In 1969, an Indiana youth made a fateful decision when he opted to withdraw from his college English course. By so doing, he was no longer a full-time student and now available to be drafted. Within weeks Martin Glennon had received his notice and was heading to Fort Leonardwood for basic training. From there he traveled to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas to train as a combat medic. Martin found that he had learned a lot in a very short time but that did not ease the anxiety of leaving for Vietnam.
In January of 1970 his parents and sisters gave him a tearful send off. Within days he was delivered to Cam Ran Bay where he discovered he had been assigned to the 101st Airmobile Division. This assignment brought to his mind disturbing visions of airborne rangers, parachute drops and behind enemy line activities. Glennon was happy to learn that the visions were not reality but he would learn that reality was just as disturbing.
Following a week of in country training to get used to the heat and humidity Martin was assigned to work with Alpha 2/506 under the command of Captain Albert Burckard and specifically with 2nd Platoon led by Lt. Gary Kelly.
His field time started out with what was to become a familiar routine. Diagnosing minor aliments seeing that all the troops took their malaria tablets, distributing aspirins and anti-biotics and treating the minor cuts and abrasions accumulated by troops walking through the mountainous jungle terrain. This changed when the platoon Kit Carson Scout hit a booby trap and suffered severe shrapnel wounds to the chest and abdomen. Despite the best efforts of Martin this young Vietnamese died enroute to Camp Evans. The next day another booby trap was encountered and two GI’s were injured. These men were successfully treated and survived their wounds in the hospital.
On the 12th of March Alpha attempted to open Fire Support Base Ripcord. Three men from the first platoon were killed and others injured. The attempt to secure the firebase was called off. On 1 April, a second attempt was made as Alpha encountered more enemy action when they supported Bravo and Charlie Companies in establishing Ripcord. While Alpha Company continued to encounter enemy activity, things were quiet for Glennon and the Second Platoon until May. On the 14th the Company was involved in a brief firefight as they left their NDP resulting in a loss to First Platoon and two wounded. A week later a Second Platoon RTO by the name of Michaels was wounded by a trail watcher as the platoon passed by. On the third of June Weiland Norris was killed while walking point. Sargent Koger? was wounded in the opening fire as well as Sgt. Waggon. Supporting fire from a Cobra Gunship spayed the area with shrapnel hitting Sp4 Mcvay.
A few days later the battalion and Alpha went on a weeklong stand-down before going to FSB O’Riley to provide security. From a medics point of view this was a period of quiet and relaxation since the injuries were few and generally slight. During this time Martin started reading the bible regularly. He also considered re-enlisting in order to get out of the field but after some thought decided against it. Life wasn’t too bad on O’Riley.
As most troopers facing combat in the jungles of Vietnam know, things can change rapidly and not usually for the good. On 10 July Alpha Company was once more inserted into the jungle and on 12 July with D/ 2-501, assaulted Hill 805, which luckily was undefended. An attack that night by the NVA led to injuries in Delta and a number of enemy soldiers killed. The next day Alpha moved off the hill in search of the enemy. Within a little more than a week they had found all they wanted. During part of this time the second platoon operated away from the rest of the company. The men became very cautious and scared because of all the enemy activity. Most of the men were just hoping to do their recon without encountering the NVA and as a result were moving quieter than they had ever operated before. They soon found themselves once more moving with the rest of the company but the noise generated by all these people did little to make the troops calm.
It was the morning of 22 July 1970 when Medic Glennon reported to his Platoon Sergeant Johnny Brown, that he smelled NVA. Patrols around the NDP failed to turn up any sign of activity and the Company waited for the time to move out. Martin began reading his bible for comfort. As the Second Platoon moved out Glennon soon heard shooting, explosions and cries of “Medic” from the front. Martin froze in his tracks as the shooting and explosions erupted. SP4 Tom Schultz grabbed Martin and assured him that all would be well. He soon gathered his composure and moved to tend the wounded. By the end of the 6-hour firefight he had tended wounds on most of the 17 platoon members present. However, Robert Journell and Tom Schultz were dead and Brown had a serious face wound. But 15 of the 17 in the field had survived. That night when not tending to wounded he continued to read his bible.
Following the evacuation of FSB Ripcord, Glennon was re-assigned to duty at the Corp hospital and eventually left country in December. The remainder of his service was spent at Fort Knox.
Martin returned to Indiana and attended school once more. It soon became apparent to him that he needed to dedicate his life to Jesus. With that he married his girl friend Lea and finished Bible College. Today he is an insurance salesman and a lay minister with over 100 weddings performed. He and his wife live in Valparaiso, Indiana where they continue to raise their eight children and dedicate their lives to Jesus.
Martin has written a book about his experiences in the war called The Decisive Battle. The book is independently published, but the link for his book on Amazon.com is: