Ramon “Tony” Nadal can forget a lot of things in his life, but even the passage of half a century has not dulled the memory of three scorching days in the jungles of Southeast Asia during one of the most significant battles of the Vietnam War.

A mission to hunt down North Vietnamese troops who had attacked a military base in their area turned into a fight for survival as Nadal and his fellow soldiers quickly found themselves outnumbered 2,400 to 192. At least 79 men died as the Americans desperately fought their way out of the jungle in what would become known as the Battle of LZ X-Ray, one of the first major clashes in a war that would drag on into the next decade.

“I was ready to give my life for my soldiers,” said the retired U.S. Army colonel in a new short film released by AARP Studios for Memorial Day.

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Image courtesy of militaryhistorynow.com