ST. CLOUD (AP) — A Minnesota veteran who was once part of the elite Marine Security Guard protecting U.S. embassies recalls the deadly night 50 years ago when the U.S. Embassy in Saigon was attacked.

Enemy combatants tried to break into the embassy with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles on Jan. 31, 1968. Five Americans and 19 Viet Cong guerrilla fighters died during the attack.

Historians say the attack was an important point in the Vietnam War and illustrated that the fight was far from over.

Sgt. Ronald Harper, who was 20 years old at the time, helped keep four civilians safe during the hourslong skirmish. He earned a Bronze Star for his service.

Harper is now 70 years old and runs his own business, Quality Appliance and TV Center in Waite Park.