My name is Barry D. Mishler. I served in Vietnam from 1969 –1970 as an E-4 with Bravo Company 2/506. I arrived with an M.O.S. of 11-C (mortars) but was assigned as II-B (infantry).
I was on FSB Ripcord when the Chinook was shot down on the ammo dump. On that day I was going outside the wire on a detail with two other guys. Two of us provided security while the third would cut down trees to improve our fields of fire. We had just left the perimeter when we heard the 51-caliber fire on the Chinook. We watched as it crashed onto the ammo dump. Soon things started blowing up and we were outside the wire and could not get back inside. We hunkered down outside the wire and waited for a chance to get in. After a long time the explosions became fewer, things calmed down and we were able to get back inside. In my bunker fighting position laid unexploded artillery round.
Apparently due to heavy wounded in the mortar unit, the next day I was transferred to mortars. Now instead of being in my bunker on the side of the hill, I was right on top of Ripcord where the enemy mortars hit regularly. I didn’t think we would ever get off Ripcord alive. When we were extracted a few days later, I got on the bird and never looked out. There was word that the enemy was coming up the hill like ants, but I wasn’t looking.
I have recently retired from the trucking company USF Holland and am now working as a custodian for a school district in Woodstock, Illinois. I have been a member of the Union Fire Department for 25 years and I am a life member of VFW Post 5040 in Woodstock, Illinois.
I have a great wife Rita, daughter Tonya and son Jason (daughter –in- law Georgette). I have four grandchildren, Jarvis, Devin, Zoe and Gage. I also have three stepsons, Darren, Tyler and Gavin (daughter-in-law Lisa).
While my experiences in the war were minor compared to others, they were not the same as my father, Dean Mishler, who served in World War II. He had the misfortune of being captured 3 times and was held as a prisoner the last time for 112 days. To me (and probably to my brothers Bob and Scott), Dad will always be a hero.