COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WFFT) - John Lumpkin grew up in a military family. His dad was a World War 2 veteran and taught at West Point Academy, where John was born. So, it’s no surprise that John had an interest in the military.
John said he got interested in the military "Because of the exposure to it. We went to different camps or forts, whatever they were called in those times. Each and everyone brought on more individual interest."
John’s brother, a Korean War veteran, taught him to run wires and climb telephone poles, so he did the same for the US Army.
Located in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, John’s main job after he enlisted and was deployed was to operate a switchboard, providing communications for others, both in the air and on the ground.
John said that your job wasn't always your job, saying "at that time you went to Vietnam, you had a job title. I was in the signal corps. When you get there on the 2nd day, you’re told what you’re really going to do."
His secondary job involved perimeter duty, and even though he was ready, he still took the advice of his father.
"Fortunately I got before my father, before I left what i needed to know. Stay scared. Stay scared from the minute you get up until the minute you lay down and the whole time. So, my theory was, and I learned from the troops that were already there that this is where the bunker is, this is where you work, which was also enclosed with 55 gallons of concrete, sandbags and all that, and you needed to know where they were at at all times," John said.
And this information would come in handy.
John said of his time in Vietnam "we did not have one night of rest in the 365 days I was there, nor did they have any for the 300 days after I left."
John was involved in some of the fights himself. Look out for part 2 of John Lumpkin's story where we’ll detail what his life in Vietnam was really like and how it’s affected him to this day.
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