Roy Little was drafted when he was 21 years old, and he knew then that he would be going to Vietnam. “You have to accept what’s going on,” states Roy. “Do what you got to do to defend our country.” Roy packed his bag and headed for Fort Bragg, NC, for Basic Training and then on to Fort McClennan, AL, for AIT training, “Where they teach you to stay alive,” he says.
Roy’s first mission in Vietnam was July 19th, 1969. His unit ran into heavy fire on his first day out in the field. He was shot in the back while running for cover. He doesn’t remember much except for when he was medevaced out in a helicopter with other soldiers that weren’t so lucky. “That was hard,” Roy admits. “It is something I have never forgotten.” Two weeks after recovering from his injury, he was sent back into the field.
Three months later, he and his unit were crossing a creek which was high and wide. When they reached the other side, the men took off their backpacks for a short rest. Somehow, one of the men’s grenades went off and, sadly, did serious damage to him and Roy, who was sitting close by. Roy ended up with another back injury. He had shrapnel embedded so close to his spine, they didn’t think he would return to the field. Amazingly, he was back 2 months later and assigned to resupply work on Hill 4-11, located seven miles west of Quang Ngai City. Roy spent 11 months and 29 days in Vietnam. Roy returned home and didn’t find the transition back into civilian life too difficult. He says, “It’s because I had every intention of coming home. That is all I thought about from the time I left until the time I returned to the U.S.” Roy went back to school when he returned and secured a good job with GE, where he worked for 30 years.
Roy has some issues getting around because of his injuries and needs a handicapped-accessible bathroom with a walk-in shower.
Purple Heart Homes will be assisting Mr. Little with his renovation, which will improve his ability to move safely in his own home. Roy, we appreciate your service to our country and we are proud to welcome you into our Purple Heart Homes family!