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Vietnam War veteran remembers being shot during Waco standoff

In 1963, he went through special forces training, becoming a Green Beret, and two short years after catching passes at Kansas, he caught a flight to Vietnam.

Bill Buford was born to serve his country. "My whole family's been in the military for years," he explained. 

When the Vietnam War picked up, Buford was on a football scholarship at the University of Kansas. "Back then," he remembered, "Kansas had a pretty good football team."

He left the Jayhawks, to join the U.S. Army. 

"If I don't go now," he thought, "I might miss out on it. How naive can you be?"

In 1963, he went through special forces training, becoming a Green Beret, and two short years after catching passes at Kansas, he caught a flight to Vietnam.

"War wasn't fun," he admitted, "I've been shot six times."

The fact Bill Buford is alive is almost a miracle. He showed us around a room filled with things that should have killed him.

"The Australian I was with clubbed him in the back of the head, and I kept the crossbow," Buford recalled while pointing at a crossbow.

He also showed us a piece shrapnel that came from a mortar. "That's the one that got me," he explained.

And perhaps the most shocking of all was when Buford said "a guy popped out of a spider hole, and aimed a rifle at me and pulled the trigger." He showed us the improperly-loaded bullet, with no black powder that should've been shot at him if not for the misfire.

"I guess God was looking out for me for that day," he said.

After a year of combat and close calls, Buford returned home. He joined the ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

 And then came February 28th, 1993. 

"I don't think a day's gone by in 26 years where I don't think about that particular day," Buford said, showing us a picture of his team from the day of the raid. "Less than 24 hours later, he'd be dead, he'd be dead, he'd be dead."

The ATF was serving a warrant at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas to search for illegal weapons and explosives. But the Davidians had been tipped off.

"When they first started shooting at us," he remembered, "this was like being back in Vietnam again." 

Severely outgunned, Buford and his team climbed onto the roof. Buford tossed a flash-bang into the armory room and then stepped inside. 

"There was a guy in the room there with an AK-47," he said. Buford eliminated that threat. 

"Then they started shooting through the floor. The first round that hit me, hit me right square in the butt. Two more rounds hit me. One hit me in the hip, one hit me in the upper thigh," he said. 

Buford jumped out of the window, rolled off the roof, and was shot again. That's when former North Little Rock officer Ken Chism made a decision.

"He just jumped on top of me and covered me up," he said. "I asked him why'd you do that? They were shooting at you, too. He said, 'Man, I just wasn't going to let them shoot you anymore.' And he stays on my Christmas list," Buford said with a laugh.

Today, Buford lives a quieter life. 

After retiring from the ATF, he formed the Arkansas State Police bomb squad. Now, he uses his experience to teach officers how to stay in the fight, no matter how badly they've been hurt. 

And "hopefully get them home at night," he added. "That's the most important thing."