A quiet hero
With the re-instatement of the draft in the 1960s, perhaps nothing could strike fear in the hearts of this county's young men like Ruby Moses' signature on the bottom of a draft notice.
But that trivializes the experiences of those young men who were sent to war in Vietnam.
Inducted into the service on November 2, 1966, Sam Ramsey found himself in Vietnam in April 1967.ﾠ By September 10, he had been wounded.
Having been stationed "all over Vietnam" Ramsey was severely wounded just two months later on Veterans Day, November 11.
Ramsey was a member of the B Squad of the 196th Light Infantry, which was joined with four or five other Infantry Brigades to form the 3rd Armored Division.
But that was after the events of November 11, 1967.
"Me and my squad hadn't had a weekend or nothing off," Ramsey recalled.ﾠ "All we did was search and destroy missions during the day and ambush missions at night. They called us out on special operations. ﾠWhen you are on missions they send you one hot meal a day. They would drop it in to us from a helicopter."
The company split up, we were searching out trails, and going into little towns," Ramsey said.
Ramsey and his squad leader were due for a seven day R&R in Australia.
"The chopper was to pick us up at 11:45," said Ramsey.ﾠ "Fifteen minutes before it was to get us, we were blown all to hell."
Ramsey's friend and squadron leader was carrying a 20 pound demolition kit, which still had two or three C-4s (plastic explosives) and electrical blasting caps.ﾠ He stepped on a booby trap and was killed out-right.
"What saved me," said Ramsey, "was my 60 machine gun, or I would have been blown plumb in two.
The wounded Ramsey was medivaced stateside to Walter Reed Army Hospital.
Ramsey survived, but suffered hearing loss, bi-lateral tinnitus, facial nerve paralysis, right arm and shoulder damage with radial neuropathy, Horner's syndrome to the eye, damage to the neck and to the abdomen.
At Walter Reed Ramsey met up with Squad member and former radio operator Tom Sheets, of Riverdale, Maryland.
Sheets told Ramsey that the rest of the squad was gone.ﾠ They were the only two survivors.
"As far as I know, we were the only two left," Ramsey said.
After his recovery at Walter Reed Hospital, Ramsey spent his last six months of service at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he was honorably discharged on November 1, 1968.
Samuel Edward Ramsey is the recipient of two Purple Hearts, two Bronze medals, two bronze leaf clusters, a Good Conduct Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, the Combat Infantryman badge, the Expert badge for Rifle, the Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge for the M-14 and the Sharpshooter Marksmanship Qualification Badge for the M-16.
The Good Conduct Medal is inscribed with the words "Efficiency, Honor and Fidelity."
These commendations did not come to this quiet hero without sacrifice.
Ramsey doesn't often share his experience in Vietnam, but has pondered the purpose of America's involvement there.
"If it was for any kind of reason at all," Ramsey said, then paused in his conversation.ﾠ "But it was pure politics.
"I don't like to talk about it" he said. "It still brings tears to your eyes."
Tears to his eyes, and 44 years later, Ramsey is facing more surgery at the VA Hospital in Richmond, Virginia,ﾠ to remove shrapnel from his neck which is affecting his neck, back, shoulders and hands.
On his return home Ramsey worked at Eddie's Servicenter and for Jerry and Linda Clifton on their farm at Edray.
He is a hard worker and today he stays busy tending to his home and grounds in Buckeye.
The first U. S. Combat troops were deployed to Vietnam in 1965, beginning 10 long years of involvement in an unpopular war.
According to the National Archives and other websites, the Vietnam war claimed 58,220 service member casualties, more than 303,000 Wounded in Action, 1,687 ﾠMIAs, and 866 ﾠPrisoners of War. Of that number 765 were released, 36 escaped, and 65 died in captivity.
Ramseyﾒs certificate for the ﾠPurple Heart reads:
The United States of America
To all who shall see these presents, Greetings;
This is to certify that the President of the United States of America has awarded the Purple Heart,
Established by General George Washington at Newburgh, New York, August 7, 1782, to Specialist Four Samuel E. Ramsey, United States Army, for wounds received in action in the Republic of Vietnam,ﾠ11 November 1967