Alan Abrams was a 24-year-old history major at Washington University in St. Louis when he got drafted June 22, 1967.

“Originally, I was going to be a history teacher. I decided later maybe I was going into law,” he said. “But the draft changed everything.”

Abrams became a Soldier and he left for Vietnam on Thanksgiving Day 1967. The private arrived in Chu Lai as a member of 1st Platoon, Delta Company, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division.

“I was a rifleman. I walked point every three days for the company,” he said. “We lived out in the bush 24/7. And all we would do every day was go to another location and search out the enemy. We lived in the field.”

As the point man, he walked ahead of the others in his squad. In late January 1968, his unit was walking to a night position. Abrams was following some Soldiers up a path. Someone yelled at him, so he went toward the other direction. He heard an explosion up the path from a 500-pound bomb that killed about 10 Soldiers.

That could’ve been me, that was very scary,” he said.
Vietnam revisited
Part 393 in series

On May 4, 1968, he was walking point in the province of Phu Bai. He encountered a river and tried to figure a way to cross it. Suddenly at 12:35 p.m., a shot rang out from an enemy sniper, most likely with an AK-47.

“I felt an explosion in my stomach area. And I was awake the full time,” Abrams said. “It went in my abdomen, and the bullet actually exited out my (right) side.”