George Lindoff, U.S. Army, 1969-71
George Lindoff was drafted at age 18 and left for boot camp in 1969 while some of his classmates were returning from Vietnam, including his brother James. He tried to join the Navy- which should have been 4 years instead of 2 years of service, but was not allowed to. He belonged to the Blackhorse 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (which had previously arrived in Vietnam on September 7, 1966).
When Mr. Lindoff arrived in Cam Ranh Bay, a deep-water bay in Vietnam in Khánh Hòa Province, the temperature was 100 degrees. His first night there rockets rained down, then mortars and machine gun fire. His first two days he was put on guard duty, then on third day went out in the field to “Indian Country”, where the Viet Cong and NVA were.
Getting ready to patrol he would pack 8 canteens of water and cans of peaches and pecan pie. He thought that some of the C rations dated back to WWII. Mr. Lindoff stayed out sometimes for two or three months.
He tried to avoid making friends because the next day they might be “gone”. Sergeants would say “Snap out of it, get out of it or you’ll be next”. He had to learn to suck it up.
Mr. Lindoff said that his eighth month out he started to get cocky and let his guard down and got wounded. He started using some of the knowledge he learned hunting. At times the Vietcong and NVA would challenge their armored regiment in the daytime and that going up against armor was not a good idea because of their firepower. He said the RPG was the enemy’s main weapon, but they had to use it in the open, resulting in a big black puff of smoke that was hard to hide.
“The sound of a bullet hitting human flesh never leaves you.”
He is a Purple heart recipient.
Mr. Lindoff said that Saigon smelled like dry fish- like back home in Hoonah. Everything was smoked or dried, and the squid tasted like halibut, “really good”. Officers told him not to eat it, but he replied “It tastes good and I’m learning their language”. He said the Vietnamese people who grew the rice were treated like dirt but the rice was like gold to them.
He came home with lots of money because there was no place to spend it in Vietnam. He bought a house that his younger brother is now staying in.
Mr. Lindoff said he saw so much and “Wouldn’t wish it on anybody. We’re not brought into this world to destroy someone you have nothing against.”