continued In his repair work, backpack radios would sometimes come in with bullet holes, reminding Villaneuve and his team about the importance of their work.
“We took that as a challenge,” said Villaneuve. “Those poor guys in the field, their lives depended on it.”
Radios were the lifeline that soldiers used to call medivac, air support and artillery coordinates, he said.
The repair work came so fast that the crew he worked on had to open a night shift to catch up. It seemed like a respite to Villaneuve, who thought he'd sleep away the hot days and work during the cooler nights, but his internal clock didn't agree.
He spent a lot of sleepless days under mosquito netting. The army used some really powerful bug killer around the complex, so the pests weren't too terrible, he said.
After he returned from his tour in Vietnam, Villaneuve still had a year to serve, and taught communication equipment repair to enlistees. The radios would arrive with problems to fix, but often they were so messed up that the challenge was beyond novice repair techs. The teachers would have to fix the bugs before re-breaking the equipment so that the beginners could learn.
He returned to North Creek, where he fell into work at Gore for 35 years. His electrical training in the Army helped him secure a position with repair crews at the ski resort, and he eventually headed his department.
He also earned his guide's license, and still runs camping and fishing trips on the side to supplement his retirement.
Patrick Porter's son Michael would like to correct his father's retirement place to North Creek. Thanks for keeping us on our toes.