Once in Vietnam, Hayden was assigned to Navy Advisory Team 159, which was stationed in the Mekong Delta. It was during his first trip down the Mekong River to a Navy outpost that the reality of the war hit home.
After an assault boat picked up Hayden to take him to his post, Hayden says the guys on the boat started putting on flak jackets and helmets at a bend in the river.
“I asked what was going on, and the guys said, ‘They always shoot at us at this bend,’” Hayden recalls. “So, they kick the boat as fast as it will go — and I’ll never forget it, they had rock and roll blaring — and sure enough they open up on us. It lasted all of 30 seconds.”