Former machine gunner’s memoir offers unique perspective on Vietnam War

Oct 25, 2013

Equal parts harrowing and contemplative, Fred Krebsbach’s recently published memoir of his experiences in the Vietnam War offers a unique perspective on that terrible chapter of history. Now living outside of Rochester, Minnesota, Krebsbach is retired from IBM, and was involved in construction, real estate and farming. He currently farms with his brother Corky and nephew Jon. They are working on an innovative planting system and new proven farming techniques in soil health in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, where he grew up on the family farm. Krebsbach published Okay Okay with the Write Place out of Pella, Iowa, and the book is available for purchase now at Amazon and

Before leaving for Vietnam, twenty-one-year-old Krebsbach received a piece of advice from his uncle: carry something with you into combat that will give you comfort in a time of need. Krebsbach figured it was worth a shot and chose his First Communion rosary. This turned out to be a life-changing, maybe even life-saving, decision. Sent into combat as an M-60 machine gunner, for almost seven months Krebsbach faced danger from booby traps, enemy combatants and the jungle itself.

After becoming injured and returning from the hospital he gave up the M-60 to become a squad leader for Special Forces. He endured seven more months of constant change and surprise, but one companion was constant―a voice inside his head that helped him find the right course of action to keep him alive. To this day Krebsbach doesn’t know what that voice was exactly, but it may have had something to do with that dang rosary!

Though he survived Vietnam, Fred was changed in irrevocable ways. He hopes his story helps his grandchildren and other young people understand the cost of combat and the value of thinking it through before engaging in war.

For more information, call the Write Place at 641-628-8398.


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