“In A Matter Of Eleven Days, I Became An Old Guy”: With The Rakkasans At Hamburger Hill

Mike Smith


Mike Smith grew up in Washington Courthouse, Ohio, on a farm. The family bred cattle, and his dad utilized a new procedure for the artificial insemination of cows. He graduated from high school in 1966, and went to The Ohio State University for two years before volunteering for the draft in 1968. He completed basic training and advanced infantry training at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. He found the leadership at “Tigerland” hard but fair. Deploying to Vietnam, he joined the Rakkasans, and served in D Company, 3rd Battalion of the 187th Infantry Regiment, fighting at the Battle of Hamburger Hill (Dong Ap Bia). During the battle, one of his friends was killed by Aerial Rocket Artillery. He remembers a MEDEVAC being shot down, his platoon leader, Lieutenant Lipscomb, being killed by a grenade, and going to Eagle Beach after being pulled off Hamburger Hill. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, growing up on a cattle ranch, his military training, and his service in Vietnam. He discusses going to the Veterans Administration after the war, and ends by explaining what his service means to him.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Camaraderie Courage Leadership Military Techniques Wartime Decisions Returning from War Life After Military
interviewer David Siry
date 16 May 2017


name Mike Smith
service Infantry
unit 2nd Platoon, D / 3-187 Infantry
service dates 1968 1970