I was hiding under a log. Doing my best to masquerade as North Vietnam terrain, I’d pulled branches on top of me, smeared mud on my face, and arranged leaves and other foliage to stick out of my clothes. I was 20 miles behind enemy lines, having parachuted out of my F-4C fighter aircraft when a weapon malfunction blew it, along with my wingman, to bits. So far my terrain act was working; a group of North Vietnamese soldiers had passed, unaware of my presence, within six feet of me….
It’s been nearly 45 years since Staff Sgt. Gail M. Kerns kissed the ground when he stepped back on United State soil, after surviving 1,439