Three Tours In Vietnam: A West Point ’61 Graduate Reflects On His Service

John "Jack" Veatch


Jack Veatch grew up as an Army brat, attending nine different elementary schools and two high schools. He finished at Valley Forge Military Academy in Pennsylvania, where he graduated with five other future West Point classmates. While he had never seen the Military Academy before R-Day, he found that his Valley Forge experience prepared him well for just about every aspect of the Cadet experience. Like many ’61 classmates, he fondly recalls the one elective course he took in his Firstie year focusing on great novels, and considers his time as a Beast Barracks company commander in 1960 one of his favorite experiences at the Academy. Stationed in Hawaii for his first assignment as an infantryman, he ended up training and deploying with Soldiers who served as helicopter door gunners supporting advisors in Vietnam. He returned to Vietnam again in late 1964 as an advisor to an ARVN unit before redeploying to the states as a Ranger Instructor. He deployed to Vietnam again as a company commander, followed by another tour at Benning teaching doctrine. After graduate school and CGSC, he returned to the Infantry School again, this time testing future weapons and technology. After eventually retiring from the Army, Jack worked for the defense contractor now known as SAIC, serving in the R&D world as well as developing training courses for various government agencies. In this interview Jack talks about growing up in an Army family, his experiences over three different tours in Vietnam, and his other Army assignments in the R&D lane. He concludes with some thoughts about what West Point means to him.


conflicts Vietnam War Cold War
topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie West Point History Military Techniques Military Family USMA 1961
interviewer Rick Black
date 29 January 2022


name John "Jack" Veatch
institution USMA
graduation year 1961
service Infantry
unit 35th Infantry; MACV; 21st Infantry
service dates 1961 1982