Daddy’s Coming Home

By Billy Henderson

I didn’t serve in Nam but my dad did.  He also had 52 months in Korea; most of it during the “conflict” as it was called. He served 14 months in Nam– plus probably 1/2 dozen other times; when we were told he was “TDY” . He was Green Beret with over 150 combat jumps, so he was called to action several times. Among the Silver Stars, Bronze Stars; Purple Hearts etc, he received the Distinguished Service Cross, our Nation’s second highest medal next to the Medal of Honor (which most of the ones who received the Medal of Honor did not make it back, along with a lot more service men and women…)

When his unit came back from Nam, he was missing in action. Every day for about a month his C.O. would call my mom and tell her, “Margaret ,we haven’t heard anything from Bill yet”.

I was 15 years at that time with three younger sisters and a brother who was not even two years old.

Man, did we do some praying. I had to keep telling by siblings,  “Daddy’s coming home –I just know it!” And sure enough, he made it back in one piece, thank God! . I remember my Dad use to say, “Son believe me, there isn’t no atheist in foxholes” and I believe that.

I was in Karlsruhe (Germany) from March 68 t0 March 71. I am a member of the K.A.H.S. class of 71. Dad and Mom were making arrangements for me to stay a few months so I could graduate with my class, when my Dad had a massive heart attack and was medivaced back to Ft Bliss. I did not have a choice but to be with my Dad. The Red Cross had notified all of my Dads’ immediate kinfolk because the doctors said that he probably would not survive but maybe 4 to 6 weeks. My mom’s family was from South Carolina so when asked were he wanted to send us, he naturally said, “South Carolina so my wife can be with her family.”

They put one of the first pacemakers in my dad that had ever been installed at a military hospital; and praise the Lord, Dad lived another 23 years.

He died June 27, 1994, and was buried on my birthday, June 29th. My heart went with him; it was only after a year after his death that I was able to go to the gravesite and then I finally let him go. I  still miss him dearly–I am in tears as I am typing this.

Dad retired as an E-8 holding down a First Sergeant job. He was stationed at Rhineland Kaserne with the 78th Engineers combat battalion I worked at the snack bar there as well as played football and wrestled for Karlsruhe American High. By the way, Karlsruhe mailed my diploma to me; but Dad being the hard core soldier that he was, did not believe that they would; so he made me go to school in S.C. and I received a diploma from there.

I later was stationed at Ft. Benning, but was never sent to a combat zone., but I was willing and ready to die for my country.

I salute the Vets—past, present and future.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I remember how our military was treated upon returning from Nam and it was a shame. I am so glad that Vets are treated better now.

Billy Henderson

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One Comment on “Daddy’s Coming Home”

  1. Bryan Nettz says:

    I was stationed there from 1975-78, we called it the Zoo.


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