Green Bay, Wis. (WFRV)- Swallowing your heart and swallowing your pride; Those were two things Vietnam vet Joe Resop learned to do in the army.
Resop was a Berlin farmboy before enlisting at age 18 in 1967. He wanted to see where else life could take him.
“Over there I learned how to swallow my heart, I don’t know how many times,” Resop said.
“I thought, what am I going to do the rest of my life? I had four younger brothers so farming was out. I thought I’d see what kind of education I could get out of the Army,” he said.
Resop got his education in more ways than one; He and the 513th Signal Detachment were based in Hue, Vietnam manning communication lines to Khe Sanh.
That’s when one of the most notable battles of the Vietnam war began on January 31st 1968.
“I was there the night of. I was driving through there with my jeep and I got back at about 7-7:30 at night and it was the following morning I believe at about 2:30-3:00am that the Tet Offensive started,” said Resop.
For three days, Resop and his unit fired at the enemy through bunker holes, without any food or water, an experience he’ll never forget.
“I can recall, I think it was the second night, we were all thirstier than hell and I remember it was drizzling pretty heavy, and I went to a sandbag and I punched down on it and water collected in there and that’s what I drank,” Resop said. “I think I had more sand than water in there, but it still tasted good.”
It was on the third day that the U.S. Marines were able to provide some relief for the signal detachment; But they remained under fire for weeks as they held out to do their job.
“Oh yeah, you’re scared. But like I say, your adrenaline is running so high, that you don’t even realize,” said Resop.
After 15 months in Vietnam, Resop was finally able to go home back to his farm life in Berlin.
For many Vietnam vets, Resop says the transition back home was tough, not many were thanked for their service.
But he says when it comes to Wisconsin, there’s no place like home.
“When I got home, being a farming community, it was just the opposite you know, you were welcomed home. I myself feel proud of being there, no question about it,” he said.
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