• 50°

Schofell served nearly 20 years in U.S. Army

VALLEY — U.S. Army veteran Al Schofell is our Valley Times-News Veteran of the Week.

Schofell was in the U.S. Army for a little over 20 years.

“I was with the Army for 20 years and 29 days to be exact,” he says. “I am proud to have served my country.”

Schofell, 78, served three tours of duty in the Vietnam War.

“I was there in 1966-67, 1968-69 and 1971-72,” he said. “I was also in Korea for a while, in Hawaii and also in Germany.”

He pretty much saw the world in his military service.

“I came to the Valley in 1978 and worked for WestPoint Pepperell for 13 years,” Schofell said.

He’s now retired and stays abreast with veterans issues through membership in American Legion Post 67 in Valley.

“I really enjoy going to the meetings,” he said. “I have been a member for ten years now. There are some really good men in the organization.”

Schofell is the last living member of his family.

“I had two brothers and a sister,” he said. “They are gone now.”

He said he enjoys attending services at the Lanett Congregational Christian Church.

Schofell’s service in Vietnam extended through the three major phases of the war. He was there in the U.S. buildup in 1966, the turning point of the war in 1968 and the draw down period in 1970-71.

Following the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964, U.S. combat units were first deployed in 1965. U.S. involvement peaked in 1968, the same year North Vietnamese troops launched the Tet Offensive.

This persuaded a large segment of the American people to become skeptical of our government’s claims that substantial progress had been made in winning the war.

By 1971, a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops, commonly called “Vietnamization,” was well under way.