Former POW speaks to Vietnam veterans (Elbert)

U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran and former prisoner of war

ROCHESTER — Those who know Lance Cpl. Fred Elbert describe him as quiet and sincere, but the Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war began his speech at the Vietnam Veterans of America meeting Wednesday with a proud, strong “Semper Fi.”

Elbert, 62, of East Liverpool, Ohio, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in October 1966, when he was 19.

“I was gung-ho,” he said. “I was trying to get into the National Guard.”

Elbert said the Army was sending troops directly to Vietnam after basic training, and when a recruiter told him he could use his aviation mechanics training in the Marine Corps, Elbert signed up. It didn’t turn out the was he expected, though.

When he completed his training some time later, Elbert decided to go into reconnaissance duty and was deployed to Vietnam in January 1968.

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