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A Call to Service

Memorial to William Balt Hunt

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written by his son, Kenneth Hunt
Cover Page
Memorial to William B.Hunt
The Search Continues
Turned back
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William B. Hunt
William B. Hunt in Vietnam
Dad was born in Sandpoint Idaho, on July 31st 1935. He had an upbringing like most American kids growing up in a small town in the 1930's and 1940's. His father, Balt Hunt, was a logger by trade. His home, that he built by himself, had a mine on the grounds and as a kid I would sneak into the mine and catch frogs. The house sat just outside of Sandpoint, on a mountain overlooking Lake Pend Oreille. Grandma Mabel and grandpa Balt raised my dad and his sister Hazel in that beautiful mountain setting overlooking the lake.

In November 1953 dad enlisted in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper. He enlisted with a hometown buddy, Kenny, for whom I’m named after. They spent their first tour in Europe with the 11th Airborne Division. When he wasn't training dad did all the things soldiers normally do overseas, traveling, sight seeing, and enjoying Germany. One of his main interests was football, playing throughout Europe against other Army teams.

After their tour in Europe dad and his friend Kenny came back home to Sandpoint. Dad worked in the local area but became dissatisfied with civilian life and decided to go back into the Army. At about the same time he met my mom. They were married in Coeur d’ Alene , Idaho during the Fall of 1959. As soon as they were married the Army posted the new couple to Fort Campbell Kentucky and shortly after their arrival, in the Summer of 1960, my older brother Wayne was born. It was from this unit, the elite 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles," that dad later volunteered for Special Forces training.

Dad in the 1960's
There is only one place for Special Forces training and that’s Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Vietnam was starting to heat up and Special Forces needed volunteers. The family picked up and moved to Fort Bragg and in October 1961 I was born there at the Womack Army Hospital. By 1962 dad was already in a Special Forces Group and was deployed in Vietnam training South Vietnamese Government troops. He became a Special Forces radio Operator, deploying several times between 1962 and 1966. Even today being the "commo man" is one of the hardest jobs on the team.

In the late Fall/early Winter of 1966, the Army planned a major operation called "OPERATION ATTELBORO,". Dad became involved with the operation simply by chance as a passenger on an evacuation helicopter. However, during the battle he volunteered to stay behind with the Mobile Strike (MIKE) Force and fight (you can read the whole story here). His position was overrun by the enemy, forcing dad, another SF soldier, and two Chinese mercenaries (Nungs) to escape and evade the enemy. Dad died during the evasion but his body was never recovered. He has been accounted for as Missing in Action since November 1966. He received periodic promotions to the rank of Master Sergeant until he was later presumed dead.

His decorations include: Silver Star, Bronze Star with "V" devise and oak leaf, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good conduct Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Cover Page | Memorial | Turned back | New Obstacles | Getting Closure | About Ken Hunt... | Other MIA/POW Links | Epilogue