“A Stick In A Hornets Nest”: Stirring Up Trouble On Hamburger Hill

Sammy Hoskins


Sammy Hoskins grew up in Panama City, Florida, with his brother and two sisters. He was working the night shift for the local newspaper when he volunteered for the draft. He both attended basic training and posted to Germany with Elvis Presley. In Germany, he served in C Company, 32nd Armored Regiment, in the 3rd Armored Division. About the time Elvis was leaving the military, Sammy reenlisted because he had met and married a German woman, Hildegard. While in Germany, he was promoted from Private First Class through the ranks to Sergeant. After a brief time back in the States at Ft. Stewart, Georgia, he returned to Amberg, Germany, serving in the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Returning to the United States, he volunteered for Drill Sergeant School, and after his time on the trail, he deployed to Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division. During the Battle of Hamburger Hill, Sammy lost his eyesight when a grenade exploded in his face. He was evacuated, and following treatment in Japan, he returned to the United States where he attended classes to learn how to live a full life despite his blindness. In this interview, he describes his childhood, and his decision to enlist. He highlights some of his interactions with Elvis, and discusses his service as an armored Soldier. He discusses his transition to infantry and his deployment to Vietnam, providing a detailed account of the action in which he lost his vision. Finally, he explains how his life has changed since the Battle of Hamburger Hill, and the importance of reunions.


conflicts Vietnam War Cold War
topics Camaraderie Courage Injuries Leadership Military Techniques Teamwork Returning from War Patriotism
interviewer Dave Siry
date 16 August 2018


name Sammy Hoskins
service Armor / Infantry
unit C Company, 3-187 Infantry, 101st Airborne Division
service dates 1958 1969