I was born and raised in Grinnell, a small farm and college town in east central Iowa. I did the normal high school sports and clubs. After graduating in 1968 from the University of Iowa I went to the U.S. Navy Officers Candidate School in Newport Rhode Island.
During my OCS period a new "In Country Viet Nam" program was opened to those about to be newly commissioned Ensigns. I believe 10 out of my August 1968 graduating class, of about 350, volunteered for it. Of those 10 over half chose Swift boats.
We were sent to the Coronado California Amphibious base for pre boat school orientation then went on to Swift Boat school at the same base. We graduated in early February 1969 with a class of Ltjg's, Ensigns and several enlisted crew members.
From there we were sent to CosRon One in Cam Rahn Bay for assignment to the five Coastal Divisions located from Da Nang down to An Thoi. I was sent to Cat Lo, South East of Saigon, to patrol the five rivers comprising the Mekong Delta.
After twelve months of sometimes very intense combat activity my tour was over and I was sent, on a Permanent Change of Station, to the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington D.C. Upon completion of my obligated service I was relieved of active duty and returned home to Grinnell to join my two older brothers in the family business.
We manufacture athletic wear: letter jackets, nylon jackets, warm up suits, on field and court uniforms for university, college and high school teams and caps. For many years we made men's dress gloves and because of that line had a factory in Taiwan that I managed from 1972 to 1977. After dropping the glove line, and factory, I came back to Grinnell as vice president for sales for our family business.
I was married in 1979. We raised two boys who are now 22 and 20. Both are in college. My greatest joy is in the happiness and contentment of my boys.
Most of my colleagues came back and led normal and productive lives because that’s what we considered our civic and personal duty.
-Bill Lannom OinC PCF 37 Cat Lo 1069
Last Updated Tuesday, July 20 2004 @ 09:04 PM PDT