Larry Rolland

Community veterans featured this week

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Camden Metheny

Larry Rolland (front) of Monette leads the color guard at the start of Monday’s Veterans Day assembly in the MAC.

Cadyn Qualls

ISLAND

“I was in the Army – 101st Airborne. I served during Vietnam. Two weeks into the tenth grade, I wasn’t learning anything. I was a terrible student, so I joined the army when I was seventeen years old, and dropped out of school. It worked out fine for me. Then, in the 60’s and 70’s, you could get a job doing anything. You didn’t have to have a whole lot of education. With the technology they have today, it’s not a want, but a must that you get a good education. This is a free country – they can’t tell you that you can’t go to college. If your parents can’t afford it, there’s grants. You can go to college. Education is a must.

“My favorite part was the time I spent in Germany. I spent eighteen months there, and the people there were really nice. I loved going to other countries, and Germany was great. I loved their food, and made a lot of good friends over there. It was a nice tour. I was lucky enough to get to go over there.  I would have never had the chance to visit these countries – Japan and Germany – if I hadn’t joined the military.

“I guess Fire Base Ripcord would be what I remember most and had the most trouble with. It was a fire support base that supported the ground troops around A Shau Valley with artillery and mortar. That was the biggest battle I was in. That happened in July of 1970. It was really bad, but I lived through it. It wasn’t the perfect battle, but it was a battle. There weren’t very many ‘perfect’ battles in Vietnam.

“I just retired in May, the 27. I’m loving every second of it; spending time with my wife, taking care of her, and just enjoying life. Trying to forget the war. Everybody has things that come up in their life, especially if they’re a combat veteran, and you just have to put that on the back burner. Love and support from your family and community, just like the young people have done today, helps as much as anything could help. It makes a difference and makes life as close to normal as it can be. I appreciate today. I can’t say it enough. If someone knows a veteran or is introduced to one, don’t forget to say thanks. That’s all they want. They don’t want to be praised, just thanked.