Chuck Hagel's Views On War Forged By Vietnam Experience
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.
Should he be nominated to replace current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Hagel would bring to the Pentagon a distinct bias against armed conflict forged during the Vietnam War.
Hegal volunteered to join the Army and ended up serving a yearlong tour in 1968 during the Tet Offensive, considered the most violent period in that war. Because of a clerical error, he served side by side with his younger brother.