© 2021 Maine Public
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Maine Public is encouraging Vietnam Veterans and anyone affected by the conflict to share their own story on the Vietnam War and correspondence they had during or after the war. Submissions can be written, recorded or videotaped and sent to Maine Public at mystory@mainepublic.org. The stories will be collected and archived here and some may be shared with the greater Maine audience.Watch "Courageous Conversations."Click HERE for support opportunities for veterans in crisis.

Hugh Savage, Brunswick Formerly 1st LT, CO A, 70th ENGR BN (CBT)

What If?


In 1966 I was a Platoon Leader and my unit was building guard towers on the perimeter of the 1st Air Cav Division encampment. One of our squad was building a guard tower on top a mountain inside the perimeter. It would guard the division’s communications center. On the afternoon of February 20th, 1966, when I had checked with all the other squads and was satisfied that things were under control, I had a little free time. I was tempted to hike to the top of Hong Kong Mountain and check out the squad’s progress. It was only about half a mile away and a few hundred feet up. But I would have to hack through thick jungle and the perimeter fence had not been closed yet. The jungle might contain “unfriendlies”. Prudence won over my sense of adventure. Or perhaps it was Providence for that very night the communications center at the top of the mountain was attacked and heavily damaged by mortar and small arms fire. As I watched the flames and listened to the firing from relative safety of a bunker a mile away, I shook as I realized that had I climbed the mountain that afternoon I might have encountered Viet Cong and would not have lived to tell this story.