The last Rhode Island National Guardsman who first served in Vietnam has retired. Cpt. Richard Gaudet has been serving his country on and off for more than 40 years.
Now retired, U.S. Army Captain Richard Gaudet first joined the Army as a 17-year-old, that was in 1971. He was part of an aviation support unit in Vietnam. He then joined the Army Reserves, then after 9-11 he re-enlisted working as a training instructor with two deployments to Afghanistan. Gaudet turns 60 soon, the age mandatory retirement kicks in.
Vietnam veterans were honored at a Statehouse ceremony marking the 52nd anniversary of the start of the war. One unit was singled out for recognition.
During the Vietnam War only a handful of National Guard troops were called up to serve in combat roles. Rhode Island National Guard’s 107th Signal Company was one of them. Warner Dauphinee of Scituate remembers the 12 month tour of duty this way:
“I didn’t want to be there. It was hot, uncomfortable,” said Dauphinee, “not a place I’d ever vacation that’s for sure.”