Dennis served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1972 as a member of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. He was stationed in Vietnam in the region surrounding Saigon (Ho Chi Min City), as well as Lộc Ninh and An Lộc.
Dennis could have avoided the draft, but chose to serve his country instead. “Many of my friends had already [been] drafted and I had four brothers who were in before me,” he explained. “I felt like I couldn’t live a normal life knowing that I didn’t go.”
Dennis earned the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Badge Rifle, Marksman Badge (pistol .45 caliber), and Expert Badge (mortar 81 mm). He is currently eligible for a Bronze Star Medal.
Dennis was nominated by his son, Roger, who remembers his childhood and when he really understood what his father went through.
“I am eternally grateful to him and to anybody else that served like him. I often think about the differences in my life as compared to his, you know, when he was 19 and 20. I was certainly aware that my father was in the army and served, but I feel like maybe indirectly my dad did somewhat shield me from the nitty-gritty details. He didn’t share that with me until I was older – at least I remember it that way. I remember I felt mature enough to be able to handle the details of a firefight story.”
The Gary Sinise Foundation will receive this month’s donation on behalf of Dennis.