Brian D. Pardo Releases Vietnam War Records
Brian D. Pardo served in the Army in the Vietnam War, which changed Pardo and the way he viewed life. By the end of his military career, Brian had achieved the rank of Chief Warrant Officer II.
Brian Pardo joined the Army at age 20, in November of 1962 when the Vietnam war broke out. It was right after the Cuban Missile Crisis It was his belief that the situation could have escalated into a war with the Soviet Union, so Brian Pardo wanted to serve his country in the event of an escalation.
When Brian first enlisted, he was sent to Ft. Rucker, Alabama where he was trained in fixed wing aircraft maintenance. Upon graduation from that program, he was sent to the 1st Cavalry Division (1st Cav) in Korea. He was stationed about eight miles south of the de-militarized zone (DMZ). In the spring of 1964, Pardo returned stateside to attend primary flight training at Ft. Walters, Texas.
In the spring of 1965, Pardo graduated and was assigned to fly Huey helicopters gunships. Because of his hard work, focus, and leadership, Brian Pardo achieved the rank of Warrant Officer I and was sent to Vietnam as part of the 1st Cav. This division of the Army had one mission and that was to find, engage and destroy the enemy.
Pardo’s unit received a special forces briefings with intelligence on the enemy. The officer delivering the briefing said, look at your buddy. At the end of this tour, one of you is not going to make it. It turned out to be true. By the end of the tour, Brian’s buddy did not make it, but Pardo did.
While in Vietnam, Brian Pardo came down with malaria. At the outset of the disease, Brian weighed 170 lbs. At his lowest weight, he weighed 120 pounds. He was so weak that simple letter writing took days because he could only write a few sentences at a time.
Once back on duty, Brian and the crew sometimes had to fly for 14 hours a day. His muscles became so sore that he and his co-pilot had to take turns flying the craft so the other could stretch.
Much of Pardo’s flying took him up and down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The enemy was well entrenched. The North Vietcong we a formidable force. These enemy soldiers fought to the death, even when faced with overwhelming odds against them and certain death. Surrender was clearly not an option in the mind of the North Vietnamese. Pardo said, “Their bravery was legend.”
At one point, while Brian and a crew of soldiers were out on a sortie, the craft was hit and crashed. Normally, a crash like that would have killed everyone. However, the canopy of the jungle was so thick, it actually cushioned the fall, slowing the decent to a speed that was survivable. For that reason, Pardo and his crew survived the crash. Unfortunately, Brian thrown from helicopter and landed on his head and neck causing a compression fracture in his back. That was not the worst thing to happen to Pardo that fateful day. Pardo was forced to look past the pain of the injury in order to escape the enemy who was clearly on their way to find the downed gunship.
Working his way to his knees, Brian grabbed his weapon and quickly commandeered the door guns from the helicopter. Pardo was forced to crawl through the jungle for three hours fighting off the enemy each step of the way. Brian Pardo finally make it to a landing zone (LZ) where he and his serving crew could be rescued.
Brian D. Pardo faithfully served his country surviving one of the highest mortality assignments in Vietnam: flying a Huey gunship in combat. Brian Pardo survived - not unscathed - but returned home in one piece. Brian D. Pardo exhibited bravery and courage that are rare indeed, and in words of Brian Pardo, “Only those who have fought for this great nation have the right to criticize it!”
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