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Combat Story

May 25, 2024

Today we have a round two Combat Story with Kent Hillhouse where we recorded the episode with a screen available to look and talk through some more of his combat experiences with maps and photos from his time in service. Kent is a retired Major General who spent a year as a Platoon Leader and Tank Commander in Vietnam from August of 1967 to August of 1968. 

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We wanted to do a Round 2 with Kent after I spent some time with him following our first interview looking over some of his photos from his year in ‘Nam and bringing some of the stories to life. In this episode, we dive into the Tet Offensive, which Kent was a part of as his platoon was sitting close to the Cambodian border when it kicked off in late January 1968.

We cover Kent’s months fighting in the Iron Triangle - an area notorious for being controlled by the enemy in dense vegetation and triple canopy jungles. We also hear a story of a fellow platoon leader who would go on to become a member of the storied SOG outfit following their initial rotation.

If you didn’t catch Round 1 with Kent, he grew up in California and Georgia and attended San Jose State while part of ROTC. He ended up in tanks (Armor) thinking he’d see little combat given how challenging the terrain in Vietnam was for tanks. Little did he know he’d be in a fight for his life, emerging on the other side with a purple heart and two Silver Stars. He would go on to become a two star general and continues to support the veteran community leading our local Veterans Memorial and Support Foundation of Los Gatos.

If you’re just listening to this episode and not watching on YouTube, you may want to take a peak at the video version on YouTube to see some of the images we talk through to get a better feel for what it was really like. With that, please enjoy this second round discussion with Kent Hillhouse.

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⏰ Show Notes:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 00:58 Guest Intro Round 2 w/ Kent Hillhouse: A Combat Story of Valor
  • 03:13 The Tet Offensive: A Firsthand Account
  • 05:29 The Journey to Saigon: Combat and Camaraderie
  • 16:04 Inside the M48 Tank: A Detailed Look
  • 21:50 Inside The Iron Triangle Encounter
  • 26:35 Navigating the Dense Terrain: A Combat Story
  • 27:29 Radio Station Assault: Strategy and Challenges
  • 28:13 The Heat of Battle: Survival and Tactics
  • 35:47 Aftermath and Reflections: Leadership in Combat
  • 37:56 Reconnecting and Remembering: The Story of Lou
  • 44:04 Closing Thoughts and Viewer Engagement


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