For Fuleky, like many of the vets, the reunion has been an emotional rollercoaster. "It was because of the Tet Offensive we were sent over," he told me earlier. The Communists announced a weeklong truce for the national New Year holiday at the end of January--then launched surprise attacks all over the country.
With the Marines scrounging for manpower, Terry Rigney was transferred to the 3/27 from an engineering battalion. "A lot of other people were mechanics or motor transport ... we did not have enough 0311s--infantrymen--to fill an entire battalion." With Rigney and other specialists filling out the ranks, the battalion was immediately sent to Vietnam.
Rigney remembers getting the news like it was yesterday. "It was like eight-thirty at night. I was sitting on my footlocker, writing a letter home into my tape recorder, and the duty NCO of the barracks came through and started calling out names. 'Here you go--you're going to Vietnam. Here you go--you're going to Vietnam. Here you go. Nam.' When? 'Tomorrow morning.'