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Kimble recounts Vietnam War experience

Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 12:14 pm

After graduating high school, Jack Kimble told his father he wished to enlist in the U.S. Army because of the early on growing tensions and combat actions in Vietnam. The year was 1965, and the ‘military’ actions were yet to be labeled as outright war.

By the time Kimble came home, the so-called ‘military actions’ became war.5-23-2014-1;31;49-PM

Kimble’s father, a West Virginia farmer, warned him against joining the military, and Jack considered marrying his elementary school sweetheart to be re-classified and avoid the draft, but Jack’s sister accused him of cowardice.

Kimble was so angered by the accusation, he immediately enlisted at the Jessup Building in Fairfax, VA. Returning home that day, Kimble proclaimed “nobody calls me a coward.”

Like most young men and women, Kimble had little clue of the journey he was to embark upon.

At age 20, Kimble was assigned to boot camp at Ft. Gordon in Georgia, then for advanced infantry training at Ft. Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma where he taught infantry and artillery.

In those days, soldiers were not flown to Vietnam, so Kimble was shipped to Okinawa then Saigon. At this point, the Army assigned Kimble to transport ‘strategic supplies’ all over South Vietnam as America rapidly accelerated its military presence and shifted away from an advisory position.