This Hometown Hero shared his wartime experiences with Local Five's Terry Kovarik.
Dean Goss says it was the last thing that he wanted to do was to go into the service. It's nearly 44-years since Dean Goss deployed to Vietnam as a specialist, after being drafted. Under the U.S. Army's 196th Light Infantry Brigade in Chu Lai, he helped kept military infrastructure running. But as Goss was being flown by chopper to repair another unit's electrical generator, he got a quick lesson in combat.
Dean Goss: "They're swirling around in a circle around, shooting at the enemy there, until we ran out of rounds and left."
In addition to maintaining roads and utility lines, Goss's unit set up lighting that discouraged enemy night attacks on U.S. compounds. Prior to that, soldiers and support staff lived by one night rule.
Dean Goss: "Whoever's running, you shoot at them because it shouldn't be a solider. It'll be a Vietnamese."
During Goss's year-long tour in Chu Lai, U.S. forces suffered their highest average casualty rate of six-hundred daily. Then there was the attack against a nearby hospital.
Dean Goss: "And there was rockets were flying through there. They were the first nurses that had ever been killed in a war."
While Goss saw more than his share of casualties, his skills also help treat the fallen with respect.
Dean Goss:"I had the unfortunate job to keep the cooler going for the bodies."
Dean Goss:"We would even take care of the Vietnamese bodies."
Goss returned stateside in March 1970. He's been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, but also says something positive came out of his tour.
Dean Goss"It made me a better person."
Terry Kovarik: "How are you a better person?"
Dean Goss:"Seeing the value of life."
For meritorious service in Vietnam, Dean Goss was awarded the US Army Commendation Medal.
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