Chilton, Wis.(WFRV)-- A Chilton man came home from Vietnam a decorated veteran.
But the war never left him --as he battled Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
In this week's Hometown Hero, John Endsley is letting Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans know that somebody is there for them.
John Endsley can never forget when his army unit deployed to Vietnam in July 1969 or the brief stopover enroute.
Says Endsley, "They let us get off the plane, to look at a little nine-inch black and white television and watch man first land on the moon."
After their flight resumed, a comment from a captain to a lieutenant caught his attention. Endsley remembered that he said, "isn't this something that they can land a man on the moon but they can't stop this war."
That conversation hit home two weeks later during search and destroy mission at a village near Plei Ku.
Endsley, "We took fire from the village and we returned fire, to find out it was a little ten-year-old, nine-year-old boy that was shooting at us."
Several months later, Endsley and 150 other soldiers were involved in eight-hours of close quarter, hand-to-hand fighting when a North Vietnamese sapper unit attacked landing zone St. George. He pulled three soldiers trapped in a bunker to safety and was awarded a silver star - an honor he says, doesn't tell the whole story.
Endsley, "It's been very traumatic that this silver star doesn't recognize those who were killed."
Endsley also earned a Purple Heart after being wounded on another mission. He returned home in 1970, but the war continued to take a toll on him. Endsley went through two divorces, and a number of different jobs.
Then he got involved with Vietnam Veterans of America, who put him in touch with Veteran Administration PTSD programs.
Endsley, "They have the knowledge and can teach you the coping skills to teach you to live with post traumatic stress."
That's advice that John Endsley now shares with a new generation of veterans.
Says Endsley, "I know that we had a hard time dealing with one. How these kids can handle three, four and five tours is just unconscionable to me."
For more on PTSD in veterans, check out the Make the Connection website.
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