Submitted releaseState Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-Canton) honors local veteran Gregory Sims as January’s “Veteran of the Month.” Sims, a Canton resident, served in the Vietnam War from October 1968 to December 1969.
“Sergeant Sims was one of many Connecticut residents drafted into the army who rose up to the challenge and became a national hero proudly serving his country,” Witkos said. “Up against tough odds, with just 16 weeks of training, he bravely went overseas, fought and survived.”
Gregory Sims was drafted into the U.S. Army on May 13, 1968, just after he graduated from Canton High School. Sims went to Fort Dix, New Jersey for eight weeks of basic training and then to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for eight weeks of artillery training. On October 22, 1968 Sims was deployed to Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam.
Upon landing in Vietnam, Sims says he was overwhelmed by the oppressive heat and struck when he saw people loading coffins with American flags onto a plane at the airfield and wire screens on the windows of all the buses to protect passengers from grenades.
Sims was sent to II Corps and Landing Zone (LZ) Oasis. He was assigned to Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 9th Artillery, 4th Infantry Division as an assistant gunner for 105 mm Howitzers. After a short stint with B Battery as a “newbie,” Sims was transferred to the Infantry, and assigned to C Co. 1st Battalion, 35thInfantry as a radio telephone operator and recon sergeant.
Sims witnessed many horrors of war, including a traumatic search and destroy operation, a friendly fire tragedy and heavy combat.
On Dec. 16, 1969, after spending over a year in Vietnam, Sergeant Sims was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army.
Sims’ full story and a video interview can be found here on senatorwitkos.com.
Senator Witkos’ “Veteran of the Month” program features the stories of local veterans each month through text and video. Each story highlights the veterans’ unique experiences and acts of service.
To nominate a local veteran to be a “Veteran of the Month” please contact Katie Kenneally at Katie.Kenneally@cga.ct.gov or (860) 240-8862.