January 6th, 2013
10:23 PM ET
10 years ago

Chuck Hagel's views on war forged by Vietnam experience

(CNN) - Badly burned after his armored personnel carrier hit a land mine in Vietnam, Chuck Hagel sat in a medical evacuation helicopter thinking of the horrors he had experienced during combat.

"If I ever get out, if I ever can influence anything, I will do all I can to prevent war," he would later tell his biographer, Charlyne Berens.

It was a seminal moment for the young soldier turned Nebraska senator who sources now say will be nominated by President Barack Obama to become the next secretary of defense.


Filed under: Chuck Hagel
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. plain&simple

    God bless Chuck Hagel...a noble authentic man!!. Americans can be proud to have him serving us again.

    January 6, 2013 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  2. labman57

    "Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said any defense nominee must have "a full understanding of our close relationship with our Israeli allies, the Iranian threat, and the importance of having a robust military." "


    Chuck Hagel, recipient of two purple hearts while serving in Vietnam, experience working in the Veterans Administration as a strong advocate for the health and welfare of military veterans, and key roles on the Senate's Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees while serving in Congress.

    I suspect he understands the U.S. military and world affairs a tad better than does Uncle Mitch.

    January 6, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  3. Larry L

    As a long-career Soldier I can appreciate a Sec Def who knows and detests. Chuck Hagel is an American hero and those who try to discredit him are unfit to serve America.

    January 6, 2013 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  4. Pete

    Here's a true hero not one of those warmongers that never served and I'm talking of the roughly 70% of acting republicans in both houses a fact that most posters really never researched..Hagel is against war as in Iraq and Afghanistan and believes in negotiated talks not firing missiles and sending innocent men,women to die for crude oil or whatever to make someone wealthier...He was against Russias war with Afghanistan as well saying it was a waste of time fighting a tribe of people that been embattled one way or another for thousands of years and he's right just as us getting nowhere but losing lives to make a statement to people who could care less who Americans are!!He'd tell you pull out in a minute and that's why he's so hated in Washington because he speaks his mind and at least can be honest, something not too many republicans have been since I've been voting almost 40 years !!He's also ashamed of what Reagan did as well with chemical weapons being sold to terrorists back when Iraq and Iran were fighting,just check out how your hero did,what a idiot you call a hero..

    January 7, 2013 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  5. Randall Norris

    Hagel is a man who understands war and also understands that your friends are not necessarily your friends and your enemies are not necessarily your enemies. And his comments about lawmakers being afraid of the Jewish lobby were right on target. We need to worry about United States interests, not Israeli interests, and we need to stop defending their war crimes. Enough is enough and it is time to stop being polite. If you support Israel, fine; go live there. If you support the United States, then worry about us, not the Middle East. And no, I'm not an anti semite; just an American tired of my tax money being spent to kill women, children and Palestinians. I want Israel to rise to its better nature, not sink to its lowest level.

    January 7, 2013 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  6. Name lynn

    hagel been in the war an he knows how its look an feel, an now hagel has a heart hes seems like he be alright. Yet them white house leaders an them republicans dont care for hagel

    January 7, 2013 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  7. The Elephant in the Room

    Mr. Obama has named Ray Lahood[R] as Sec of Transportation, Robert Gates [R] as Sec of Defense and is about to name Chuck Hagel [R] as his successor. That is change we can believe in. Can you imagine any Republican [least of all Romney] doing the mirror image of this with Democrats? The extremists in the GOP/ TP would be apoplectic. I HOPE THE american people appreciate having the smart guy, the adult guy, the "no-drama Obama" guy in charge instead of the alternative. Give him your support by voting for a Democratic Congressman in 2014. That way, we know the laziness of Congress will get a kick in the pants.

    January 7, 2013 06:10 am at 6:10 am |