John Wagner


As Interviewed by Stella Rae Kinard, March 14, 2017
"This guy turns and he looks out the window, and on the back of his helmet he’s got this tape that says, 'If you ain’t got nothing, you ain’t got nothing to lose.' "
John Wagner

Introductory Profile: About John Wagner

My interviewee’s name is John Wagner. He is my maternal grandfather and I am grateful that he shared his experiences with me. John served in the Vietnam War as a Marine Corps helicopter pilot. He spent around 13 months in Vietnam from November 1968 to December 1969. Mr. Wagner volunteered for the war after over hearing some of his co-workers for the National Guard boast about how smart they were to get into the National Guard so they wouldn’t have to serve in the war going on overseas. This did not sit well with John, and soon he was interviewing the different branches he could serve in for the war, and finally settled with the Marines.

In my interview with John Wagner we discussed his time fighting the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong as a helicopter pilot. He had much to share and witnessed some incredible stories that I can only imagine. In this podcast he specifically talks about an encounter he had involving a pilot with a striking attitude towards the chaos of war. Although war seemed like a tough topic to cover with a veteran, there was not much dark air in the room during the interview. John kept the conversation in a light mood while he went over a few of his flights in Vietnam. He described a few missions you might get on a day to day basis as a pilot. The good and the bad. He gave some insight to the exhilaration of being on the battlefield as well as the beauty of the foreign country around him under the war. John Wagner is now changed man from his service. He sees the world a bit differently and I believe he and I can agree that he has changed for the better.