“I Remember The Ones Who Didn’t Make It”: A Combat Medic In Vietnam

Pete Garza


CW3(R) Pete Garza was born in Harlingen, Texas. After his father, an 8th Air Force veteran, died in 1948, he was raised by his mom, who made ends meet doing domestic work. He married early, when he was 16 and his wife was 15. In 1964, he joined the Army and completed Basic Training at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, and medical training at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. In the summer of 1965, he was assigned to 4th Armored Division in Germany, and made sergeant before deploying to Vietnam in the summer of 1968. Arriving in country, he was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division at Camp Evans. He joined D / 1-5 Cavalry at LZ Jane, and immediately began participating in operations and treating wounded Soldiers. After the war, he remained in the Army, eventually rising to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3. Throughout the rest of his career, he worked in cancer research with terminal patients, and in drug interdiction in Central America. He has dealt with Post Traumatic Stress, but the reunions and camaraderie have helped him reconcile his experiences in Vietnam. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, and Army experiences throughout his career. He discusses some of the Soldiers he treated, including experiences that changed him. He describes conducting assaults, and convincing his commander to evacuate a Soldier who needed an appendectomy. He recalls the distinctive sound of the AK-47 and remarks that one of the loneliest moments is when you can no longer hear the helicopter blades after being inserted. Finally, he talks about what his service means to him.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics ARVN Camaraderie Character Courage Diversity Injuries Leadership PTSD Returning from War Military Medicine
interviewer David Siry
date 16 April 2018


name Pete Garza
service Medic
unit 4th Armored Division, D / 1-5 Cavalry
service dates 1964