Veteran recounts how he found the strength to look back at his service

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RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — The stories of war would be lost if we did not let our men and women recount all they went through.

Larry Bowling, known as Buck by his friends and family, watched his father and grandfather serve in the military.

He followed in their footsteps when he was drafted in 1966. Buck served as an Army specialist with the first and the fifth of the air calvary during the Vietnam War.

From the minute his plane landed and his feet hit the ground, he was followed by firefight.

“The chopper that I was on, as soon as I hit the ground, it blew up it shattered, a mortar round hit it, then I jumped in a fox hole,” said Bowling.

Buck said he can’t remember a day where he was not in battle. He fought back tears as he told 59News how he almost lost both of his legs after setting off a land mine, it was in this moment he thought he would die.

“I don’t know how many of us were there but they said 90 percent of you won’t return, I mean they just come right out and tell you that, when I went over I didn’t think I was gonna come back,” said Bowling.

Buck said it was his faith that kept him alive and gave him the strength to walk again. But as most veterans know, the war does not stop when you return home.

For the longest time, he could not bear to recount what he went through, as he felt his PTSD negatively affected everyone around him.

“I didn’t wanna hurt nobody, I didn’t wanna hurt my family, I didn’t wanna hurt myself, to be honest with you, I didn’t wanna do anything outward,” said Bowling.

He said without the support of his wife and the VA hospital, he would not have a grip on his PTSD.

“I can now, I couldn’t before, because I know now, that if you keep it in here, it is going to get to you, it is going to get to you,” said Bowling.

Every year, Buck puts out more than 400 American flags as a tribute to the more than 400 West Virginians who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.

Buck e believes honoring and supporting veterans and those currently serving, is something that should be done every day.

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