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Transporting every type of supply in Vietnam

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TOPEKA (KSNT) – A member of the 1st Air Cavalry Division, Sergeant E5 Warren Wood would spend a year in Vietnam transporting everything from ammunition to wounded soldiers.

In the late 1960’s while the draft was in full swing, Wood had a skillset that set him on a different track heading into the conflict overseas.

“As luck would have it, I had some skills so I was put into a skilled position rather than the infantry even though I was with an infantry division,” Wood said. “I was what they call a heavy equipment mechanic, wheel and track.”

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As one of typically two mechanics on the landing zones, Wood’s days consisted of vital transportation work all around the firebase, using vehicles called mules.

“Transport all the supplies for the LZ’s from the helicopter’s to wherever they needed,” he said. “Ammunition, food, medical supplies, even wounded. So my job out there was to keep these mules running, and to transport as many supplies as I could when needed.”

Keeping those mules up and operational was imperative, with multiple runs taking place throughout the day.

“LZ’s are typically very small, so you have two choices,” Wood said, “walk across it, but if you have anything heavy to carry you’d use the mules. Especially unloading choppers, which was how we got most of our supplies, you used the mules.”

Veteran Salute: Turning a vital skill into a lifelong passion

While a lot of his time in Vietnam was outside of mechanics, Wood got plenty of opportunities to show off his abilities.

“I thought it was an important task,” Wood said. “I felt more like I was in transportation than mechanics because we used them so often, then when I’d get to the rear area of course we got to work on some of the bigger stuff. When we’d move from our base camps to, we went to provincial capital and finally rear area, so I did get to use some of my skills with the bigger vehicles at that time.”

Nowadays, Wood is enjoying retirement in Topeka, keeping up with the 8 grandkids and traveling when possible.

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