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Michael Etling Army

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Michael Etling - 1214 Views
honored by Ketevan Svanadze

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Assigned: peace keeper
Highest Rank: E4
Entered Service: 3/1/1968
Exited Service: 6/1/1969
Foreign Service Length: 12 months
Continental Service Length: 6 months
Location of Service: South Korea
Gender: male
Basic Training: Ft. Jackson, SC
Military Position: radio operator
Place of Separation: Ft. Lewis, WA
From City: Westerville
From State: Ohio
My War Stories
  3/1968 Michael Etling is from Westerville, Oh. He served in the US Army, during The Vietnam War. He entered service in March 1968 and exited in November 1969. His highest rank is E4. His basic training took place in Ft. Jackson, SC. The place of Separation was Ft. Lewis, WA. He served in South Korea 12 months, and continental service was 6 months.
  3/1968 Michael Etling was drafted. At the time he lived with his parents in Westerville, Ohio. That’s the place where he lives now. He had a lot of reasons to join, but the main reason is his love of his country and his desire to serve for it and protect his nation’s rights. Another reason was heritage. Three generations before him served in the military, including his father, grandfather and great grandfather. Mike recalls his first day of service. He describes it as a combination of many emotions. Since he was drafted in 1968, right during the war there was some fear, apprehension, lonesome and homesickness. Since they had only two months to prepare for the war, Michael remembers his basic training as very hard, intense and busy. He had to wake up at 5:30 every morning and work a busy schedule till the evening. He remembers his instructors and as tough and strict. At the time he didn’t like them and their principle of teaching and scheduling, but later during serving out of the country, he realized it was necessary. He got through his training well. He had good scores in all the trainings and was 2nd in the company.
  9/1968 He was sent to South Korea. He remembers arriving in Korea. As he explains it, it was very shocking, because during that time Korea was very poor, especially where Mike served. He worked as a radio operator. He didn’t see any combat and therefore he saw no casualties. Mike doesn’t recall any special memorable experience, but the most pleasant part of his tour was getting to know Korean people and culture. He got some awards. Among them were, when he became soldier of month (twice) and the “Expert of Qualifying Weapons” during his training. He liked these citations because they were given to him for doing his job well.
  10/1968 Michael wasn’t under the fire during his service. He communicated with his family through letters, since they didn’t have access to telephones. As described, food wasn’t good or bad. He had plenty of supplies. Mike described that he didn’t have any stress or pressure once he got used to the place. But the stress he felt all the time, throughout his service was his job, as a soldier. He had a big responsibility, which is provide security to people. This thought always kept him under pressure. Most of their entertainment was athletic and visiting different parts of the country and seeing the sights. They did have entertainers sometimes – Bob Hope, for example. He didn’t have long leaves, but over the weekend he would travel around the country and visit different villages and cities. Michael doesn’t recall any certain humorous events, but he remembers pulling pranks on other fellow soldiers. He remembers his fellow soldiers, they got along, became friends and he has great respect to the officers.
  6/1969 Michael recalls the day his service ended, he was at Fort Louis, Washington. After the war, he took some time off and relaxed a little. Later he got a job and went back to work. Mike used his G.I. bill to pay for his college education. Mike made many friends in the service, but they didn’t continue communicating after they got back. He joined a veteran’s organization and he’s a commander of American Legend in Westerville. After the war Michael started his career as an electrician. Mike does a lot of activities through the veteran program, including: Student Americanism, Government testing, sponsoring: Boy state / girls state, Memorial Day...
  5/2009 As Michael described, this experience changed him a lot. He became more disciplined and patriotic, but the main thing about it was that he appreciated what he hadn’t noticed before. He saw all the freedom and opportunities he and his nation had compared to the rest of the world. This caused him appreciate and love his country more than ever and became even more proud to serve it.