Navy SEAL Vietnam Veterans Repay 50-Year-Old Debt

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Brotherhood tracks down and aids former Vietnamese guide

Retired Navy Captain and Vietnam veteran Rick Woodland was part of the first fledgling crew of United States Navy SEALs to fight in the war.  They didn’t have a so-called playbook back then, they just kind of made things up as they went along.

His team fought mostly outside of Saigon in a marshy area called the Forest of Assassins. During the day he’d scout the lay of the land by helicopter.  At night he and his men were tasked to prowling the dark, listening, hiding, and avoiding being ambushed.

Doing some of the most dangerous work in the military, miraculously all of Woodlard’s men made it home.  Some were injured, including Woodlard himself.  But this team owes much of their success to a Vietnamese guide and interpreter who helped them survive.

Fifty years later Woodlard tracked down his old companion and has arranged to pay him back for his priceless service to the U.S.Navy SEALs.

(Woodlard is third from right, middle row in the image above.)

Read how Woodlard and fellow commandos found and helped their old friend and be sure to scroll to the bottom for reunion photo

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Nguyen Hoang Minh, a Vietnamese villager, became a legend in SEAL history.  During the Vietnam War he fought alongside Navy SEAL Team 2, and guided them on hundreds of dangerous missions deep within enemy territory.

When the commandos went home after the end of the war, Minh was left in the hands of the Viet Cong, and paid a costly price.

He spent two years in a communist prison camp.  Then he worked for decades doing odd jobs or laboring in fields for very little pay.

But his old SEAL teammates were determined to track him down.  A few years ago they succeeded.  They found their friend living in a hut with a dirt floor and leaky thatched roof.  He was supporting his wife and grandchildren.

The Navy SEAL brotherhood came together to fix up Minh’s home. They chipped in to pay some medical bills and help feed his family. They even fulfilled his lifelong dream of coming to America before he died.

Captain Woodlard worked with the Navy SEAL Foundation and arranged for a scholarship for Minh’s granddaughter.  This wonderful gift will ensure her future.

Vietnam veteran Navy SEALS and Vietnamese interpreter Minh

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We salute the Navy SEAL Brotherhood and their dedication to duty, honor, country.  

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