Vietnam vet opens up about wartime experiences

COPPERAS COVE - An Army veteran and Central Texas real estate mogul opened up about his experiences in the Vietnam War as a Senior Advisor to the South Vietnamese forces.

Retired Command Sergeant Major Donlie McMullin said he was one of the first combat soldiers. 

"I was there when the first American units came into Vietnam," McMullin said. "I had already been there 5, 6 months."

He traveled all over Vietnam from the Mekong Delta to Central Highlands.  But, he did not know a word of Vietnamese when he stepped foot into the country.  He had to pick up the language quickly, mostly military terms.

"I had no choice," he said. "There were 3 Americans, sometimes mostly 2, with a whole squadron of Vietnamese."

During the treks, they used armored personnel carriers.  McMullin said he taught the forces how to take a village, how to use indirect fire and advised on everything related to combat - especially during combat situations.  He said he fought continuously right alongside the troops and was basically on the front lines.

McMullin sustained injuries while overseas, but kept fighting. 

"Things went boom and he was killed and I was hit.  I had a round come in here and lodge up in my jaw.  I couldn't talk," he remembered.

He recalled one time when he left the hospital to get back in the line of combat because he had a job to get done.

After a year of serving alongside the South Vietnamese forces from 1965 to 1966, he returned to the states.  But his homecoming was an awful experience.

"I got spit on in San Francisco when I got off the plane," and he added there were protesters, too.

McMullin remembered the first person who was kind to him in Chicago during a layover.

The veteran spent 22-and-a-half years in the Army.  On the day he left the service, he opened his real estate business, still thriving after 35 years.

He also owns a ranching business, booming with more than 300 cattle and about 60 horses.

"Even today, it's[Texas] still new country and people a chance on ya," he said.

 

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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