HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - There’s a Vietnam vet who lives in the Tennessee Valley who was part of the most highly decorated helicopter unit in naval history. The odds are you’ve never heard of them.
Veteran Terry Mann has never lost his passion working on engines. Today he’s working on this car and when he was 18 he signed up and joined the Navy and worked on fighter planes. In 1970 he was deployed to Vietnam.
“Our job was to fly at night, day, whenever required, to stop the transport of large barges on ammunition for the North Vietnamese,” said veteran Terry Mann.
He was a member of an elite group known as the Seawolves. They're the most decorated squadron in Naval history.
“People don’t hear of us because we only existed for 6 years. We never existed in the United States, so you can’t go back and look at navy units or any other type unit like the Navy Seals. The Navy Seals have units based in the United States, we never did,” said Mann.
The Seawolves were created in Vietnam and only existed for six years. Less than 4,000 Seawolves ever existed.
"The pilots were the best of the best. There was no stopping the pilots, didn't care how bad it got, how ugly it got, how hard it rained, the pilots flew and saved a lot of lives because of that you became a real family and you realize when the last of us die, they're be no more of us," said Veteran Terry Mann.
Veteran Terry Mann was a member of the Navy for four years and he only spent one year in Vietnam.
“If you wanted to extend and if there was a slot for you, then you could extend. Most of us after year one working seven days a week, 12 hours a day and no days off were ready to come home,” said Mann.
When the veterans returned home they didn’t get a hero’s welcome, but Mann is still proud of his decision he made decades ago.
"I’m proud to serve my county, and I’d do it again,” said Mann.