EASTON — In 1969, Gene Feher was a U.S. Army specialist 4th class and radio operator during the Vietnam War. For the past 50 years, he has applied the lessons he learned through his military service to benefit himself and others.
“In the military, you are exposed to every stratus in civilization. That is the best education, besides what you learn from a book,” Feher said.
“(The experience) matures you faster. It gives you a better perspective on things around you that you are exposed to. It allows young people to make better and informed decisions about their lives not only in the military, but in their families and other things, as well,” he said.
After graduating from Wagner College with an economics degree, Feher was drafted into the Vietnam War at the age of 21 in late 1968. He first went to Fort Gordon in Augusta, Ga., for basic training for three months, then did advanced training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., for three months.
He went to Vietnam in June 1969, and came back to the United States in June of 1970. He went home, had a month off, then reported to Fort Sill, Okla., for his final five months of his two-year military service.
“When you were drafted, you served for a minimum of two years, and I served two full years,” he said.
“The military means it is a part of our system of government here. Unfortunately, it is necessary in order to keep our country as a democracy,” Feher said. “I think that the military is an intricate part of our system of government, and it is an important part.”
Feher’s father served in the U.S. Army during World War II, where he was a sergeant in Europe. Feher was born in Queens, N.Y., and lived in the city until he and his parents moved out to Long Island when he was 12. He has lived in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and he moved to the Eastern Shore almost five years ago.
When Feher was younger, he said he had a bad temper to the point that if someone looked at him funny, he was ready for a fight. However, during his time in the military, Feher learned patience, decision-making skills and how to cope with all kinds of situations.
“I knew I could tolerate any physical disaster, how to handle many situations in life, including emergencies. That is something from my time in Vietnam,” Feher said. “I’ve mastered how to be calm and think things through in stressful situations. I had my own company and did volunteer work.”
Feher’s skills allowed him to participate in Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 648 as treasurer and as adjutant for VFW Post 5118. He is a member of the American Legion Post 70 executive committee.
With his military skills applied to all walks of his life, he advises those who are interested in military life to take the opportunity.