GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Right after high school in 1968, Brawley Lovelace Junior joined the Marines.
“I was 03-11 in the Marine Corps Infantry, and served with all the marine infantry divisions,” Lovelace said.
Lovelace was in the first marine division in Pendleton, California, the second marine division in Camp Lejune and the third marine division in Okinawa, Japan.
During the process, Lovelace learned his brother who was in the Army was deployed to Vietnam.
“So when it comes to all my training, my first sergeant just told me, ‘Private Lovelace, you don’t have to go to Vietnam… But he said, ‘You have a brother there.’ I had no idea my brother was in Vietnam!” Lovelace explained. “So I told him that I wanted to volunteer to go. And he said, ‘You want to volunteer to go to Vietnam?’ I said yes, sir.”
Off Lovelace went for 13 months.
“That’s a tough life. That’s a real hard life in Vietnam as a ground pounder,” Lovelace said. “You know, monsoon season, you’re sleeping in the rain, mosquitoes.”
Lovelace said it was a hard life to live, to watch your friends and fellow marines get killed or wounded.
“And I was wounded also in Vietnam,” Lovelace added. “And I almost died from malaria. I caught malaria and stayed in the hospital for a few days, overcame that, and went back to my unit again.”
That wasn’t the only time.
On one of his operations, Lovelace Junior got hurt again and received his purple heart.
“I got hit by shrapnel from an enemy with what’s called an RPG,” Lovelace told 7NEWS. “It’s a grenade that he puts on the end of the rifle and shoots and I got hit in my leg. And I got medevacked out and stayed in the hospital a little while with that.”
He said the experience changes and humbles you.
“People might not realize it. But America is the greatest country in the world,” he said. “And you don’t realize it until.”
Lovelace Junior said he suffers from PTSD from the traumas he experienced there.
“Noises would affect me real bad like a car would backfire some and even till this day that still bothers me,” said Lovelace.
Now he said he turns to his faith, physical and mental well-being and local support groups to get by each day.
“I find that to really keep me grounded, you know,” he explained. “Because I’m around people that haven’t been through the same thing that I’ve been through, you know, and their Army, man, their Navy, Air Force, you know, and we all just want we all are brothers.”
Additionally, if you’re a vet needing help, seek it because it’s out there.
Brawley Lovelace Junior, Thank You for Your Service.
Lovelace Junior said he’s been going to support groups for nearly 12 years now.
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