TYLER (KYTX) -It was 40 years ago when the last United States troops left Vietnam. But, the trip back home is one many soldiers did not want to make.
Soldiers leaving the country feared angry protestors back home who were against the act of war.
Dean Mullican served in Vietnam. He's now one of many who suffer health problems from Agent Orange, a toxic spray that was used during chemical warfare.
Friday, he was recognized at the Watkins-Logan Texas State Veterans Home where he now lives.
"I feel like sometimes I get too many honors," said Dean Mullican.
But, There was a time when he was not honored at all.
Mr. Mullican remembers the day he flew into the Tyler airport, expecting to be welcomed home.
"I arrived about 11 in the morning and there wasn't a soul to meet me," said Mullican.
He said he felt like a convict who had just gotten out of prison.
"Be honest with you, It made me mad. I went back in the restroom there and I just broke down crying," added Mullican.
Nearly four decades later, he and his fellow comrades are receiving the honor they deserve.
"It was very inspirational and rewarding."
Charles Comer said he chose to fight for a country he loved and cared about.
"I volunteered, I didn't wait on the draft," said Comer.
While today marks the end of the U.S.combat mission, Saigon's fall two years later, in 1975, is generally remembered as the end of the war.
It wasn't until 2009, when congress officially recognized Vietnam veterans with their own day.