Remembering freedom through sacrifice

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jarad A. Denton
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
"I was in Vietnam when my son was born."

Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Larry Scudder, former 90th Special Operations Squadron cryptologist, said he was stationed at Cam Rahn Bay, in the Khanh Hoa province of Vietnam, when he received the news of his son's birth.

"It was really cool to get the news," he said. "It was June 13, 1971 back in the states, and I was only 21 years old at the time."

Sergeant Scudder said good news, like his son's birth, was often interrupted by frequent rocket attacks on the base. The United States was reducing its presence in the area in anticipation of the evacuation of Saigon in 1975. As servicemembers were steadily pulled out, the Vietcong tried to do as much damage as possible.

The afternoon after his son was born, Sergeant Scudder was wounded during a rocket attack on the hospital where he was staying.

"I was in the hospital getting rehydrated from a bout with malaria." he said. "The rocket hit the base about 20 yards away from the hospital. The impact knocked me unconscious."

Due to the severity of his injuries, Sergeant Scudder was medically retired from the Air Force. He spent ten years in a wheel chair, trying to work through the nerve damage caused by the attack. However, his time both in and out of the service taught Sergeant Scudder to always put men and women in uniform first, especially during Veteran's Day.

"It's a day for veterans, it's not a day for sales," he said. "People should put the veterans first, thank them for their service - and not make this just a day off, or a time to make money."

The best way to honor veterans is to understand the sacrifices they made for the freedoms Americans enjoy, Sergeant Scudder said. And even though he feels servicemembers are being put into harm's way more than they should, Sergeant Scudder said the current conflicts are necessary to safeguard the American way of life.

"I believe we have a reason to fight this war," he said. "If we weren't over there, then the war would come here - to the streets of Main Street, U.S. A. I don't want to fight a war on these grounds."

Editor's Note: This story is the third part of a series highlighting our Nation's veterans.