W Tom Gleeson
Colorado Springs, CO
Branch of Service:
US Army, Sergeant, 3 years 4 months
Brief service history prior to service related injury:
Served with the Calvary in Korea on the DMZ and the 16th Infantry in Vietnam. Six months of Search and Destroy missions. Wounded twice before being medically retired with 90% disability in April 1967.
Description of injury event, including date and location:
First wound was in the Highlands in January 1966. Clearing out North Vietnamese for the 25th Infantry division coming in from Hawaii. Wound to the left thigh, piece of a nose cone from a rocket about the size of a quarter. Second injury, blown out of a truck after coming back from a patrol on the edge of the Iron Triangle a few miles south of Bien Cat, close to an ARVN fort on February 21, 1966.
Brief history of recovery:
The piece of metal to the bone of the left upper leg wasn’t removed until ten years later by the VA in Denver. The second wound resulted in loss of the left leg above the knee, compound fracture of left forearm, damage to triceps muscle of left arm, split webbing on left arm, right forearm suffered a sliding fracture and various shrapnel wounds to head, forehead, nose and other parts of the body. 14 months in Army Hospital.
Any prior motorcycle experience:
Had a 550 BSA Gold Star senior year of high school. Tried to ride it after got out of hospital and could to some extent because it shifted on the right. Had ridden it until not much left of it before going to Vietnam, had a family and couldn’t justify spending any money on it. Rode a friend’s 750 Triumph once, took off just fine, kept shifting with artificial foot, unfortunately couldn’t downshift. Finally stopped, put it in low gear by hand and rode back. Have eyed some three-wheelers but can’t afford to buy one. Would like to ride again.