The October issue of Military Magazine featured a major article about a year of combat duty spent in Vietnam by Taylor University professor Dr. Dennis E. Hensley. Titled, “Why I Fought in Vietnam, and Why I’d Do It Again,” it gave a personal perspective of Hensley’s year as a sergeant with the military police and later with Saigon Support Command. This article originally ran as a four-part feature in The Waynedale News six months ago.
Dr. Hensley was awarded five Letters of Commendation and six combat medals, including the Bronze Star, for his service in Vietnam from January through December of 1971. Currently, he is a full professor at Taylor and director of its professional writing department.
“Years ago I gave a speech about why I volunteered to serve in Vietnam, so the editor of Military Magazine asked if I would share my views on this matter for his magazine,” said Dr. Hensley. “The editor had obtained copies of my military records, as well as an interesting collection of photos of me in Vietnam. I chuckle when I look at those photos today. That way 40 years ago.”
According to the article, Hensley served stateside in 1970 at Fort Knox, Kentucky with the Armor Corps, then he was transferred to Vietnam. While in the war zone,besides fulfilling his normal duties, he also organized chapel choirs, helped to build a coffeehouse for military personnel, taught guitar lessons to the other soldiers, was a contributing writer for two of the base newspapers in Long Binh, and led classes in English for the local Vietnamese.
John R. Shank, senior editor of Military Magazine, said, “Here was a guy who pulled his normal assignments of guard duty, jungle patrols, and staff office work, yet also made time to impact everyone around him in positive ways. His military career was short, but stellar. He was promoted to an E-5 noncommissioned officer just 19 months after enlisting, which is normally unheard of. He was decorated by every officer he served under. He came home with two unit citations, six medals, five commendation letters, and the rank of sergeant. Our magazine felt compelled to put the spotlight on Sergeant Hensley’s career.”
In civilian life Dr. Hensley completed four university degrees, including a Ph.D. from Ball State University. He is the author of more than 50 published books and more than 3,000 newspaper and magazine articles. He has received distinguished alumni awards from T. L. Handy High School, Delta College, and Saginaw Valley State University, and is a recipient of the “Elizabeth Sherrill Lifetime Achievement Award for Professional Writing Excellence.” He and his wife Rose live in Fort Wayne. They have two grown married children, Nathan and Jeanette, and three granddaughters and one grandson.