Oshkosh, Wis. (WFRV) – “Both my dad and my mom served in World War II. My mother was in the Marine Corps actually, and my dad was in the Army,” Ron Griffin recalled.

Griffin grew up in Illinois with visions of becoming a Marine, just like his mom.

But he became a Wisconsin boy quickly, attending college at UW Oshkosh.

After graduating, Griffin was drafted into the Army in 1969.

He was off to Vietnam the following year with the 82nd Artillery Unit.

“It went from being laid back and most of the days were spent just cleaning up and maintenance, housekeeping types of duties to.. we fired more rounds in one day than I ever did at (my previous bases),” Griffin said.

Like many Vietnam vets, Griffin didn’t feel that sense of pride when he initially returned home from the war because of how they were treated.

It took him more than 30 years to join AMVETS.

“Before that, I hadn’t belonged to any groups, I didn’t wear veteran’s hats and stuff and didn’t identify with veterans,” said Griffin.

Now though, you can see him wearing his AMVETS shirt; He’s proud of serving his country and proud of those he did it with.

Griffin has even dedicated his time to running a website called LZ Hurricane, named after a base he was stationed at. 

It aggregates photos and content from 82nd Field Artillery Regiment vets across the country, who served in any war.

And most of all, Griffin now says he wears his veteran title proudly and honorably, trying to give back when he can and encouraging others to do the same.

“I had that military background when I grew up and I just wanted to give to the community and make the whole thing a better place to live in for my kids and that,” Griffin said.

“My priorities in life have always been family first, then my country and then myself,” he said.