Hometown Heroes - Nathaniel Sapp

Vietnam veteran
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 5:31 AM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Hawthorn Nathaniel Sapp joined the United States Marines in 1963 and soon found himself in Vietnam, just as the war was escalating.

“My job was a rifleman,” recalled Sapp. “We had M14 rifles and 45 pistols and a belt full of grenades. We don’t want to leave them out,” he laughs.

He remembers watching out for the jungle booby traps set for U.S. soldiers by the North Vietnamese.

“What would happen was they would cut the bamboo a little thick and short. You’d be walking down the road and fall into that pit. Most people can’t make it after that.”

Sapp served two tours of duty in Vietnam in 1963 and 1968. He says he saw plenty of action as a rifleman.

“Just trying to make it through the bee hive, I called it. No one knew which was coming and which was going with real bullets coming at you. But most of the guys I went there with came back home.”

Sapp came home to Louisiana and made a life with his wife Gladys, retiring from Citgo after 36 years. He comes from a family of Marines. Some of his brothers and his son were all members of the Marine Corps.