APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) — Lloyd Dumke was drafted in the army in 1969. After basic training, he was sent to Louisiana for advanced infantry school. Then it was overseas to Vietnam.
“While I was in Vietnam, I was a combat infantry soldier with the 101st airborne division,” remembers Dumke.
The 22-year-old was responsible for assisting one of the men in his platoon with a machine gun by holding his ammo.
“I was his protection along with helping him keep that gun going.”
And for four months, they never left the jungle.
“We were in the field, you slept in the field. There were no bunks, no cots, no nothing.”
The platoon was set along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, heavily populated with the NVA.
“In a 10 day period, we lost over 80% of my platoon due to either being wounded or killed.”
During that period, they came upon a boobie-trapped LZ.
“When the boobie trap went off, it was a mortar round that was buried in the ground, and one of the people stepped on it.”
Lloyd says he had somebody watching over him.
“In between that mortar round and where I was standing was a large clump of bamboo that stopped all of the shrapnel…To be honest with you, I probably think about it every day.”
Eventually, he was granted permission to reenlist to get out of the field.
“So I reenlisted, became a clerk typist doing morning reports for an aviation battalion.”
Lloyd held that position for the rest of his time in Vietnam and came home after a year. His service would end after two years in Baltimore, Maryland.”
“I had applied for special duty at the armed forces entrance and examination station…When I came home, I knew I was different, but I thought it was just me.”
Lloyd still struggles with PTSD but is dealing with it by talking at local schools about his service. And despite the tragic scenarios, he came out strong.
“I learned that you can do so much more than what the mind thinks it can.”