As students prepare to have an extra day off school, the nation prepares to honor its veterans on Friday, November 10, Veteran’s Day. The Camasonian would like to take this opportunity to share the story of a local veteran to Camas, Bobby Derricotte. Here is his story as a veteran, in his own words:
“I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 12, 1941, nine months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
I joined the U.S. Navy on June 2, 1961. My basic training was in San Diego, California. I was assigned a year’s shore duty at Naval Base, San Diego. In September 1962 I was assigned sea duty aboard a World War II destroyer U.S.S Taussig DD-746, homeported in San Diego. I was a radioman with a “top secret” clearance in encryption and decryption of messages sent to our destroyer.
In 1963 our ship was being deployed to Vietnam when we received a request for an [encrypting] volunteer to join Seal Team 2 with a top-secret [clearance] to go on a mission into Hanoi. Our captain asked if I would volunteer for the mission; I said yes.
I trained with the team and went on the mission. After the mission, I returned to my ship. In January 1965, we sailed back to Vietnam. During that time I was ordered by the high command to join Seal Team 2 and other special forces group into Cambodia and Laos because of the Ho Chi Min trail into those neutral countries. We were in those countries over two weeks.
I was discharged on June 2, 1965 and ordered never to [talk] about my missions in Vietnam and had no status as a Vietnam Veteran or Seal Team member until October 2001 when everything about the missions was declassified. My family never knew anything before that date.
What makes service to American special [is] knowing I am serving God, America, and the world, protecting the freedom of human beings.”
-Robert Derricotte, RM3
Radioman 3rd Class