Now they are in their 60s and 70s, but many were barely out of high school when they shipped off to Vietnam more than four decades ago.
The men were members of the 172nd Transportation Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit based in Omaha.
They gathered last month for a special night to mark the 45th anniversary of being activated and sent overseas.
Of the 124 unit members who served in Vietnam, more than 80 returned for the reunion at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2503 in Omaha, said Garry Knittel, a unit member who helped organize the celebration.
At the reunion, the men received certificates recognizing their service in the 172nd. The men should have received the certificates while in Vietnam but never did.
The unit was activated in April 1968.
In October 1968, the men boarded a plane for Cam Ranh Bay, a military port and compound in South Vietnam. Within a couple weeks of their arrival, the men launched supply convoys, the unit's main assignment.
The men drove 5-ton cargo trucks, essentially military versions of a semitrailer. The unit ferried barbed wire, cannon shells, canned food, lumber for building bridges and other supplies to U.S. artillery bases in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam.
The men navigated twisting mountain roads so narrow the back wheels of trucks crept over the edge during turns.
The unit typically ran 80 to 100 trucks in a convoy, rumbling along at 5 mph because of the rugged and snaking roads.
During 12 months overseas, the 172nd logged nearly 700,000 miles and hauled more than 80,000 tons of equipment.