In the fall of 1944, with a number of battles unfolding throughout Europe and the Pacific, Roger Dean Buchta quietly entered the world at a time when the turmoil of World War II consumed newspaper headlines. Born on his family's farm near the rural German-Lutheran community of Lohman, Missouri, he graduated from Russellville High School in 1962, then choosing to continue his education at Lincoln University in Jefferson City. Finishing his bachelor's degree in the spring of 1966, he was soon snared by the draft and sent to Fort Hood, Texas for basic combat training. From there, he trained as a combat medic at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The Vietnam War was in full swing and Buchta was among thousands of troops deployed overseas. He arrived at a military base located near Qui Nhon, South Vietnam in October 1967, and, weeks later, transferred to the base at Cu Chi while attached to the 542nd Medical Company It was here that he experienced the Christmas miracle of the birth of Vietnamese twins. The hospital to which he was attached moved to a new base at Lai Khe, where, in late January 1968, the medic received his baptism by fire during the famed Tet Offensive. In the coming months, he witnessed the worst of humanity while treating a variety of patients, wounds and injuries. Following his discharge in late 1968, Buchta earned his master's degree and taught at Russellville High School for twenty-seven years. Thanks in part to detailed letters he wrote home before and during the war, this biography provides a clear depiction of his experiences in a combat zone and reveals insight to the quiet and reserved nature that came to define him in the years after the war.
Hank Stratman's life is one characterized by leadership opportunities. Coming of age during the Vietnam War and the Cold War in Europe, he attended college, deferring his military service and achieving an ROTC commission to grant himself some control over his fate if deployed to Vietnam. Cadet Stratman excelled at ROTC Summer Camp and qualified to lead Lincoln University's ROTC battalion in his senior year and, in December 1972, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery. Married with one child and another on the way, he and his wife ventured into the uncertain military service world, confident - yet apprehensive about what they might encounter in the Army. The officer embraced many challenging assignments, earning the trust and confidence of his senior officers, who inspired him to remain in the Army. As a soldier, he made the transition from a tactical nuclear missile system to cannon artillery, served in Germany and South Korea during the Cold War, and was later selected for battalion command - a milestone achievement surpassed only by his unit's combat performance in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In the years after the collapse of Yugoslavia, he serviced two peacekeeping missions in Bosnia. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he fulfilled key roles in the defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan and establishment of the combat theater in the Middle East for Operation Iraqi Freedom. His final tour of duty was in Baghdad, serving with the U.S. Embassy to establish Iraq's governance. In 2006, he retired as a major general with three decades of military service, demonstrating that a farm boy from rural Vienna, Missouri, could take on the many diverse, global challenges and consistently succeed. HOOAH!