By the late 1960s, more than a half a million Americans were serving in Vietnam. Among them was revenge-seeking Marine, Lt. Dan Gannon.
Serving on the front lines was never the plan for this college grad, but after learning his brother had been shot in the arm during a combat operation, Gannon was ready to get in the fight.
"I got to go over and get those suckers for shooting my brother," Dan humorously states.
Wanting to serve his country honorably, Gannon deployed with the Marines somewhere north of Danang where he would spend over 300 grueling days fighting in the humid jungle.
Dan takes a brief moment for a photo op while serving in the Vietnam jungle. (Source: Iowa Public Television/YouTube/Screenshot)
In order to stay razor-sharp on the battlefield, Gannon chose to defer his R&R leave to the end of his tour of duty.
"You don't stop to think I want to be patriotic right now," Gannon mentions during an interview. "You have a job to do and I want to do it the best way I can."
Ganon's Marines were commonly spread out thin and up to distances of a quarter of a mile. Throughout his dangerous deployment and multiple firefights, Gannon hardly acquired a single scrap — until one fateful day.
Proud Marine and Vietnam Veteran, Dan Gannon. (Source: Iowa Public Television/YouTube/Screenshot)
While taking contact, Gannon felt a sting in his arm and had to be told by one of his Marines that he'd been hit. He looked and saw blood streaming down his arm. The wound had to be quickly cleaned by the squad's Corpsman as the enemy would frequently dip their bullets in feces before they were used.
Soon after, Gannon collapsed when his wound became infected and was evacuated by helicopter for medical treatment.
"I felt bad that I had to leave my Marines. I was that committed," Gannon says.
Gannon was recommended for the purple heart but decline the accommodation.
Check out Iowa Public Television's video how Dan Gannon wanted to get into the sh*t and do his part.