Tag Archive for War Stories

Brothers In Nam

001 (8)

Roger & Victor Sanchez, Chicago 1964


Fate or destiny, are words I think about often today, some forty-three years after my older brother and I, had left the Vietnam War behind.  My brother and I are exactly four years apart because we were born on the same day, four years apart.  He lives in Illinois and I in Oklahoma.   One thing I can say for sure, is that destiny sure kicked us around a lot.

My older brother was born in San Antonio Texas, and I in Waupun Wisconsin.  Our parents also hailed from San Antonio.  But when my brother and I were ages six and two, we ended up on the south side of Chicago.  There we would live our lives until the Vietnam War Broke out.

In our early years my brother and I being four years apart, had nothing in common.  Growing up he had his likes and friends, and I was the pesky little brother who was told to take a hike more than once.  We would go our separate ways, until fate stepped in and changed our lives forever.  We had no Idea that the Vietnam War would last long enough to see us both join the Marines, and be pulled into the war. It would be a war that would have a significant impact on American history.  It would be a war that split a nation, as did the Civil War.  Of course the Vietnam War split us only in ideology.

The war would bring my brother and me together in more ways than we could imagine.  My older brother was on his second tour of duty, when I landed in Vietnam in July of 1970 for my tour.  Again, fate stepped in, and my brother and I ran into each other at Da Nang Air Base, just before I was trucked out to my unit with Seventh Marines.   I was an infantry Marine, and my brother a Crew Chief in CH-46 helicopters.


Sgt V. Sanchez Jr. & Cpl R. Sanchez, Da Nang Air Base Vietnam, July 1870

Sgt V. Sanchez Jr. & Cpl R. Sanchez, Da Nang Air Base Vietnam, July 1970


I would see my brother twice with my unit in the field, as both those times it was his chopper that was re-supplying us.   Both times I signaled the chopper into the Landing zone, as my brother looked out the gunner’s door and spotted me.  As I ran onto the bird to unload supplies, we had a few minutes for a quick hug and a thumb’s up.  As the chopper lifted off, my brother stuck his head out the gunner’s door again and saluted, as I stood in the rotor wash in the LZ and returned his salute.  Both times I was asked, “Who was that”, and both times I replied with great pride, “That was my brother!”


Sgt V. Sanchez Jr USMC HMM 262, Vietnam, 1970


Cpl R. Sanchez USMC Vietnam 1970

Cpl R. Sanchez USMC
Vietnam 1970


My brother and I would make it out of Vietnam.  He after being shot down multiple times, and I, after being wounded in action twice.  We both ended up In Okinawa for a few months together before he rotated back to the States.  Our relationship from that point on again, had changed forever.  We were now not only brothers, but fellow Marines, and fellow combat veterans of the Vietnam War.  We would go our separate ways after the war, and not discuss the war with each other for over forty years.  But our respect towards each other was that of two fellow Marines, who had fought in a war that American history would rather bury than speak of.  It was a long and arduous road, and yet fate had seen us through.


Sgt. V. Sanchez Jr. USMC Okinawa, April 1970

Sgt. V. Sanchez Jr. USMC
Okinawa, April 1971


Cpl R. Sanchez USMC Okinawa April 1970

Cpl R. Sanchez USMC
Okinawa April 1971



 Roger A. Sanchez Sr. @ Gunny’s Mail Call.Com

A Warriors’ Dream


Quang Nam Province, I Corps, South Vietnam, July 1970


In deep slumber I lay many years after my war

An American Patriot who answered the call

My war was not the one fought for independence

Nor the one fought at San Antonio

Yes, it was not the one to end all wars

Nor was it the big one where freedom hung by a thread


I was not at the Chosen Reservoir in Korea

So many had gone before me to stand for freedom

But not any freedom, but American freedom

It is an Ideal and type that many seek

Is was an ideal born of right spirit

The land of the free, the home of the brave


In dreams I still walk the rice paddies of Vietnam

My squad walks behind me spread out and watchful

I do not see them as clear as I once did

We are walking in a fog that sweeps in from nowhere

It is cold and wet and voices seems to emanate from it

It is the voices of those gone before looking for the sunlight


And yet from this dream I understood that freedom is not free

There is no true sunlight in war, or full days of rest

There is no let up against evil that lust for power and domination

A horrible truth I had learned at such a young age

That evil force, must be met with righteous force

While I wish with all my soul for only peace

I understood that it would never truly be


I wake up in a cold sweat and yell out into the darkness

My conscious mind slowly brings me back

And I think clearly, Iraq, Afghanistan, other wars in between

I see the faces of our young men and women

And in sadness I realize, we are still at war


GySgt Roger A Sanchez Sr.
USMC Retired
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