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Smither, James (Interviewer)

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Thatcher, Bruce

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Bruce Thatcher was born in Berwyn, Illinois in 1941 and grew up in the Chicago suburbs. He tried college and did not do well, and found work as a surveyor and enlisted in the Army in early 1963. He hoped to train as a surveyor, but after basic training at Fort Knox, he was sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, for artillery training. He did well enough in training and then on duty at Fort Sill that he was promoted quickly and put into Officer Candidate School. From there, he was assigned to the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, went to jump school, and served with a target acquisition company. He went to Vietnam in July, 1966, and was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, based at An Khe in the Central Highlands. He worked in fire direction control for the 1st Battalion of the 77th Field Artillery, and later was assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment as a forward observer. He served in Vietnam for a full year and saw a good deal of combat, mostly in small unit actions scattered across much of the middle part of South Vietnam, earning a bronze star in an action in early 1967. He completed his tour later that year and returned to civilian life and to college, where he did much better in part due to what he had learned in the Army.

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Veterans History Project collection, (RHC-27)

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