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Kenneth Eugene Leland


Grew up in Lakeland, FL., went to Lakeland High School. Enlisted in the USMC in Oct. 1961 and served four years. My last duty station was two years in Hawaii. Nine months after leaving USMC I received a letter from the Dept. of the Navy asking me to volunteer to serve in Vietnam and reenlisted for two years. After training at Camp Pendleton, Ca. I was promoted to Sgt. and assigned as a infantry squad leader with 1st Battalion 26th Marines. I was wounded during an ambush near the DMZ on Sept. 19th. 1966 and spent close to a month in the hospital. Shortly after returning to Ist. Blt, 26th. Marines I was transferred to the 2nd. Blt. 3rd. Marines as a platoon Guide and machine gun section leader and was wounded again during the Hill fights the first battle of Khe sanh. I participated in eighteen full scale search and destroy missions mostly near or on the DMZ and many recognizance missions and day and night time ambushes. After being discharged I had many jobs, railroad agent, carpenter, chief of police etc. and finally retired in 1998 after twenty seven years with the United States Dept. of Agriculture. Since retiring I have been a speaker for VVA for over twenty one years speaking in High School, Universities, civic organizations and others about my tour of duty before, during and after the Vietnam War. I firmly believe that if my generation does not speak about their history, then how will the next generation know of our history. War can change you, change you into someone or some thing you never knew you were, it can make your soul bleed. In order to understand what I'm saying you would have to experience war, then and only then could you begin to grasp the horror and madness of the death and destruction that surrounds you twenty four hours a day. And if your lucky, and I emphasize lucky and survive to return to the world war is not just something you will leave on the battlefield, it will haunt you until you take your last breath.

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