Vietnam vets reunite in Region 8

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Two veterans reunited this weekend to embrace a past they say many people hardly understand.

Darrell Dickson said February 10, 1969, was a day he thought might be his last. Dickson was 19 years old and serving in the Vietnam War when he and the six other men in his company were ambushed by Viet Cong on the Rach Dong Nhien River in South Vietnam.

"It all happened so fast you don't have time to think," Dickson said.

"Everyday there was a danger, and we thought about it and it got where it would bother you quite a bit. So finally it comes to a point, you get to thinking about it, and you think 'Well, there's no use for me to worry about it. If something happens to us, it's going to happen.'"

That day in February when something did happen, Lee Gibbs was there to save Dickson's life after Dickson was shot in the left leg. "Your survival instincts kick in, your military training. And as far as I'm concerned God was right there with us because I can remember just standing up and going back through there."

As the two watch a 2003 History Channel documentary they participated in at Dickson's home in Paragould, which details February 10, 1969, Dickson remembered the circumstances that brought the men together. "We were drafted, except for Lee and we didn't want to be there to start with. We didn't even want to be in the army to start with. He chose his profession, well it worked out for us."

Gibbs said his relationship with Dickson has helped to calm the mental storm that people are just now only beginning to understand.

"Since the Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq, people understand more what we went through. Like Darrell said, there was no recognition until they brought the troops home from the Gulf War," Gibbs said.

"That's when President Bush welcomed us home."

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.