John S. Oiestad
U. S. Army
Dates of Service: 01/23/1969 - 01/22/1971
Infantryman, Alpha Company, 4th BN, 31st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry BDE

John Oiestad was born in 1949 in Big Timber, Montana to Sverre and Carrie Ronneberg Oiestad. His parents were from Sandnes, Norway. His father came to the United States in the 1920's, gained citizenship, then returned to Norway and during WWII he was helping pilots who were shot down and the Nazis put him in a concentration camp for a year. He and his wife Carrie later moved back to the United States. One of six children, John graduated from high school in 1967, attended Montana State University in Bozeman and was drafted in 1969. He went to Fort Lewis, Washington for basic training and AIT. He arrived in Vietnam in June and was assigned to LZ West First Platoon, First Squad. He walked point for eight of the months he was in Vietnam. John went R&R in Thailand, was AWOL not returning on time and as punishment he was kept in the field until a couple of days before he was to be sent to the states. He returned to the states by way of Chu Lai, Cam Ranh Bay and Fort Lewis and then had orders to go to Fort Carson. After being discharged in 1971 he went to college and worked as a hunting guide the rest of the year. John met Shari, his wife after he returned from Vietnam and they married while he was in school. John graduated with a degree in Range Management in 1976 and worked for the Forest Service doing range inventory and later worked for the Soil Conservation Service.