Emmit Lofties tells his story of fighting in Vietnam in 1967
Emmit Lofties says he grew up in a big family on a small farm. He had fourteen brothers and sisters. He started working the farm when he was just seven years old.
"We sharecropped a little bit," Mr. Lofties said. "We would give two bails of cotton first, and then all the rest of it was ours. My dad would take care of the family with the rest of the crop. Cotton, corn, potatoes, tomatoes everything that we raised."
What they grew in the summer kept them fed through the winter.
He stayed on the farm through school and a few years after.
"Had a good time on the farm," Mr. Lofties said. "Then when I was twenty-four I was drafted into the Army."
They sent him to Fort Benning, Georgia for basic training, then 8 weeks in Louisiana for more training. Thirty days after that he was in Vietnam.
"I just thank God for letting me make it back from Vietnam safe and sound," Mr. Lofties said.
He spent eight months in country.
He was a mortarman in the infantry, and he saw some awful things in combat.
"We went out with 96 men for 17 days," Mr. Lofties said. "We came back with 56 men."
He made it home, but he's had nightmares for decades. He had shrapnel in his knee from one mine blast. He got hit in the ankle from another. He received a Purple Heart for that injury.
When Emmit Lotfies talks about the war he talks a lot about the men who didn't make it back.
He credits his faith for helping him get home.
"I just thank God for it," Mr. Lofties said. "I went through that but I wouldn't want to go through it again because it's a horrible thing to go through."