Honoring Neil Childs this Veteran’s Day
Posted on November 11, 2019
This Veteran’s Day, we are honored to feature veteran Neil Childs, who dutifully served our country for a total of 10 years. We are extremely grateful for his huge commitment to our country and it is with great pleasure that we introduce you to Neil and his veteran story below.
With the Vietnam War underway, Neil enrolled in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) while he was attending Michigan State University. He was able to earn a stipend during that time but knew he’d be heading to Vietnam when he graduated. Following his MSU graduation, he went on active duty as an Infantry Officer. Neil was stationed at Ft. Lewis in Washington after he graduated from Officer Basic Training. Six months into his station, he received orders to join the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) as an Advisor. Prior to his deployment, he had 6 weeks of language training at Ft Bragg, North Carolina.
While serving in Vietnam (May through September 1969), Neil was assigned as an Advisor to a Vietnamese Regional Force Company with one other officer and two sergeants. He was 5 K from the nearest road in the Mekong Delta.
The bad food was certainly memorable to Neil – he (not so fondly) recalls having to prepare his own food while out in the rice paddies with his fellow soldiers.
A positive memory Neil recalled was using a small 3" reel to reel to record young Vietnamese soldiers singing. He sent it home to his wife, Lynda, and despite having no idea what they were singing, she really enjoyed hearing the songs.
Things took an unfortunate turn when Neil’s interpreter stepped on a booby trap (now called an IED). His interpreter received a severe leg wound and later possibly lost his foot, while Neil received some small shrapnel. He was processed through two hospitals and ended up at a convalescent center at Cam Ranh Bay. While Neil was recovering there, he was once again injured when sappers threw charges into the hospital wards.
Neil was sent home, by way of Japan, to Valley Forge Hospital in Pennsylvania. The next day he received a 30-day convalescent leave and arrived home three days before his daughter was born.
Following his short leave, he and his family were stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky from October 1969-1973. With a degree in education, Neil ended up in a teaching type role for a good portion of his active duty service. He served as an S2 and Communication Officer for an Armor Battalion, a Company Commander of a Mech Infantry company, and finally a Basic Training Officer with the Committee Group. Neil left active duty in 1973 with the rank of Captain and continued his commitment to his country by joining the Army Reserves for 5 years.
Neil has been receiving VA disability benefits following a kidney transplant. Neil – you are a true hero to us and we couldn’t be more grateful to you and your family for your sacrifices and service to our wonderful country. On behalf of all of us at Richmond Brothers, Happy Veteran’s Day to you and all of your deserving fellow servicemen and women!