I was in my late twenties.

DH:  Wow. So you did this for quite a few years.

HN:  Yes, different posts.

DH:  And how many different posts did you get transferred to, moved to?

HN:  Three.

DH:  Three?

HN:  Three.

HN:  After I left Fort Rutger I went to Ft. Lewis. Washington, State of. And I went to Ft. Knox, Kentucky.

DH:  And so you got to see a big chunk of the country very quickly.

HN:  Oh yes. And then I went to ___(Huntington air field?)____in Savannah, Georgia.

DH:  So most of your time was in the Southeast, then.

HN:  Most of the time was in the South. That’s where most of the military posts are. Is in the South.

DH:  And is there any certain base that you liked more than another?  All about the same?

HN:  All about the same.

DH:  Anything you did for fun down there? Was there any, mostly you just had to do work?

HN:  No. I’d go to movies.

DH:  And so, at what point did you switch roles and you had to go and do a tour in Vietnam? How did that take place or…?

HN:  Well, this is where the great buildup comes in. ’64, ’65. This is when the big buildup was. And they was just sending people…it didn’t matter if you had your military activation _____or not. They wanted bodies over there, so…

DH:  So they were just pulling everybody.

HN:  Right. And there I worked in the air traffic control tower.

DH:  You say air traffic control.

HN:  Tower. Yeah.

DH:  Wow.

HN:  And I met a couple of my students that I had back in the States. A couple of pilots. They said “Well, what are you doing over here?” I said “well, I’m working up in the tower.” I liked it. “Would you rather ride with us sometime?” (I said) “no”. I could only work four hours in the tower. That leaves me 20 hours to do nothing.

DH:  Wow. So you volunteered as a…

HN:  I volunteered as a _____ ______, yes.

DH:  ___shift in roles, as well. So, where in Vietnam were you at the time when you were a traffic controller?

HN:  In (Sounds like “Hong Tow”). It’s a sea port area.

DH:  And what did you think of Vietnam?

HN:  It was all right. Real hot and humid, but you were in the (American) South most of the time, anyway (in his military career postings) so... Yeah. It was hot and humid. I remember one time, to tell you the truth, I was drunk, and I went and got my field jacket on because I was cold – at 72 degrees. (Laughter) You can become acclimatized to most anything.

DH:  And so do you remember the name of the two pilots that convinced you (of what?), or…(asked you)?

HN:  No, I don’t. No, I don’t.

DH:  And how long had you been in Vietnam before they asked you?

HN:  About three months.

DH:  And so what type of aircraft did they want you to be a pilot of?

HN:  Oh, Huey. HU1V. Helicopter.

DH:  So when you were in flight simulation training, it was also for helicopters?

HN:  Yes. Yes, it does.

DH:  So you probably had a very good understanding of how helicopters ran, then?

HN:  Oh, absolutely. And they wanted you to be the gunner on a helicopter, 60 cal.

DH:  Well, let’s talk about that. That was a little different experience, I would imagine, than …? How did the whole thing get started? Did they just ask you and you just kind of signed up on their team, or….?

HN:  I couldn’t really sign up and they couldn’t put me in the log. As a crew member. Because my _____was “No air traffic controllers will fly unnecessarily.” Then they enlisted me for the job _____.. you don’t fly. Well, so much for that. They just didn’t put me on there.

DH:  On the log.

HN:  On the log.

DH:  And do you remember what the unit was that you were flying with?

HN:  _________(unintelligible)___ They were flying convoy escorts in this area.

DH:  And how often would they get up and fly? Almost every day, or was it…?

HN:  Yeah, they would fly most every day, yeah. I couldn’t go every day because of my shift, but when I could, they’d come and get me.

DH:  And I ask you to describe to me, when you’d take off, when you’d supply (??) could you kind of tell me how that experience would be? What were you flying over? What would you see?

HN:  Well, you’d fly over the jungle.

DH:  So almost all you’d see was just jungle.

HN:  Basically.

DH:  And did you see a lot of Viet Cong when you were flying over, or ..?

HN:  No. Not always. No. Sometimes we did.

DH:  And it would be your job, I would imagine, to defend, I imagine, a little bit.

HN:  No. I had serious problems with my machine gun. (Laughter) That was in a free-fire zone. You had a free-fire zone, no-fire zone.

DH:  You’ll have to explain the difference.

HN:  In a free-fire zone, you could kill anyone you wanted. In a free-fire zone. Basically. I mean, you wouldn’t fire on a farmer or a villager. But in a no-fire zone, you couldn’t shoot. Regardless.

DH:  In a free-fire zone, you see any Viet Cong with a gun you …….

HN:  Fire away.

DH:  So that was kind of your role…

HN:  Right before you got to the fire zone, they would fly over with ____(sounds like “amputs”)_____say “Vietnamese”, such and such a day, such and such a day, this will become a free fire zone. So, Charlie would move from one to the other. Kind of hard to fight a war that way. That’s the way it was.

DH:  So how often did you guys actually get shot at? Maybe in the free-fire zone, not as much?

HN:  Well when we were on escort convoy, a convoy escort, we’d usually get shot at, and we’d return fire.

DH:  And how many helicopters would be in convoy?

HN:  Usually a couple. Two.

DH:  Just two?

HN:  One’s in front and one points back.

DH:  OK.

HN:  Convoys weren’t all that long – 10, 15 vehicles.

DH:  Oh, so you’d actually be up in the air and people would be driving on the ground.

HN:  I’d be following in a convoy, yeah.

DH:  So you’ve got, just really kind of protecting the convoy….

HN:  That’s what we were there for. Escort the convoy.

DH:  That makes more sense. I thought it was 15 helicopters going.

HN:  That’s when an assault group never got involved.

DH:  And in between, what type of vehicles would typically be on the ground, then? Humvees, or…?

HN:  No. They didn’t have Humvees. They had the Jeeps and they used to have some 5-ton.

DH:  Oh, so can an assortment of your typical…?

HN:  Well, they were transporting things. Supplies. From one area to another. That’s usually what it was.

DH:  Mostly like medical and food, or guns and whatever…

HN:  Yeah. It could be that.

DH:  And did you have a general spot where you constantly leaving from or were you always leaving from Da Nang, mostly, or was there…..

HN:  Well, they would pick me up in Von Tong (??) and go from there. It didn’t long to get anyplace in Vietnam.

DH:  And did you do this as well as your tower duty, during your first tour?

HN:  Yes. Yes.

DH:  So you did double duty and one of them you didn’t get logged in for.

HN:  Well, I couldn’t get logged in on the flight. So I had to do my job in the tower. Yeah.

DH:  And looking back are you still very thankful that you did the escort duty, as well, or…?

HN:  Yeah, I didn’t necessarily need to kill people. I volunteered to do it because I thought – this might sound silly, but I thought I was doing something to help end the war. So I could get back to my wife and my baby. But I wasn’t doing anything to help end the war.

DH:  But that’s what your hope was for?

HN:  That’s why I was doing it.

DH:  Good reason. And I apologize for skipping over this, but when did you get married?

HN:  Oh, I got married before I was in Vietnam.

DH:  OK. So that was probably in your mid-20’s then, I’m guessing?

HN:  I was 25.

DH:  So, she wasn’t your high school sweetheart, she was someone you met later?

HN:  No, she come from Ashland, Wisconsin. I come from Marshfield, area, you know.

DH:  And when you were in Vietnam, how many kids did you have at that point?

HN:  Just one.

DH:  Just one. And what was his, or her name?

HN:  Theresa. With an E: E - R - E - S - A.

DH:  And what was your wife’s name?

HN:  My wife’s name was Cecilia. C-E-C-I-L-I-A.

DN:  So when you were over in Vietnam, that was probably definitely what was in the back of your head, “I need to get this over quicker”.

HN:  Yeah. Do my part and get it over with, so I can go home.

DH:  Yeah. And at what point did you find out that you were done with your first tour?

HN:  When I was shipping back to the States.

DH: So once you got the letter, it was just done, you were going back? 

HN:  Well, I didn’t get a letter. I knew when my time was ___________, so I knew when it was.

DH:  So was that something you were looking forward to at that point, I would imagine, or…?

HN:  Yeah, because I didn’t see the war coming to an end. No, it wasn’t.

DH:  At what point did you realize it wasn’t going to come to an end? Was it midway through your tour, or…?

HN:  Yeah, I would say midway through the tour. It was no….I saw no progress in the war.

DH:  Yeah. And there wasn’t a certain day that you realized that? An epiphany, or…?

HN:  It was kind of a gradual thing, ____.

DH: And when you came back, did you come back to one of the bases you were working at prior, or where did you return back to in the States?

HN:  Huntington Air Field, Savannah, Georgia.

DH:  Which I imagine was where your wife and kid was at the time?

HN:  No, they were up in Wisconsin.

DH:  Oh, OK.

HN:  I picked them up and moved the stuff down.

DH:  And how long did you stay in Georgia after the first tour, then?

HN:  About three years.

DH:  OK.

HN:  And then down the road I’d have to go back overseas again. Back to Vietnam.

DH:  And you didn’t have a choice in that, I would imagine. And so what was the role they assigned you over there the second time?

HN:  Air traffic controller. Same thing.

DH:  Were you in the same location, too?

HN:  Yeah. (Something sounding like “Fome Tow”).

DH:  And did you volunteer again.

HN:  Yeah.

DH:  And any certain experience that happened (in) either the first or the second (tours) that was either a harrowing experience or just kind of an interesting story, or…?

HN:  Well, one time we were flying low, and we seen Charlie crossing an open stream. It must have been close to a hundred yards wide. He was moving stuff across the stream. Because I couldn’t always hit with a machine gun. The others would have to fly in so I could shoot him. And those people come back to bother me. Cause I wasted ‘em all. Or at least, I believe I wasted ‘em all.

DH:  Yeah.

HN:  And they come back to bother me. When the Gulf War started, I thought I was going insane. I was out of the service. I had been retired. But when Gulf War started, I thought I was going insane. Had flashbacks. Nightmares.

DH:  And the war brought all that back. The Gulf War brought that back.

HN:  Yeah, well, I’m an innocent now, so I don’t have nearly as many.

DH:  I’m sorry to hear that.

HN:  Too late to be sorry. It’s over and done with. (So I) continue on.

DH:  Were there any other stories that took place, anything that you had happen that was just kind of an interesting story, in general?

HN:  No. Other than one time we were flying and my fellow _____gunner got killed. And he voided. And when I came back to the States, I couldn’t change my own son’s diapers, my daughter’s diapers. I couldn’t change ‘em. Because of the smell of the urine. Because that was automatic. Same thing with sirens going off, or listening to a helicopter. That would set me off.

DH:  Why would the urine smell set you off?

HN:  Because when my _______partner died, he voided. He lost his water.

DH:  And that was something you volunteered for the second time, as well. And you always worked with the same pilots, the same guys?

HN:  Oh no. The ones that I flew with first rotated back to the States. These were different ones. Were either of them better than the other ones, or were they all about the same?

HN:  No.

DH:  And how long did you serve the second time – the same amount of time, I would imagine?

HN:  12 months. 12 months.

DH:  And when your time was up again, it was…. 

HN:  Back in the States.

DH:  I imagine you knew that this was going to the last time you were over there?

HN:  Yeah.

DH:  Did you ever have a desire that you wanted to go back to Vietnam?

HN:  When the Tet Offensive was…..there was an orphanage that I would give food stuff to, things like that. I’d have my wife send me some stuff and I’d give it to the orphanage. When the Tet Offensive was (on) the communists were throwing kids, dead kids, out of windows. The same orphanage that I was donating stuff to. I wanted to go back and kill them all.

DH:  Wow. What an experience to go through.

HN:  Yeah. A lesson, an experience.

DH:  I see. How often would your wife send you stuff to help with this orphanage? Would you hand deliver…?

HN:  It was about (every) two weeks she’d send me these packages. Canned, stuff like that. Something for the kids in the orphanage.

DH:  And you mentioned earlier….did you have a son, too?

HN:  Yeah.

DH:  And was he born during the three year period while you were waiting to go back the second time?

HN:  No, he wasn’t.

DH:  And when you returned back to the States after the second time….

HN:  Then he was born.

DH:  And you were still in the Army then, correct?

HN:  Oh, absolutely.

DH:  And when you came back were you still in flight simulators training, then, or…?

HN:  No. They put me in… no, wait a minute. I got put on the recruiting duty.

DH:  And where did they send you to do that at?

HN:  Minneapolis.

DH:  So that’s how you came to Minnesota?

HN:  More or less. Yes.

DH:  And very different from your…

HN:  2 ½ years on the recruiting duty and then I went back on the active duty. I was on active duty then, but I went back to the Army. They sent me for training for (being a) technician on the tracking radar. Search the air for missiles.

DH:  Hmm. And where did you do that at? I can’t imagine that was at Minneapolis.

HN:  That was at Fort Bryant (?), North Carolina.

DH:  So you got to see most of the forts in our country, it sounds like.

HN:  ___’em all. And then from there I got sent to Korea. Then I came back for a few months and then they sent me to Germany.

DH:  Did you enjoy Korea and Germany at all, or was it…?

HN:  It was all right.

DH:  It had to be kind of interesting for you to be in Germany, and your family (heritage) was…

HN:  It was. It was. Because people would come up to me and talk to me in German because I look German. And I’m (“viscean” is what it sounds like!). Small amount. Speaking. Small amount. But that was a little different, yeah. Germany was better. It was farming.

DH:  So you relate to that a lot more?

HN:  Yeah.

DH:  So was that near the very end of your military career, then? And at what point did you decide you didn’t want to be a part of it any more, or was it just your career time was up, or…?

HN:  Yeah, my 22 years was up. I couldn’t go out with my troops any more. My shoulders were killing me. Sleeping on the ground in a pup tent, even with an air mattress (or was it “without an air mattress”?) wasn’t my style any more.

DH:  Makes sense.

HN:  Just didn’t work out.

DH:  Is there any other stories, or any other thing you want to say for the record, or anything that…?

HN:  Not really. No.

DH:  OK. Well, I want to say first off “Well, thank you for your service.”

HN:  You’re welcome.

DH:  For volunteering – that’s a very dangerous job just to volunteer for. So thank you. And thank you for being willing to do the interview today.

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