GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) Purple Heart recipient Terry T. Moore glances around his basement filled with items related to his service with the Marines.
“I wander around like I’m lost sometimes because it feels so good to be here,” he said.
You’ll find coffee mugs, statues, medals, hats, and shirts – with “Marines” and “Semper Fi” displayed over all of them.
“When I see something new or whatever, I’ll add to it,” he said.
He also listens to the peaceful sound of water trickling at his two fish tanks, which help calm him down whenever he’s stressed out.
“This is my hobby, this is what keeps me at peace,” he said while smiling at the tanks.
Terry is a proud member of the Marines, and he’s not afraid to show it.
“I’m not a hero, but I did my time, I did my duty,” he said. “I’m very proud to be a Marine. Nobody can take that title away from me, ever.”
Enlisting in 1968 at the age of 18, Terry was sent to Vietnam right after boot camp.
“I was with the 3rd battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine division,” he said. “Mike company – third platoon, third squad. “
Terry was a grunt with the infantry who was involved with night patrols and many fights.
“Everyday was a battle, practically everyday,” he said.
Responsible for taking out the enemy by any means necessary.
“I was up on the DMZ the whole time,” he said. “From hill to hill to push to push, get ’em off the hill. Push ’em back into the DMZ.”
Terry recalls one battle in particular at a hill known as LZ Sierra.
“As we were going up the hill, we were getting shot at, grenades were thrown at us and it took most of the day to take the hill,” he recalls.
Things didn’t get any easier as he had to recover those who didn’t make it.
“As we brought the dead back up, a chopper came in,” he said. ” [A] 46 helicopter landed down below the hill in the valley. All of a sudden, we got hit with mortars and mortars and more mortars.”
The chopper took off and things got deadlier and worse from there.
“All hell broke loose,” he said while recalling the enemy gaining ground. “They came up in waves.”
Terry was rescuing one of his fellow men when he was knocked down after being struck.
“I got hit with a ChiCom grenade. I got hit in the legs and the stomach and blew out my eardrums,” he said.
Terry says shortly after, a decision was made to land a 46 chopper on top of the hill to evacuate the wounded.
“As we were getting to the chopper, they hit it with an RPG rocket and they blew the chopper off the side of the hill,” he remembers. “The blades were going around. I can see the dirt flying yet today.”
Six others were already on the chopper, and only the pilot survived. Terry was eventually evacuated and spent months recovering until he was released by the Marines.
He earned the Purple Heart for his injuries, and worked hard for nearly 50 years at a paper mill to get the war off his mind.
“I retired five years ago – I’m still in Vietnam, I never get out of Vietnam, seems like it never goes away. I go to group sessions, I take medications, but it still does not go away,” he said.
His basement is the one spot he can get away from the dark memories of the war. With the things he’s seen and been through, he’s just lucky to be here today.
“The greatest thing is I made it home, I survived,” he said. “That’s what I’m doing today, still surviving.”
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