Roy Crocker served in Vietnam
Army 1965-1970, National Guard
Roy Crocker – Vietnam
Army 1965-1970, National Guard
Roy was born in San Mateo, Calif. His parents had moved to California from Wichita, Kan., during the Depression with the hope of finding employment. When they returned to the Midwest Roy’s dad became a meat cutter and ended up buying a grocery store in Bentley, Kan. His dad also drove a school bus to supplement his income. Roy worked at the store as he was growing up and during his high school years he earned 15 cents per hour.
After high school, Roy went to electronics school, which was something he could get excited about. He joined the National Guard and was drafted to go to Vietnam in 1968, but before he left, he married his girlfriend Lajuana. Before being sent to Vietnam, Roy was sent to training to learn how to use an M-16, learn jungle tactics, life preservation, and how to react to particular situations.
Roy thought when he arrived in Vietnam he would be a radio operator because that was what he was trained for, but when he arrived they needed someone to work in the meteorological section. Roy spent his time processing information that was collected from the weather balloons. The balloons were sent up in the air six times per day. The data were collected, and then sent to the artillery batteries. The information from the balloons increased the accuracy of the artillery shots and made them more effective. This process was done around the clock.
Roy remembers the Viet-Cong penetrating their perimeter a couple of nights, and Russian tanks came within 5 miles of their area, but aircraft were called in to protect them and took care of those Russian tanks. They had ground attacks at their camp a couple of times, and Roy had a rocket that landed 50 feet away from him. It really scared him because that rocket left a crater that was 4 feet deep and five feet across.
While in their camp they lived in a tent that had a wooden floor and they slept with mosquito nets. They received medicine daily to prevent them from getting malaria. Roy remembers the mess hall food as being excellent because they had a French chef. The area around their camp was very dense with trees and foliage. They had two Vietnamese boys and two girls who were about 15-years old who came each day to provide housekeeping duties, they were paid one dollar per day.
Roy felt that the U.S. had a reason for being in Vietnam and he never experienced any of the negative sentiment that existed. Roy felt it necessary that everyone did their part. Once Roy was sent back to the States, he was sent to Fort Riley for out processing. Then he went to work for IBM. He worked for IBM for 28 plus years, then went to work for a competitor for eight years, and retired in 1994. He currently owns and operates his own burglar alarm company.
Page 2 of 2 - Peggy Sowders, a city of Independence staff member, compiles stories from veterans from around the area at the Truman Memorial Building. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 816-325-7979 if you are interested in helping a veteran tell his or her story.