U.S. Army, 101st Airborne
Service: Spring 1969 – Spring 1970
By his own admission Arthur Wiknik was just an 18-year old “punk” when his draft notice arrived in April of 1968. Like thousands of other draftees, going off to fight a war a half a world away was not part of his plan. Rushed through non-commissioned officer candidate’s school and after just one month in country, Wiknik found himself engaged in one of the most notorious episodes in the Vietnam conflict – the battle of ‘Hamburger Hill’. On May 20th, 1969, Wiknik and his men were fighting their way up the hill when he was suddenly struck in the chest. Knocked to the ground, his shirt burst into flames from a tracer round that lodged in his equipment. Badly shaken, but undaunted, he got up, and continued on, eventually fighting his way to the top. Wiknik finished out his tour and returned home in March of 1970. For the next several years he endured the challenges and personal struggles of balancing his wartime memories with those of an America that did not want to hear about Vietnam. Thirty some years later, he would write a memoir, entitled ‘Nam Sense,’ as a means of coming to terms with his experiences.