“I was a child in 1969 and grew up fast in Vietnam”

“I was a child in 1969 and grew up fast in Vietnam”

by John Glenn Maj. USMC, (Ret.), Physical Education Teacher/Health Teacher
Kadena Middle School

In July of 1969, My platoon was on patrol in the Queson Mountains of central South Vietnam. LCpl Steve Househoulter was my best friend in Second Platoon, Mike company 3rd Battalion. I was a corporal then and I had befriended Steve because of his great personality, humor and generosity in welcoming “New B’s” to the unit. Well, Steve was not on this patrol because he was on R & R in Hawaii with his wife. So I agreed to take over his squad while he was gone. It was only for two weeks and I started to bond with the team members of his squad. When Steve got back to the unit we were in some heavy Jungle and the trails were thick with foliage, not much room to maneuver. The night of Steve’s return, he thanked me for watching over the men and that’s when I asked him if I could remain the squad leader and he could be my number two guy. His reply: “Corporal Glenn, those Marines are like family to me and I feel a great sense of responsibility to get them home from this war.” I didn’t argue after what he had said and went back to being the platoon guide. The very next morning, we were advancing up a mountain and Steve’s squad was the point squad, It was about 0900 in on that hot and humid morning, when all of a sudden there was a burst of AK 47 gunfire. The next thing I heard was whispers of “Corpsman Up.” Steve was caught in an “L” shape ambush and received four fatal wounds to the chest and legs. He was probably dead before he hit the ground.

I advanced up forward because I felt that I needed to take his body to the “LZ.” Two others and myself put Steve’s body in a plastic poncho and took him to the LZ. I stayed with Steve all night until the medivac helicopter arrived. While awaiting the helicopter, I kept thinking that should have been me instead of Steve leading the squad that terrible day.

I was a child in 1969 and grew up fast as a young man in Vietnam.

In 1981 I visited the “Wall” and saw Steven A. Householter’s name at the northern end of that black granite wall. I think of him frequently, and 5 years ago I named the Kadena Middle School 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament to honor him.

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Japan
Stripes Korea
Stripes Guam

Recommended Content