Ken Gamble served in Vietnam from 1964-1966 with the Brown Water Navy. After coming home he has done many meaningful things to those who have been effected by Agent Orange including an Agent Orange Memorial in Tennessee, an Agent Orange Medal which is now officially recognized by the State of Tennessee and other programs working with those effected by AO.

TRANSCRIPT – Transcript and Subtitles are generated automatically by YouTube and may contain errors.

good evening vietnam welcome to veterans
live show
another exciting episode of the tales of
tonight we have a very special guest ken
gamble i’ll bring him in a minute this
is ronnie ambrose your host
i served on the first airborne division
in 1967 and 1968.
ken gamble is our guest tonight from
springfield tennessee
that’s halfway between nashville and
sort of
fort campbell kentucky going north
united states navy
went to uh great lakes for training
and then was in the brainerd water navy
so now right now we’re going to go to
our photos
okay sorry to bring this one in but here
we go
me and general smalling i had adam
schooled on a few issues
this is at the westchester county
vietnam memorial dedication november
wonderful wonderful appreciation day
next okay this is from tom neubauer
you bet your life is the name of this
looks like a yui yeah uh oh it says
chinook sorry it’s right there in front
of me you can’t say
it’s from the back from the front there
um it was quite appropriate
for uh all who served in the 271st
a ashc this is in kanto airfield
september 1968
leeward dockley weber delta company
third recon
in the bush 1967
out of quang tree in quank tree province
it was up by the dmz
next picture
tommy abelson iii recon cranktree 1968
ready for a six day insertion with the
i’m not quite sure what that means so
tommy maybe you could send us a note
uh on the bottom of the page there or if
anybody else knows what sfdd means
that’d be great thank you
okay now we’re going to run over to
glenn norris here
this is at the horseshoe he was
stationed between dongha and quang tree
in 1967 with security for an air
field locator located on your left if
you were going to crank three
from dongha so if you’re going to crank
tree to dongha it was inland
on highway one we were up there in the
dongha bridge for a while with my outfit
101st and uh spent a lot of time in
cranktree province
thank you for that picture glenn
skip penner doctor central highlands
june of july 1968 e company
first of the 506 infantry 101st airborne
hua welcome home skip and thank you for
that picture
okay that’s the end of the picture thing
let’s go to the vietnam timeline
okay vietnam timeline this date in
december 16
1965 general william westmoreland who
you just saw
commander of u.s military assistance
command of vietnam
sent a request for more troops with
nearly 200
000 in country already he asked
defense secretary robert mcnamara
for an additional 243 000. he actually
more than doubled
the troops by the end of 1966.
all right well number one song of
december 19
december 16 1965 was turn turn turn by
the birds
december 16th 1962
henry kissinger announces that news
conference in washington
that the north vietnamese have walked
out of the ongoing private negotiations
peace talks in paris and the number one
song in 1972 on this date
was me and mrs jones
by billy jones there you go okay
let’s move on let’s bring our guests
into the studio
this is ken gamble from springfield
ken was uh in the united states navy
and has a wonderful project going that
could really blow your mind we need a
lot of support for this thing
he’s founder and president of the irish
heart metal foundation
c3 p3 c2 okay so this is a c3
charitable organization he was in the
brown water navy
in vietnam from 64 to 66
and the amphibious landing ship tank or
lst carried troops but didn’t have guns
on the ships for sometimes he says
tell us about that ken with no guns well
i mean we were we were there in 64 and
it was police action
we had guns we just couldn’t use them
uh they were in the armory they just
wouldn’t let us have them
uh because it was police action uh you
you guys in the army knew uh you know
you had guns but you couldn’t shoot
until you were shot at
that’s true that’s one thing i did not
there was absolutely nuts you could see
a person in the black pajamas running
across a rice paddy
with an ak-47 in their hand and
you couldn’t shoot on it until they shot
at you that’s
exactly right okay thank you for the
all right uh can
uh vietnam veterans that have agent
orange condition
get sent a medal that was designed by
and they set the vets at no charge so
you got to get on board which is if you
had it
and if you still have it it’s really sad
hopefully hopefully you recover and
uh if you know anybody else or a family
of some family i mean and they have
get one for them as well uh the shipping
will take could be
be uh taken care of with that here’s a
of the organization there we go let me
put this straight up there
how’s that let me get two hands on here
this is two whoa here we go
boom there you go look at that
actually that patch was was designed for
the memorial that we built
right look at that
handed out at the dedication that is
okay next
uh they wanted to design it a little
different from the purple heart which is
very nice
uh the other thing is they had a law
passed in the state of tennessee
is in tennessee is the only state that
recognizes the metal that they have
the goal is for nationwide medal
recognition this year
so talk to your congressman or your
senators or whoever you can
and tell them to get on board with this
orange heart
orange heart metal foundation
and then one more minute we’ve got one
and it’s uh made law
alongside a doctor who knows a lot about
ao which is agent orange
law went through with zero opposition in
18 days
and they also got a 25 000 grant tell us
about your project
ken well it all started with the medal
uh i was in the va hospital
with internal bleeding after 46 sessions
of radiation and
two and a half years of shots in the
uh five years later i got internal
went to the va hospital and i’m laying
there in bed and i’m wondering what in
the heck can we do
to help these guys get the recognition
that they deserve
and honor them well
as i lay there i’m thinking you know
we’ll never get a purple heart
so i said why not an orange heart
so i had a piece of paper very good
very clean and i started sketching it
and i sketched out
the metal then when i got out of the
hospital i got a buddy of mine to help
me on the computer
to perfect it get it made
well in the meantime
i was looking for somebody to make this
medal and it took me about six months to
get anybody to make it
people just would not touch it but i
finally found it
and then and so i was uh applying for a
501 c
3 uh charitable organization
uh that came through okay when i got the
produced i got it trademarked
uh through the system
and uh i thought to myself well
you know these guys have paid for this
with their lives
why would i charge no i couldn’t do it
so i send these medals out all they got
to go do is
go to the website click uh
click on the application fill it out hit
it comes to my computer i pull it off
i’ll pack a medal in a uh envelope
shoot it out to them how many of you
think about so far ken
five grand five thousand dollars already
out there very
well that’s very commendable yeah now
this first like i’m talking about at the
beginning here
every bit of the money come out of my
pocket okay
so i real quick i had 20 grand investing
right and when i went to fill my taxes
the cpa said do you want to get this
money back
and i said why would i want it back
it’s gone to one of the best causes that
i could ever think of
and uh since then you know i’ve got some
grants and things have helped me along
the way
and and we’re doing all right with the
foundation now
so uh we got the law passed i’ve got the
medals i still send the medals out
and if anybody out there is a vietnam
vet suffering from agent orange any of
the conditions on the
va list just go to my website
uh small letters
and just get the application
fill it out right there on the website
and just hit submit and i will
send you an orange heart map we’ll run that back on a
little bit later as well
so okay this is uh now it says here that
vietnam veterans can lay their ashes
at the memorial if they want to be with
their brothers how do they
go about that
to get their get their name on the
yeah okay what what you do there is
there again go to the website okay
right beside where the metal application
is there’s a form
that you click or you click on the page
there on the right side
that takes you to the form to fill out
to get your name on the memorial okay
what about the ashes okay
uh once you fill out that form
now of course we asked for a 150
donation to put your name on there
that’s the way we’re paying for this
sure yeah now at when we built this
we built two ossuaries now for you guys
that don’t know what an ossuary is
i didn’t until it was explained to me
we buried two balls
that will be under this second
phase of the memorial
we’ve got six inch pipes running up to
ground level
with them capped off any
vietnam veteran or any vietnam veterans
family members
that want their ashes at this memorial
they just bring them this first of them
they’ll be with their brothers and
and uh that memorial will serve as their
headstone because their name will be on
that memorial
gotcha that’s what that’s pretty pretty
cool really now this is the biggest
thing that up sort of
bothers me and kind of like really upset
me when i first heard it
that you had says you have had no
from the national vfw or the american
none whatsoever or from the vba or the
are you kidding no national support from
any of the organizations
now local support we’ve got a great
bunch of vfw members
american legion members sure we get
local support
i know what national media i know in
national means i’m a member of
everything you just mentioned
so well i have tried three times three
to get the national vfw
involved they will not even talk to me
right now we’re going to put a shout out
to anybody in the neighborhood guys out
you vietnam vets that are listening or
the family members
contact your local american legion or
the vva
vietnam veterans association or the vfw
veterans of foreign war
or amvets and which one did i miss here
the american legion uh well that’s about
four or five of them
and yes they ask them yeah the
right disabled american veterans to uh
we support them
i mean they’re asking me for i just
rejoined again
three of them in the last month or so
and uh
i i throw them like 40 50 a year
whatever it is to do that heck if they
threw up
five grand 10 grand in there that that
doesn’t mean anything you know what i
i can tell you i can tell you what the
last time that i asked
for help they told me to go to the small
business association
really really okay you know something
like i
got the idea that i’ll i’m gonna write
them tomorrow in fact they’re gonna
probably get my
phone call before the mail because uh
for the vfw
i just mailed the check yesterday and so
it’ll be two days okay
let’s move on uh in the future you’d
like to see some scholarships from
second and third generation family
members gonna
have the eight-year-old thing what i’d
like to do
uh after we get now we’re never going to
get through with this memorial because
we’re going to do it in phases
as long as the guys want to put their
names on there as long as the widows
want to put their husbands on there
we’re going to keep adding phases to
this memorial
okay uh so it’s never going to end
i i will end before the memorial
i guarantee you but yeah what i want to
do with this foundation
is if we get enough grants if we get
enough money
i would love to get some second and
third generation
agent orange children
some scholarships
how much do you know about the
hand-me-down of ao with the second
generation or third generation okay
right now
i i uh got connections at vanderbilt
okay i’ve got two doctors over there
that are doing research on dioxin
as a as of uh last year in february
they were into the fifth generation
fourth generation for male fifth
generation for females
that’s how foreign
i talked i talked to paula austin
just recently this week
and i asked her if they were still doing
the research and she said yes
but this colbit has cut them off from
getting the sales that they need
right yeah and uh but they will they
start back up just as soon as this is
over with yeah i mean where’s the
priority right
okay the kid’s got agent orange if
somebody’s got covet
yeah yeah you tell me pick one okay
so uh tell us a little bit about your
service ken
what kind of service did you uh well
like you said i was uh
in the amphibious uh gator navy as we
were tagged uh
we uh started out 64 we were carrying
troops in we were carrying marines in we
were carrying
uh soldiers in we were carrying seabees
july da nang all up and down the coast
uh scariest i’ve ever been was when we
pulled into chulai on the fourth of july
and i don’t see in the fireworks
i i just couldn’t you know my sea detail
station was on the foxel right up there
at the very forward
peak of that ship right under those uh
40 millimeters and uh
i just couldn’t you know i just asked
myself what’s
what’s a damn old country boy from
springfield tennessee doing over here in
this foreign country
but i hear that they thought baby i
thought you said it was a boat
a boat yeah no man you were in the
i was on the boat what
there ain’t no such thing as a bull what
what’s a pt
boat uh we had
the pfcs the peop uh pbrs the wpb’s
and all those were in the river okay
they’re both they’re both
both you can see the board the boat
a boat you can bring aboard a ship
but a ship you can’t bring aboard a boat
so you can put a boat on a ship but you
can’t put a ship on a boat
exactly all right thank you for clearing
that up
so i’m sorry so you were like doing lst
from uh from what well troop carriers uh
ships if you ever watched any
uh world war ii movie yeah with the
netting on the side of the boat yeah i
got you
okay if you see that ship that comes in
with the bow doors open
right comes in with the mouth wide open
that’s a nail plastic yeah right you got
okay all right so tell us about yeah
tell us about your weapons in vietnam
uh like like we were talking about
earlier we didn’t have any
weapons that we could carry in 64.
in 65 it was a different situation uh
of course we had twin forties two twin
out we had uh single twenties
millimeters uh forward
and uh we had 50 caliber machine guns
on the second level of the ship midship
and forward 50 cows on both sides
a lot of firepower well
and then we had m14s we had uh
thompson machine guns and naturally
you’re 45
of course we tried to stay in the middle
of the rivers
all right so tell me about uh having no
downtime no r r never had no r
r really the only time the only time we
had r and r is when we
would head back or coming over
now we would we would either stop at in
or we would stop in hawaii and we the
only liberty we would get
in hawaii was like four hours while we
and they we would uh usually go into the
sub base until they
told us not to come back
that’s pretty strange you say the only
people that say
liberty are navy guys it’s like you’re
like locked up
well maybe maybe a freak
maybe navy guys okay we were a different
breed we were the infields
so i mean you know we we were right
you know right there amongst in the
uh there’s a lot of difference in
and as most people think navy there’s a
lot of difference in the amphibious than
the gator navy than there is
i could imagine tell us about bunk towel
what happened to bunk towel
well let’s see that that would have been
when we went from operation market time
to operation game ward
that would have been uh about mid 65
we went and anchored out right there at
mouth at don powell and uh
you know we we uh
were carrying uh
supplies up the river to actually build
the boat stations
you know and once once the stations were
we were running back and forth up and
down the river taking them
diesel fuel and and uh
uh ammunition food just whatever
whatever they needed we would tie up at
some of those boat stations sometimes
and we would have to set the guards
if you’ve ever been in the rivers you’ll
you’ll see a lot of vegetation floating
down those
those rivers and the vc were were
famous for getting in that vegetation
and trying to get over to the hull of
the ship and
put a mind on it right gotcha okay so
we would uh post the guards like i say
with the m14s
you see anything floating down that
river you shoot it it didn’t matter what
it was
so you didn’t have any down time in
inventory either right
no wait we i never
the only time my feet hit the ground in
was when we would uh just completely be
wore out
and we’d go down to wreck locker and
get a football or a soccer ball or a
and then we would beat that big joker on
bank and little did we know at the time
that the clearing that we were rolling
around then
was because of agent orange oh wow yeah
i mean you know at that time we didn’t
have any idea what was going on
right you’re right yeah so we’d get out
there playing football
well you know flag football was not for
we had to we had to bump heads and
yeah get a little energy out yes get a
little clustration off
yeah you know funny about bunktown you
mention that i had an in-country r r
and it was uh quite a quite a nice place
it’s amazing
i got it’s a weekend off it’s like a
memorial date like a three to three day
you get incoming
oh this is a 68 yeah see that’s three
years later
yeah right everything see
like july july the name when we pulled
in there there was nothing
right nothing yeah not a planet
down there was a big resort now in fact
i met one of them i met a buddy of mine
called her buddhist
uh walking out of a massage parlor
in bung tao it was like a guy from high
you 12 000 miles away from home
and you meet some guys you know it was
like funny
i’m sorry that was like monktao i’m glad
that we could talk about bangtao
because it was a regular place seemed
like uh
pineapple on a stick plenty of cold beer
beaches you put these lays around your
neck like you’re in hawaii the whole
and it was fun so uh well i’m sorry
to get every time i can tell you
uh me and three buddies of mine was
headed back to vietnam
this year right we were going
uh we were finished we wanted to finish
up the movie that we’ve been working on
for the last three years
we wanted to uh end it in vietnam
so we were gonna go so i did a lot of
research and a lot of looking
and what have you of the different
places you know on the internet
right uh i couldn’t believe it
i could not believe it of course this
colby cut our trip off
but and uh
but so i we we’re taking a different
uh different
trail for the end of the movie uh
uh hopefully we’ll get it out this
spring all right well ken i really like
to thank you very much
and anybody you need or would like or
would need to contact these people
or just like to contact and or donate
contact them at the
thank you very much ken let me give them
let me give my email address
okay go ahead with that all right it’s
ken gamble
six eight at
okay ken gamble six eight at
yes i’ll spend all that all right hang
around a minute
we have a question and answer session
coming up sure
and we’ll be glad yeah you got it okay
all right thank you for coming into our
sound off section we got a comment or a
uh ken did you ever work with the rock
no never did okay nope sorry about that
kilo 19.
next question or did they ever mind the
oh yeah really uh
the ship that relieved us at anthoid
which you had on the first
there with westmoreland the uss
she was mine she was our relief
she was our relief ship at endpoint
so let me ask a question what did you
mind the river with the capacity to blow
up i mean you had like sand pans
these were like like large canoes
so what did you put in the water
you mean i i don’t understand the
question ron well the gentleman asked
did you ever mind the river
did you guys ever lay mines in the river
for the enemy
we didn’t not on our ship that we had
mine sweepers
we had mine sweepers that that would
sweep four mines
it was mainly the uh the vc that was
mining the river so you’ve never put any
mines we never put mines in the river
that you know what not
not that i know of but i do know okay
guys that served that that you know
they had they had like on those mine
sweepers they had a pretty rough job
i got that right okay next question
from debbie enis spears they took my
husband so sad that many of them were
lucky enough to come home oh
sorry about that about agent orange and
finally had their life slowly taken by
well debbie maybe you could get in touch
with uh
ken gamble here and
share a few memories and uh have your
dedicated at the memorial next question
from joyce davis to cruz thank you for
your service
mr ken there’s one for you go for it
thank you joyce
next question appreciate it tom word
thank you for your service vietnam
brother tom ward says
appreciates that for you ken but we
thank you
we thank you too all right and that’s it
thank you very much ken talk to you in
the future
and thank you all you guys your vietnam
veterans stay tough
carry on and do what you can to help
that memorial with donations or whatever
or even just the thought of you know
contacting somebody who
might have the problem or the family has
a problem and they could dedicate
at the memorial himself well thank you
very much god bless you and
welcome home