Vietnam veteran from Cohoes receives high school diploma

June 23, 2018 06:16 PM

TROY - The moment was a long time coming. And when it hit him, the sense of accomplishment for 72-year-old Allen Aubin was beyond satisfying. And the exuberance was written all over his face.

“Yeah, it feels good. I enjoyed this. This is great and I also enjoy being with the young children today. They worked hard for this," Aubin said.

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The Cohoes High School class of 2018 may have worked hard to receive their diplomas, but Aubin worked a lifetime to earn his.

He should have graduated in 1964, but he quit school after his junior year to enlist in the Army.

“I just decided this is what I wanted to do and I went for it and joined. I don't regret it. I would do it again tomorrow if I had to,” Aubin said.

Brave words from a man who served in Vietnam as a machine gunner at age 17. While his classmates were safe and sound in their blackboard jungle, Aubin was dodging bullets in a real jungle half a world away.

And for the one time he didn't dodge, he received a Purple Heart.

“A lot of friends served in Vietnam as I did. Some never came home,” he said.

And that's why Aubin has a wish for his current classmates, sort of a graduation present from one generation to the next.

“We got to do what we had to do. Different generation. Everybody is different. These kids will be different. Hopefully they will change the world so that nobody has to (go through) jungles any more,” Aubin said.

After finishing high school, many of the graduates will go on to college and some will go directly into the workforce. As for Aubin, well let's just say he has other plans.

“Golfing,” he said.

Through the years, there have been many sacrifices; not the least of which was serving 30 years as a Cohoes firefighter.

“This is a very hard working community, true core values and they appreciated a hero like Allen who went off to war and fought for his country,” said Bryan Wood.

Aubin is a humble hero with a heartfelt wish.

“I hope they have a good life. Hopefully it won't be a life full of war because war is a terrible thing,” he said.


Dan Levy

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