Gary Beikrich went to college for two years before enlisting in the Army. He joined so he could become a Green Beret. He worked his way through the difficult training to become one of the elite Green Berets.
Beikrich wanted to help other people, so he also went through medic training, then he was sent to Vietnam in 1967 with the 5th Special Forced Group in the Kon Tum Province.
The team’s mission was to guard and teach Montagnards tribesmen that were in the region. Working with the tribesmen allowed Gary to go days without speaking any English.
On April 1, 1970, Beikrichs camp was attacked in the early morning hours by the NVA, who brought massive artillery that destroyed the camp. As a result, the forces had many casualties.
Since he had medic training, Beikrich immediately began giving those who were wounded aid. But as he was trying to patch his fellow soldiers up, a 122mm artillery shell touched down by him. Shrapnel from the shell hit Beikrich in the back, giving him a spinal cord concussion.
Beikrich was unable to move. Two of the Montagnards tribesman came to assist him, quickly getting him mobile so that he could help the other injured soldiers. Beikrich did what he could but eventually collapsed.
He was bleeding and was critically wounded. He was loaded into a medevac heading home to the US. He spent time recovering from his wounds before enrolling as a pre-med student in college.
However, he did not stay long due to anti-Vietnam protestors hurling insults. He packed up his van and took off. He wanted a quiet place all to himself where he could be away from all of it.
He set up home in a cave. He received mail at a post office box. When he went to check, he discovered that he would be presented with the Medal of Honor for his brave actions during the raid in Vietnam.