HOLTON (KSNT) – Jim Borger became involved with the military, after the war overseas hit a little too close to home.
“I had a friend that was killed in Vietnam,” Borger said. “His mother had to talk me out of enlisting, I was 18 and not graduated yet. She talked me out of it, but I didn’t tell her I could volunteer for the draft.”
Even when preparing for the worst, Borger’s welcome to the battlefield was more intense than he was expecting.
“We were supposed to land at Bien Hoa Air force base,” Borger said. “When we was coming in, all of a sudden I felt the plane tip back up and I thought what’s going on? I looked out, the base was being attacked. There was tracer fire all over the place.”
Working as a supply clerk, Borger traveled between multiple outposts all around Vietnam. He carried parts, supplies and top secret gear.
“There was some gear I even guarded and I never saw, because I didn’t have the clearance,” Borger said. “Nobody that wasn’t on the list to that gear couldn’t go in there, even if the President came in, his name wasn’t on the list he couldn’t go in there. It was top secret gear.”
Like many other Vietnam era veterans, his welcome back stateside wasn’t the anticipated homecoming.
“Our greeting was three hippies came up to us, spit on me, and called me a baby killer,” Borger said. “I will never forget that, but now the country has changed and they appreciate us now, so that makes me feel a lot better.”
Borger continued to serve the country after returning stateside. He was a firefighter for 21 years, and served in the National Guard for 11.