BURLINGTON (KSNT) – Serving in the Vietnam War, Ray Hutson fought on the front lines. Even with a target on his back, he pushed forward however he could.

Drafted in January of 1968, Ray accepted his duty without hesitation.

“I wasn’t opposed to the war,” Hutson said. “I thought, ‘They sent me a notice, I’ll go do my part’.”

Doing his part would mean becoming an infantryman with the Army.  

“We had orders for Vietnam as soon as we graduated infantry training school,” he said. “We came home for 20 days. Middle of June in 68, I was in Vietnam.” 

More than 50 years later, the Sergeant still remembers his first moments overseas.

“Hot,” Hutson said. “Very hot and very humid. We stepped off the plane in Bien Hoa, it was going to be about an hour till our bus showed up. One of the officers said ‘you guys start filling sand bags.’ We were in our Class A’s and khakis.”

Ray pulled security at night, until he was assigned to Delta Company.

“We just went out on patrol during the day, ambush at night,” he said. “We stayed out sometimes two to three days at a time. My responsibility when I first got there was carrying ammo for a machine gunner.” 

That vital role meant he had to be on alert at all times.

“You were in harm’s way all the time,” Hutson said. “Even when we were night defensive position, we’d get mortared about every night.”  

Living through constant conflict, Hutson never lost sight of the true end goal. 

“Life lessons was just to survive I think,” He said. “I carried radio for seven months for the lieutenant. You know they always try to knock out the radio and machine gunner first.

These days, Ray is keeping busy in retirement, working on his Burlington farm, and reuniting every so often with fellow servicemembers he fought alongside with nearly six decades ago.