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Tales from the VFW post 6791

By Grace Schumann, Reporter

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Name: Steve Banier

Advice: “The Army makes you accountable and responsible for yourself.”

Rank: Air Force Sgt.

Deployed: Vietnam

Steve Banier has his fair share of Army stories, but his favorite is one of his earliest.

When Banier first was deployed, he was assigned a post in Thailand. Banier was giddy for a brand-new experience in a foreign country, but first, he had to get there. He estimates that the flights and connection times all add up to an exhausting 23 hours.

“It was mainly sleeping,” Banier said, laughter in his voice.“Halfway through the flight, we lost it and we dropped about 3,000 feet like it was nothing. Then after we got done laughing we landed in Japan and got on our flight to Thailand.”


Name: Rich Guyser

Advice: “My advice for this generation? Don’t get old.”

Rank: Army 1st class Sgt.

Deployed: Vietnam and Kuwait

Two years of active duty, four years of inactive duty, 21 years Army Reserves, self-proclaimed youngest of the oldest in the VFW, 72-year-old Guyser has his fair share of anecdotes.

“I was drafted on December 22, 1965 and sent down Fort Port, Louisiana the same day,” Guyser said. “As soon as we put foot on ground they says ‘okay, anybody within 350 miles can go home for Christmas.’ Well, Fort Port, Louisiana is 700 miles from Chicago so I had to spend two weeks down there doing nothing.”

After Guyser’s green Christmas, he was put on a bus to Texas for his training. After the training was done, Guyser was bussed to Georgia for his specialized training in computers and radio, and after Georgia, Guyser was flown to Vietnam.



Name: John Johnston

Advice: “Everybody should serve in the military.”

Rank: Army Specialist rank 5

Deployed: Vietnam

Johnston is living proof of the age-old term that it isn’t what you know, it is who you know.

Johnston started as a helicopter mechanic assigned to a COBRA company in the 101st Airborne Division located just 10 minutes away from the South China Sea, but Johnston’s time working on choppers was not very long.

“The military passed me a deal I could not refuse,” Johnston said, “I worked seven days a week, with no extra duties at all. All I had to do was keep records for 12 COBRAs and one roach (the nickname for the Hughes OH-6 Cayuse helicopter).”

Johnston’s record keeping for helicopters is a little different from an average summer intern style of keeping books.

“It was right to work first thing in the morning and then the rest of the day it was screwin’ off,” Johnston said.

All the record keeping paid off.

“I made spec 5 so easily because I knew everyone, I was calling everyone in headquarters at least once a day. So when I asked for rank it was pretty quick,” Johnston said.

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Tales from the VFW post 6791