The Maino Project: Vietnam War Survivor Shot 5 Times
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
Green Bay, WI -- 50 years. That's how long it has been since American troops landed in Vietnam. Nearly 60,000 never returned home. For a Green Bay man who did, the memories remain vivid.
On New Years Eve 1967, Mike Roulette was storming Lambeau Field after the Ice Bowl. Three months later, he was in boot camp and on his way to becoming a paratrooper in the 173rd Airborne Brigade.
Roulette says, "I was making 75 bucks as a private nothing, and I went to this class. They said, 'I'll give you 55 bucks more to jump out of an airplane.' I said, 'show me the airplane.'"
Within a year, he was walking off a plane in Vietnam.
"We got off that seven-oh-quick and said, 'what is this smell?'"
No jumping from planes, but humping through the brush and jungle of the notoriously lethal grounds of the valley.
"You're scared, that's the best description, you're scared," explains Roulette.
During his tour, Mike survived some of the bloodiest battles of the valley. But one day, while walking through a village, "I walked into the ambush. I didn't get hit by a mortar. I got shot. I walked into it."
This time, there was no escape.
"My legs and my foot. Took four in this one and one in my left foot."
Tremendous sacrifice, yet victory denied. Why did they do it?
"We were soldiers. We fought for what you wanted, not what we wanted, but we fought for it."