Terry Hairrell served as an infantryman in Vietnam with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade from late 1967 to 1969, and was stationed at Chu Lai, South Vietnam. During the Tet Offensive, Hairrell was part of Company A, then was transferred to Charlie Company, where he became a squad leader. He was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded by friendly fire in an incident that also killed one of his sergeants. When he came back to the United States in the 1970s he went to college at Western Illinois University but also struggled to deal with his combat experiences, which led him to drugs and alcohol. He says that meeting his wife in 1975 saved him. He has since reunited with some of his war buddies who continue to struggle with PTSD.