Vietnam War Military Ambulance Reunited with US Army Driver

A military ambulance used by US forces during the Vietnam war in the 1960s has found its way from South East Asia back to the original US Army medics home in Lotus, California.

The vehicle is a 1967 Kaiser K725 military ambulance. It would have been at the forefront of battle in the field as well as used to ferry the sick, wounded and dying back and forth between the battlefront and the military hospitals around Vietnam.

Air Force Sergeant and medical officer Rob Hughes was an ambulance driver during the Vietnam War.  He came across this vehicle for sale on the internet; the ambulance is still in good working order.  Rob never thought he would see or drive the ambulance again, but he stumbled across it for sale in Kansas City. Out of sheer interest Rob called the seller and began discussing the vehicle and his Vietnam War experiences; he became convinced that the ambulance in Kansas City looked like the ambulance he had driven while in Vietnam.

Luckily, Rob is a car enthusiast; he had remembered the last three digits of the ambulance’s serial number — 396. The seller confirmed the numbers, and under such coincidental circumstances Rob couldn’t help but purchase the vehicle.  He paid $3000 for the ambulance and to have it shipped from Kansas City to his home in Lotus, near Sacramento in California.

Official military records say that the ambulance was shipped back to the US after having survived the Vietnam War. It was given to the Arkansas National Guard and stayed there for many years, after which it was used in Texas as a mobile radio truck for civil defense service, the CBS Sacramento reports.

Once it had reached the end of its service life it was put up for auction, and was bought by the Kansas City Veterans of Foreign Wars association, from  which Rob eventually bought it.  The ambulance now sits on Rob’s driveway, and he hopes to put it to good use in fundraising for veterans and local military programs. Rob wants to ensure that, after all the good work the ambulance did during its time in Vietnam, it will continue its usefulness by helping a new generation of troops and veterans.

Rob is also trying to lobby authorities to get more military and veterans’ organizations officially recognized.  He gives military vehicles veteran status too, since he says they have also given their all for their country.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE