Havelock-area schools honor veterans with ceremonies

Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 01:00 PM.

He brought a jar of black sand from Iwo Jima to show the school.

"That was what the beach was like. You’d be up to your ankles in this stuff. Volcanic ash is what it was," Odom said. "It made it very difficult to dig in. You started digging and it was like a doodlebug. You’d dig down and the more you dug down the more the hole spreads out and you didn’t get any deeper. That’s what we had to dig into when we got onto the beach at Iwo Jima."

Odom was nearly killed by a rocket on Iwo Jima and shot in the leg in Guam.

"I got to thinking after Korea that there’s got to be an easier way to make a living, so I managed to get into the air wing," Odom said.

Odom flew as a helicopter door gunner on short hops during Vietnam.

"Sometimes you’d get back from the mission and you’d get out and look back at the helicopter and count the bullet holes," Odom said.

One time, he got down and found three bullet holes in his seat.

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