Tigerland, Vietnam veteran pays visit to Fort Polk


FORT POLK, La. — As a young draftee from Oklahoma, Jim Ross found himself exiting a plane at the Fort Polk landing string in the summer of 1969 to begin training for an eventual assignment to Vietnam.

On March 4, 48 years later, Ross returned to the sprawling post in southwestern Louisiana to revisit the area and sign a copy of his book, “Outside the Wire,” for Fort Polk’s Allen Memorial Library.

“I trained at Fort Polk for both basic and AIT (advanced individual training) in the summer and fall of 1969,” Ross said. “I arrived at about 2 a.m. on the fourth of July at the airstrip in a little puddle jumper from Dallas.”

Since July 4 is a federal holiday, Ross said he and the other new arrivals were given a day off from processing and taken to a picnic.

“I thought, ‘This Army thing isn’t so terrible after all,” he said, a smile turning up the corners of his mouth.


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