Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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February 16, 2014

Saving Private Parham

Local Vietnam vet recalls near-fatal war experiences

By TYLER MASK

tmask@mineralwellsindex.com

About two years ago, Vietnam War Veteran Wayne Parham was playing golf with his buddy George Gault at Holiday Hills Country Club.

“I said ‘George I’ve got something I want to show you,’” Parham said. “‘I haven’t showed anybody.’”

Parham walked over to his pickup truck and got the item he was talking about. Gault was floored.

“[Gault] said, ‘Well let’s go over to Woody’s and talk about it,’” Parham said. “He could tell that I needed to vent a little bit.

“So we went over there and sat down, and he’s the first person that ever said ‘Wayne, I want to thank you for your service.’

“And it took me aback. I didn’t know what to say. It was just my job. I was drafted, and I went in because they told me.

“I didn’t volunteer. I didn’t do anything to speak of, I just did my job. I looked at him and just sorta [said], ‘Well thank you.’ I didn’t know what else to say. But George Gault was the first person, and since then there has been hundreds.

“For a fact, the last few years people have started to recognize that we did do something over there. It was a hard tour and there was a lot of injuries and a lot of deaths.”

Parham saw action for weeks and months on end. Although he fought through the Tet Offensive and cheated death more times than he’ll ever know, Parham spoke of two incidents in his military career that should have taken his life but didn’t.In his first account, it was his helmet – otherwise known as a steel pot – with a loose neck strap that helped him dodge a bullet.

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