New Orleans Native, Vietnam Veteran

Title

New Orleans Native, Vietnam Veteran

Format

Video

Subject

71 -year old Vietnam Veteran, Howard. Rollins Jr.

Description

This video is about the experience a 71-year old New Orleans native, Howard Rollins Jr. encountered during is time in the Vietnam War and coming back home.

Creator

Kai Davis

Source

My Nola, My Story via YouTube

Publisher

Mass Communications department at the Xavier University of Louisiana.

Date

2nd December, 2020

Contributor

Kai Davis

Rights

My Nola, My Story

Relation

My Nola, My Story 2020

Language

English

Type

Apple iMovie

Identifier

https://youtu.be/-9NiKXRhLuA

Coverage

A Digital Humanities project by Xavier University of Louisiana’s Mass Communication department students, led by Dr. Shearon Roberts

Original Format

Transcription

Intro

My name is Howard Rollins jr. I was sergeant Rollins. I went to Vietnam, I’m 71 years old. I went to Vietnam in January 22, 1970.
I cried from New Orleans to Dallas. It took a nice stewardess to pat me up, quiet me down and my flight went from Dallas all the way to Tacoma, Washington and from Washington to Alaska, from Alaska to Japan, and from Japan to Vietnam.
After jungle school, a week in jungle school you go to your assigned unit and mine was the 173 rd Airborne Brigade , 2nd battalion, 503 infantry.

The First Day

The first day I got there going back, before I was made a radio man, after I left jungle school. When I arrived at the unit they were already in some kind of fire fight. And I remember the helicopter sitting me down, on top of the hill, which is base camp and I sit on the log and I’m watching the helicopter go in and out. Coming back with bodies, flushing the helicopter with water to flush the blood out and TOP which is the first sergeant, he came out and said the COB which is the commanding officer, CO Captain, he’ll be with you in a minute. He came out and he welcomed me to the unit.
And He told me he said, if you follow my orders and follow your sergeant orders and things, you may get home alive.

Second Day

This the second day and the way it really worked, we operated in what we called five men hawk teams. It could be five men, it could be seven men, but it was just small groups. This particular time now, was my first time out, humped out of the base camp which means we marched or walked out of the base camp. However, if it’s 20-15 -20 maybe 40 miles from base camp we travel out of a helicopter, and it’s called a combat assault.
Well we humped out the base camp this time, this was my first time and we all walking along, came through the jungle, came out of the hills. We hit the rice patties, we was approaching a village, when the enemy started firing up on us. I froze. Which is normal when you first go into combat and you’re not used of it. When the shooting starts, I froze and the guys that were with me and were used of it, they all jumped in the rice patties. I didn’t want to jump in there. But somebody eventually pulled me by my pants and pulled me down in the rice patties. The edge is where the people sit down and relieve themselves; that’s where they pop and so the edge of the rice patties was like maggots and stuff, we jumped in that and the bullets were flying. If it hadn’t been for the guy that pulled me down, I’d probably would’ve been shot and killed then.

Best/ Good Moments

Let’s talk about the best and good moments. I guess the best moments were, I met my wife, your grandmother in Hawaii’ but then I had to go back after five days. And then sometimes when we were on stand down, if after a heavy heavy action, they’d send us to a beach called Loto beach on south channel sea. And another company would perform perimeter guard and all we’d do was eat steaks, drink beer, eat seafood and swim. Sort of like an end company R&R, relax and recuperation. And that was some good times cause then you really get to know some of the guys other than as just soldiers.

Coming Home. Part One

Coming home, was a different story, I experienced people spit at me but not on me, I experienced some talking about you, but I was one of the few that just still wore my (boonie hat) or jungle boots as part of my dress. In other words I didn’t hide, even though they acted like they didn’t like us.
I don’t regret any of it, except during my military service I was offered NCO school, non-commission officers school, I turned that down, I was offered Warrant Officer school to fly helicopters, I turned that down, and I was offered officer candidate school OCS. That’s the one I regret, I wish I would’ve have taken cause i probably would’ve did what I wanted to do which was fly jets. So that’ll be the only regret that I didn’t except Officer Candidate school.

Coming Home: Part Two.

Coming home was really good but this is what I did. I was too excited and I couldn’t wait so I took a flight that would’ve gotten me there at like ten-11 o’clock that night. I got to the airport in New Orleans, I kissed the ground, the last bus stop running was at 11:00 and I got there and just missed it. So with my duffel bag and I had a riffle which was a war trophy, I walked down Airline Hwy from the Airport to Tulane and Galvez. Where my wife was staying on Perdiddo street and I told her I was going to catch her sleeping. So when I got to the front of the house, Smokey, is a big German Shepard, he had a habit of pushing the curtain and he saw me and he saw me go to the side of the house alley so he knew I was going to the back, he rushed through the back. I didn’t think he would remember me but he did and he cut up when I went through the back door. They didn’t keep the back door locked, that’s the way it was during those times. I come in through the back door, played with Smokey and I went in the bedroom where she was sleeping and I dropped my Ruck and my riffle and she just opened her eyes... HOWARD! She was so excited. Your ma-ma was laying next to her, between her and Honore, her sister cause they slept together. And I woke up the whole house and was some excited I said I told her I’d catch you sleeping. But that was a joy. But also it was like I couldn’t believe I made it home, so it took me a long time to wind down, really long. The end.

(Voice note):
Howard Rollins Jr. has been awarded with numerous medals for his time and service in Vietnam. Like the Airborne Badge, Army Emblem Badge, Combat Infantry Badge, Jumping Badge for finishing parachute school, Bronze Star Badge, Purple Heart Badge, Air Metal for doing over 150 combat assaults, Army Commendation-Medal for putting wounded soldiers on helicopter during fire fight, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Expert in M-16 medal, Expert Automatic Riffle Medal, Marx-men with M-60 machine gun Medal and the Brownstone for serving the country.

Closing Credits

Duration

9:51 (9 minutes 51 seconds)

Producer

Kai Davis

Director

Kai Davis

Files

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 5.28.47 PM.png
Date Added
October 21, 2020
Item Type
Moving Image
Tags
, , , , ,
Citation
Kai Davis , “New Orleans Native, Vietnam Veteran,” MY NOLA, MY STORY , accessed December 1, 2021, https://xulamasscomm.omeka.net/items/show/112.