“These Guys Aren’t Looking To Avoid Combat; They’re Looking To Find Some”: Fighting On Hamburger Hill With The Rakkasans

Philip Perron


Philip Perron grew up on a farm in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his three older sisters and a younger brother. After high school, he volunteered for the draft because he knew he would have to serve, and he wanted to “get the ball rolling.” Arriving in Vietnam, he was assigned to 1-11 Infantry in the 5th Mechanized Infantry Division in Quang Tri. His first mission was in Con Thien, where they were working with the Marines. During that operation, he experienced his first taste of combat, and recalls being too naïve to react to a mortar attack. After gaining some valuable experience in the 5th ID, he was reassigned to the 101st Airborne Division after C / 3-187 suffered heavy casualties. Not wanting to be mistaken for a new guys, those who were transferred to the 101st all sewed red diamond combat patches on their uniforms. Assigned to 3rd Platoon, C / 3-187, he was initially Platoon Sergeant Sammy Hoskins’ RTO (Radio Telephone Operator) before becoming a team leader. He fought through the entire battle of Hamburger Hill before being wounded in the final assault. He was medevaced to Phu Bai, Da Nang, and eventually Japan before returning home. After the war, he attended college and worked in construction. In this interview, he talks about his childhood, entering the service, and his experiences in Vietnam. He discusses learning about combat in the 5th Infantry Division. He recalls the fighting on Hamburger Hill, and provides great detail on the actions of 3rd Platoon, C Company. He admits that his former Platoon Sergeant, Sammy Hoskins, is the reason he comes to reunions, and reflects on what his service means to him.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Leadership Character Camaraderie Morale Teamwork Military Techniques
interviewer David Siry
date 16 May 2019


name Philip Perron
service Armor / Infantry
unit 1-11 Infantry, 1st Brigade, 5th Mechanized Infantry Division; 3rd Platoon, C Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
specialty Battle of Hamburger Hill
service dates 1968 1969