MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Those living through the 50s, 60s, and 70s were all witnesses to the Vietnam war. As the days pass, millions of stories that soldiers brought back are slowly fading into history.
One Rio Grande Valley veteran is sharing his story about fighting in the jungle. Juan Moreno said before making the trip overseas, he had barely been on an airplane.
“When I got to Vietnam, it was something different,” Moreno said. “We heard the bombing. I thought this is something different. Where am I going? What am I going to be doing here?”
On April 1968, the McAllen native was working for General Motors in Pontiac, Michigan.
He received a letter in the mail from the U.S. Government telling him he had been drafted to fight. Moreno says he barely had time to adjust.
“I got there and they took me in the company,” Moreno said. “I was there and the first two weeks, I was already on the battlefield.”.
The world he went to wasn’t the only unknown. What was once home would also become a mystery.
After two years of service, Moreno returned to a changed country.
Moreno said he asked himself, “How are people going to treat me? How am I going to be accepted? How’s civilian life now? It’s not going to be the same as it was before.”
Moreno said he had to readjust to civilian life and it posed its own challenges.
“I was not a troublemaker or anything,” Moreno said. “Then I was trained to kill, kill, kill, with the Marine Corps.”
In his reflection, the Vietnam Veteran said it was worth the sacrifice and represents a life well lived.
“I don’t regret it. At least I know I accomplished my goal. I served my country.”