Bob Eddy received a Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam
almost 50 years ago and recently was recognized by the Gage County Board. Eddy
is the chair of the Math and Science department at Southeast Community College’s Beatrice Campus.
During the Gage County Board of Supervisors’ weekly meeting
on May 11, Eddy received a certificate and was thanked for his military service.
It’s part of an ongoing recognition program by Gage County.
“I was just one person,” Eddy said. “I was unlucky enough to
be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I was lucky I survived it.”
On Oct. 17, 1967, Eddie was involved in a battle for a
bridge when he received shrapnel to a knee and elbow. He was then sent to Japan
where he recuperated for two and a half months, and then back to Vietnam where
he spent another eight months before heading home to Nebraska.
Eddy enlisted for the Navy while still a student at Kimball
County High School. He was a hospital corpsman and thought he would spend six
months in a hospital. Instead he became part of the U.S. Fleet Marine Forces,
which combines the Navy and the Marine forces during war. He said he was lucky
he lived through his experiences in Vietnam.
“One of my favorite sayings is ‘they’re not shooting at
you’,” Eddy said. “Probably the fact I lived through the night is surprising.
Life after that is frosting on the cake.”
When Eddy returned from Vietnam he enrolled at Chadron State
College, then attended graduate school at Washington State University where he
researched molecular genetics. He came back to Nebraska and taught high school
for 12 years before coming to SCC, which was then Fairbury Junior College, in
His father, Robert, was a para-trooper in the Philippines
during World War II, and his son, Russ, completed two tours of Iraq. Eddy said
serving in the military and other types of service to our country is
“I think everybody should do some kind of service, military
or otherwise,” Eddy said. “That’s what makes the world work.”
Eddy said he will retire from SCC in a year-and-a-half. One
of his plans for retirement is to visit Hawaii, a place he only got to see for
a couple hours through a window on his way to Vietnam.
“It’s the kind of experience you wouldn’t want to do again,
but you wouldn’t want to trade it, either,” Eddy said about his tour of Vietnam.
“It helps make you who you are, just like any other life experiences.”
Eddy and his wife Rhonda have two children, Russ and Joy,
and three grandchildren.