The year was 1971. Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby Mcgee" was dominating the airwaves, Apollo 14 landed on the Moon, the voting age was lowered to 18 due to the ratification of the 26th Amendment and the United States was still in the midst of the Vietnam War.
This was also the year that Ken Noga, Senior, of Uniontown, was drafted into the Army to serve in the 101st Airborne as an M60 machine gunner mostly stationed in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and Quang Tri.
In October 1968, George “Huck” Rattay was discharged from Phoenixville Hospital in Valley Forge, marking the end of his service in Vietnam.
Wearing his military uniform, which donned his medals and service ribbons, along with a cast on his arm, he hitchhiked along the Pennsylvania Turnpike until a Pittsburgh family picked him up, and offered to drive him across the state to Uniontown.
When Pete Orlando returned home from Vietnam, he put all his memories away.
Dozens of albums filled with dozens of photos apiece went into storage. He put away images of friends that died, locked up thoughts of what he did, and buried the days he narrowly survived.
“I probably would have been a career Marine, but it would have killed my parents if I had gone back,” says Harry “Skip” Moore of his tour of duty in Vietnam.
Huey Mogilles looks at his two tours in Vietnam as painful; however, he reflects on his Army career as a positive experience. For 22 years, he served in the U.S. Army, beginning in 1962, the year after he graduated high school in Louisiana. He retired a Master Sergeant E8.
Semper Fidelis...always faithful...always loyal.
It is the creed etched in the heart and soul of every U.S. Marine, including veteran Don "Larry" Martin.
Even today, some 50 years after entering the military branch, the Lemont Furnace man proudly wears his red ball cap and t-shirt with the Marine emblems to show his pride and dedication to the Corps. It also pay tribute to his cousins who also were members of the Corps and served in Vietnam.
Vietnam veterans profile:
Glenn Nielsen is not a combat veteran but the result of injuries from his time in war-ravaged Vietnam are still obvious. And his ongoing battle to make sure veterans are given the respect they deserve, is his life's mission.
The following story is the first of an occasional series of profile articles that highlight the service and sacrifice of those from Fayette County who served during the Vietnam War.