Bemus Point Veteran Learned A Lot During Time In Army

Bemus Point veteran Keith Swanson learned a lot during his time in service. Submitted photo

BEMUS POINT — While Keith Swanson said his time serving his country in the Vietnam war was not the greatest, he learned a lot and it helped him to grow.

Swanson joined the Army in April 1969, and was discharged in April 1971. He spent his basic training time in New Jersey and then spent time in Washington with the Red Diamond Fifth Division before being shipped out to Vietnam in April 1970.

While in Vietnam, Swanson drove an armored personnel carrier with the 25th Infantry Division. He said that he did not have too many good memories of that time, but he learned a lot.

“I did spend a week in Sydney, Australia for R&R but that’s about it,” Swanson said. “I did learn a lot and make a lot of friends. It helped me to grow up. I went in when I was 19 years old.”

On the other side of things, coming home for Swanson was great before reaching the time where Vietnam veterans were not received well.

“It was fantastic,” Swanson said. “I got on that plane and when I got home I kissed the ground. After that we began to get harassed because of being in Vietnam. It was not pleasant back here. I didn’t want people to know I had been in Vietnam back then, but I was still glad to be home.”

Spending time in Vietnam and in the middle of a warzone, Swanson said, taught him a lot about life. This includes not taking anything for granted.

“There were a lot of things I learned about life,” Swanson said. “Especially, don’t take anything for granted because in a warzone you don’t know from one day to the next if you are going to make it.”

Even though his time in the service was hard for him, Swanson added that he thought more people should go into the service. He said people can mature and learn about life, rather than sitting around at home doing nothing.

“My time in service was not the greatest, but I still learned respect and how to take orders, and to do the job I was assigned to do,” Swanson said.

For Swanson, one of the most important things for him during that time and still to this day, was the fact that he carried his little Bible with him the entire time he was in Vietnam. These days the impact of that continues.

“I carried my little Bible the whole time and now coming to know the Lord, that is one of the biggest things in my life along with my wife and family,” Swanson said.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today