Westlake veteran named to national American Legion post

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 8:19 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Charles Aucoin joined the U.S. Navy in 1966 and a few years later served a year in Vietnam. He was on the Mobile Pay Team, in charge of going out in the field to pay soldiers fighting the war. That came with its own challenges.

“We were not allowed to carry weapons,” said Aucoin. “That makes you really feel good. The only person to carry, and he carried a 45, was the chief that went with the 2 or 3-man crew.”

Decades later, Charles says he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He says some moments just don’t go away.

“Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 1968, in the Tet offensive, we were in Saigon at the time and it was overrun and it took about 3 days for us to get it back. We were holed up with no way to defend ourselves.”

Vietnam vet Charles Aucoin is National Vice-Commander of American Legion
Vietnam vet Charles Aucoin is National Vice-Commander of American Legion(American Legion)

Charles became involved in the American Legion and is a Paid Up for Life member of Bill Guillory Post 370 in Westlake. As one of five National Vice-Commanders, he is working to get younger veterans of recent conflicts involved in the American Legion.

“If we continue to change, and bend towards the want of the younger member, the younger veteran, then we will eventually get them in as members the same way. It evolves. But you have to change. Your organization has to change.”

Aucoin has a military heritage. His grandfather served in World War I and his father in World War II.