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Ashe County Veterans History Project: Tom Francis


Tom Francis's Photos


Tom Francis's Story

I’m Tom Francis and I was deployed to Vietnam in mid-1965.I attended Helton Elementary School, West Jefferson Elementary School, and then Beaver Creek High School, graduating with the Class of 1959.

I received my draft notice in 1964 just before my 22nd birthday. Back then, most young men who were physically fit would be drafted into the military service. With my draft papers in my hip pocket, I volunteered for a three-year stint so I could have paratrooper training and a chance to join the Green Berets. After many months of training, I was deployed to South Vietnam in the summer of 1965.


I was in Vietnam continuously for four years, and although sentiments back in the USA may have turned against the participation of the American soldier in the Vietnam War, I had no sense of that at all. I was 100% immersed in my mission and had pride in being the best that I could be. I had no time to consider outsider sentiment, it meant nothing to me. I was a soldier, 100% a soldier....I was a Green Beret.

To read a full account of Tom Francis's time in Vietnam, click on the link below.