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Combat Story

May 11, 2024

Today we have a unique Combat Story where we hear about the armored cavalry in Vietnam from then Platoon Leader with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Kent Hillhouse. Kent would go on to retire as a Major General in the Army Reserve and has continued to support veterans leading his communityโ€™s Veterans Memorial and Support Foundation of Los Gatos.

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Many will likely be surprised to learn we had tanks in Vietnam given how the war has so frequently been depicted as a fight by infantrymen in the jungles. Kentโ€™s firsthand accounts of commanding an M48 platoon from 1967 to 1968 provide an inside look at the way these tanks were employed, leveraged, and targeted. 

In this episode, we get into battling for your reputation, pushing through complex ambushes, near death experiences, trusting and leaning on your NCOs, taking the initiative, the responsibility of command, and never giving up. 

With that, please enjoy this amazing piece of history as we look at the age and employment of tanks in Vietnam with retired Major General Kent Hillhouse.

#vietnamwar #warzone #combat #army 

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โฐ Show Notes:

  • 00:00 - Intro
  • 00:47 Guest Introduction Kent Hillhouse: From Vietnam to Major General
  • 01:09 The Unseen Role of Tanks in Vietnam
  • 01:30 Battling for Reputation and Trust in Leadership
  • 01:59 A Personal Connection with Joe Galloway
  • 05:22 Debunking Hollywood: The Realities of War vs. Movies
  • 17:58 The Legacy of Leadership and the Importance of NCOs
  • 18:20 The Path to Becoming an Armor Officer
  • 22:37 ROTC Challenges and Leadership Lessons
  • 34:43 Journey to Vietnam: Engagements and Expectations
  • 36:55 Arrival and First Impressions in Vietnam
  • 37:29 Adapting to Military Life and Unit Dynamics
  • 40:43 The Technicalities of Armored Warfare
  • 46:12 Experiencing the Heat of Battle
  • 47:40 Learning Through Mistakes and Misfires
  • 50:15 Navigating Leadership and Tactical Challenges
  • 52:12 The Intensity of Night Convoys and Combat
  • 01:07:28 Reflections on First Combat Experience
  • 01:16:43 Recalling Vietnam: Maneuvering and Survival
  • 01:17:11 Life in the Field: Challenges and Adaptations
  • 01:19:25 First Contact and Leadership Under Fire
  • 01:23:39 The May 5th Encounter: A Detailed Recollection
  • 01:30:44 Overcoming Adversity: Tactics and Teamwork
  • 01:41:52 Reflections on Leadership and Disobedience
  • 01:44:32 Personal Mementos and the Value of Letters
  • 01:46:15 Veterans Foundation: Building a Legacy
  • 01:50:18 Listener Engagement and Closing Thoughts


This interview combines the compelling experiences of Vietnam War veterans, including Kent Hillhouse's leadership in armored warfare with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and another veteran's close-quarters combat and survival instincts against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army. It portrays the harrowing and unpredictable nature of the Vietnam War, detailing initial combat encounters, leadership challenges, intense ambushes, and the adaptation required to navigate the difficult terrain and psychological impacts of warfare. It also highlights moments of courage, quick decision-making, and the importance of camaraderie. Additionally, the narrative touches on post-war efforts to honor the sacrifices of veterans, weaving together personal stories of combat, survival, and the enduring bonds formed in the crucible of war.