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Faces of Fort Cavazos: John Footman is spending his golden years serving fellow veterans

Posted at 5:40 PM, Jun 19, 2024

HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas — John Footman is a retired Vietnam veteran and two-time Purple Heart recipient.

He is a proud resident of Harker Heights now, but his story begins in Florida.

”I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida until I was drafted June 1, 1967,” Footman said.

After basic training, he found himself serving in Vietnam with the 4th Infantry Division, and it wasn’t long before he hit the front lines.

”We had to take over a hill from 173rd, and they had really gotten beat down,” Footman said.

“That was my first initiation of fighting in combat.”

Footman deployed twice to Vietnam and was injured both times.

He took 25 News reporter Adam Schindler back to Vietnam through photo albums of the deployments that earned him two Purple Hearts.

“What’s happening in this photo?" Schindler asked as he pointed to a photo.

”This photo right here, we was getting ready to move out on a mission,” Footman said.

The pages of the photo albums he keeps packed away hold more than memories — it's a reminder of the sacrifices he and so many others made, as he pointed out soldiers that didn’t make it home.

”That was my platoon sergeant,” Footman said.

“He didn’t make it back, he didn’t make it back, and these two guys are my two best buddies to this day — they're like brothers to me and they made it back.”

Now in his 70’s, Footman spends his days volunteering in his community and supporting his fellow veterans though organizations like the VFW and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

”I like doing things for the community and helping out people doing things for the community,” Footman said.

“My wife asked me before she died, she said, 'When are you going to slow down?' — I said, 'When you’re pushing me around in a wheelchair'."

Footman tells 25 News that he will keep serving his community and fellow veterans as long as God lets him do it.