Memories of an older brother from Montana: Vietnam killed him, but years after the war

Dan after Tet

Dan McElderry, shown in Vietnam after the Tet Offensive and before he was wounded three times. Dan eventually left Vietnam, but he never escaped it. (Photo courtesy of Bob McElderry Sr.)

By Bob McElderry Sr.

(Bob writes about his older brother Dan McElderry, who graduated from Powell County High School in Deer Lodge, Montana, in 1967. Dan joined the Marines with three other young men from the same town when it became apparent they would drafted in the Army if they didn’t enlist. The recruiter promised them they would stay together in a “Montana platoon” but the Marines quickly split them up. Bob’s words about his brother will resonate with many Vietnam combat veterans.)

Like the small Montana town he grew up in, he was friendly, fresh and full of hope for the future. He was engaged to his sweetheart, a high school cheerleader and a gal many guys had pursued. He spent his days picking up odd jobs and his evenings working at the local post office.

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