Newton Digital Collections

History resources digitized by the Newton Public Library

Dean Herbel Interview

Title

Dean Herbel Interview

Subject

Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Veterans--United States

Description

Audio interview with Vietnam veteran Dean Herbel...

Creator

Herbel, Dean

Publisher

Newton Public Library, Newton, Kansas

Date

____-06-05

Format

audio/mp3

Language

English

Type

Audio



Files

Citation
Herbel, Dean, “Dean Herbel Interview,” Newton Digital Collections, accessed October 3, 2022, https://newton.digitalsckls.info/item/84546.
Interviewer

Dan Eells

Interviewee

Dean Herbel

Transcription

1
We are recording now. My name is Dan Eells. I am the Adult Services supervisor at Newton Public Library. I am with Dean Herbel and it is June fifth. We are at the Newton Public Library. I am supposed to ask you to not disclose private information; so, just home address, military serial number, social security number, passwords. So, let’s see here. Dean, can you give me just your name again.
Mr Herbel: My name is Dean Herbel.
Mr Eells: And what rank were you?
Herbel: Spec-4 in the Army, an engineer.
Eells: All right, Dean; and where were you born?
Herbel: In Lehigh Kansas
Eells: Okay, and when you said. I think you told me ahead of time, previously, that you were drafted.
Herbel: Yes, I was.
Eells: And do you know when, about, you were drafted?
Herbel: In ’67. I was a junior in high school.
Eells What were your parents’ and siblings’ feelings when you were…
Herbel: They said serve ???? in Kansas.
Eells: You said in your introduction that you worked with trucks?
Herbel: Yes, I did.
Eells: What type of vehicles did you work with?
Herbel: During the fall before, mostly dump trucks, learned how to drive trucks. Then, I went into the military.
Eells: Can you walk me through a day when you were in the military, what you did with the trucks. For example, you got up and…
Hempel: You got up, ate our meal, roll call, and we went to our trucks, serviced them, checked the oil, gas, and all of that. Then, I helped collect rock.
Eells: And, what was the rock used for?
Hempel: Roads.
Eells: Did you have to do any specialized training to use the trucks, or was it in your basic training?
Herbel: Just through our basic training.
Eells: Could you remind me just what truck you were certified to work on? Herbel: Jeep, three-quarter ton, Deuce and a half, three-quarter ton, and twenty-ton.
2
Eells: Just going to change gears here. What was the hardest part of your training, either in basic or when you got over there?
Herbel: The first thought there was the roughest. They bothered the guys coming in.
Eells When you got to Vietnam?
Herbel: Yes.
Eells: I forgot to ask this: What was the base camp you served at? Herbel: It’s out of Long Binh. It’s a little rock quarry. They called it Zum-Zum, about twenty miles south of Long Binh.
Eells: Do you have any recollections of your experience there that still stick out to you today?
Herbel: Get up for guard duty. [Both laughing]
Eells: Was the rock quarry near any of the combat zones?
Herbel: No, it was not. When they said we were there it was like serving stateside, so it was…
Eells: pretty mellow Herbel: When they hit us, when they bothered us, a tank come inaudible
Eells: Were there any unusual events that happened while you were there, like “Well, that was strange”? or, was it all pretty much what you expected?
Herbel: Oh, pretty well what ...expected.
Eells: Did you have a best part of your service, like something you would say, I mean that was really a great experience for me?
Herbel: I listened to the world series late in the evening. When the Cardinals played Detroit.
Eells: So, you got to listen to the world series while you were there?
Herbel: Yeah.
Eells: Did you listen to a lot of sports when you were there?
Herbel: Oh, yeah. It was a day later, but…[laughing]
Eells: Was there one sport in particular you looked forward to when you were over there, overall?
Herbel: Baseball.
Eells: Baseball.
Herbel: We learned to play ping pong when we were there. I was a good ping pong ball player.
Eells: Did you guys have any tournaments against the other people while you were there?
3
[Both laughing]
Eells: Did you get letters from family and care packages while you were there?
Herbel: Oh, yes, yes. Yes, I did. We got care packages and we had a lot of cookies. One guy come over and liked the crumbs a lot. We gave him our crumbs.
Eells: So, you saved your crumbs for him. Is there anything ever, were they always like chocolate chip cookies or were they based on the season.
Herbel: Answer inaudible
Eells: Did you ever get anything special on holidays from your family, like on Thanksgiving? Would they send extra cookies?
Herbal: I served over there while my sister got married. I got pictures back I could show everybody what went on. It was the best thing…
Eells: So you got some pictures of your sister’s wedding.
Herbel: Uh-huh
Eells: Was that helpful for you?
Herbel: Yes, yes it was.
Eells: Do you recall the day your service ended, like when you got your letter that you were going home? Did you get a letter, or was it like you commanding officer was just like, You’re going home?
TECHNICAL INTERRUPTION
Eells: All right, it’s recording again now. Let’s see here, …
Herbel: uh, okay
Eells: Was your family excited when you got home?
Herbal: Yes, they was, yes.
Eells: Did you have; did they throw you a big party?
Herbal: No, no…
Eells: No, [both laughing]
Herbel: When I was coming home, we flew home, I guess we flew to Wichita, yeah.
Eells: Yeah. {Pause}
You know, I had some of the other people I talked to…Was it kind of hard when you came back being in the structured environment over there to kind of having…
Herbel: Got to learn somethings again. Some of the people you used to know weren’t around.
4
Eells: Uh-huh. Yeah. Did your service change you from like when you came back to now?
Herbel: It changed me a little bit. I learned responsibility.
Eells: And that helped, like when you got your job?
Herbel: Yes, yes, yes.
Eells: Did you work as soon as you came back, or did you go back to school.?
Herbel: Couple weeks before I come back, I worked for Hesston Corporation for five years, 30 years at the creamery, and ten years at Norcraft.
Eells: Did you have any friends while you were over there?
Herbal: Yes.
Eells: And do you keep in touch with any of them?
Herbel: No. I should have, but, Nope.
Eells: Is there any experiences with your friends over there that stick out to you?
Herbel: Had a good time at the bar…I’m the one who didn’t get drunk
Eells: Yeah… [both laughing]
Did your time in the service affect the way you relate to other people? Is it easier for you…?
Herbal: Yeah, it did. It helped over here a little bit. It give myself out talking over. I usually kept this all to myself.
Eells: Did you have any other siblings who were in the Service.
Herbel: No, no, I didn’t. Well, my dad was in World War II, was an ambulance driver.
Eells: Mu-huh. Did you have any commanding officers who stuck out to you? Herbel: Yes, he’s a sergeant who made warrant officer, Inaudible, a helicopter…
Eells: Yes, he was really nice.
Herbel: Yes.
Eells: And he was when you were over there?
Herbel: Yes.
Eells: And did you receive any promotions when you were over there, at all?
Herbel: He tried to make me a sergeant, but I didn’t quite make it. I had to drive a D-9, but I don’t know how to run one, so they kept me where I was at.
5
Eells: Just some end questions: Do you remember what the hardest part of the military life was for you to adapt to when you were kind of learning, adapting to all that?
Herbel: Oh, waking up every morning.
[Both laugh]
Eells: And what was the easiest part for you to get used to?
Herbel: In the evening when we were all done with…
Eells: Yeah. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Herbel: There was good. We never had KP duty. They had the Vietnamese cook for us. Inaudible exchange
Eells: Did you have any interactions with the people around you”
Herbel: Yes, I had a friend there who was…
Eells: And, what type of things did you and your friend do? As much as you want to tell me.
Herbel: We saw the temple there, just off where I worked, and we checked out the trucks.
Eells: And what was your friend’s name?
Herbel: Kim.
Eells: And they lived next to your camp?
Herbel: Near
Eells: Near to it
Herbel: Yes.
Eells: And I’m going to do one from our previous conversation; you said that they would recycle waste, like your throw-away, what…
Herbel: Yes.
Eells: What type did you eat that they…
Herbel: They had trash from our, the guys threw out. They said we had good trash because the kids picked out some of the trash whenever we dumped…
Eells: And what would they do with it?
Herbel: They used it for some of the houses…
Eells: Oh, yeah, I guess patches.
Herbel: Yes, yes.
Eells: Well, I will go ahead and call it good.
6
Herbel: Good.
Eells: That was pretty much what we had done before. So, I guess I will say I’ve got your signed release form here and then I’ll do my thing with it. The Library will get a copy. We’ll actually give a copy to the Historical Society. I’ll give you a copy so you’ll have it. And, we’ll have it for previous generations.
So, I just want to thank you for coming and sharing your story with us, and I will be in touch with your photos and anything else. Thank you.

Original Format

Audio cassette tape

Duration

00:15:57

Bit Rate/Frequency

320kbps