Vietnam veteran shares his story in Cranberry Township
April 13, 2018
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CRANBERRY TWP — During his three tours in Vietnam, Ron Cepek's perception of war changed considerably. But he doesn't regret his time serving his country.

Cepek, a Harmony resident, spoke about his military experience to an audience of nearly 50 people Tuesday evening in the Cranberry Public Library during the latest session of the History Roundtable discussion series.

“I enlisted in the Army to be a soldier … Anyone could be in the Army, but not everyone could be a soldier. I went over with a sense that this was an adventure,” Cepek said. “Until Cambodia, I never entertained the thought that I wouldn't come back.”

His time in the Army took him from Da Nang in the northern part of South Vietnam to Ty Ninh in the south and to neighboring Cambodia during the Cambodia Incursion. He came back without an injury.

“I think I lost more blood to mosquitoes than anything else,” he said.

Cepek enlisted the Army in March 1966 with the dream of being a soldier. He came from a strong military background; both his father and grandfather served in the military.

His first tour, beginning in October 1966, was as a machine gunner in an attack helicopter stationed with the I Corps in the northernmost region of South Vietnam. It was a job Cepek said he greatly enjoyed as soldiers on the helicopters usually went back to base for a hot meal and a cold shower at the end of the day.

He reenlisted and requested to go to the First Cavalry Division where he was a scout doing reconnaissance with a secondary mission as a recovery-and-rescue unit

“It was far from a glamorous job, but it was very satisfying to me personally because number one, I was a soldier. I got what I asked for,” Cepek said. “The secondary mission with rescue and recovery, that was beyond words worthwhile that you could go out there and bring someone back … I have no regrets. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.”

A full story will appear in Sunday's Cranberry Eagle.