If they weren't miserably wet or miserably hot, they were miserable hacking through the jungle brush and elephant grass with leaves so dense and so sharp they drew blood. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The NVVM is exploring an oral history project to record Veteran stories. The belief that the antiwar movement was antagonistic toward Vietnam-era soldiers still has a deep grip on popular memory and political culture. By Staff Writer Last Updated Mar 25, 2020 7:28:07 AM ET American soldiers stationed in Vietnam were met with an unexpectedly horrific experience. SOLDIERS TELL TRUE STORIES OF THEIR WAR. But many faced challenges back home, and some still do today. And they were young men. Regardless of what you thought about the Vietnam war, the fact is 2,709,918 Americans served in Vietnam, representing almost 10% of their (very large) generation. SOLDIERS TELL TRUE STORIES OF THEIR WAR. That’s a lot of people and a lot of heartache. Regarding your father's viewpoint of American soldiers, I have written a post about the truth vs. reality of popular depictions of Vietnam War era American soldiers. However, because of the way the draft was set up, men assigned the lowest numbers were more likely to be drafted than those with higher numbers. I wanted to go for the adventure. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Soldiers on both sides faced many difficulties and challenges during the Vietnam War – including climate, terrain, the complex political situation and unclear military objectives. Neas, 68, who lives in Rahway in Union County, recently retired after running his own telecommunications company. I also traveled with a long bamboo pole. When he told his parents, they were livid, not for any ideological reasons, but because of concern that he'd be hurt or lose his life. That morning, as communist troops swept into … The best books written by Vietnam War veterans offer insight into the war and first hand accounts of their experiences. But that's the only way you had a hot meal.". In honor of National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29, signed into law in 2017 by President Donald J. Trump, AARP spoke with six veterans of the war about their most vivid memories — and about what they want Americans today to know or remember. "Pieces got stuck in my skull, but they never reached the brain." Instead, they waited in the vegetation for nightfall or awful weather or other convenient moments. They carried food rations, flak jackets, rifles and ammunition. "And I realized all my memories of Vietnam were in black and white. But in the meantime, there were hours and even days where there were no Viet Cong to be found, no fights, and nothing to distract them from the monotony. I saw no eyes clouded with resentment." They described their feelings towards the war they were being made to fight: We here at the 86th Maint. Usually, it was in the jungle, where you had to look for ambushes. Drug use had taken its toll on troops. They used Agent Orange to raze the tropical foliage, destroying the environment that the Vietnamese were using against them. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com. B: John William Baber War: World War, 1939-1945 Branch: Army Air Forces/Corps Service Location: European Theater Theme: First, Serve: Athletes in Uniform Joe Baca War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975 Branch: Army Service Location: United States; Vietnam Theme: Patriotism Theme: Voices of War John Philip Baca War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975 Branch: Army Service Location: Phuoc Long Province, Vietnam In honor of National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29, signed into law in 2017 by President Donald J. Trump, AARP spoke with six veterans of the war about their most vivid memories — and about what they want Americans today to know or remember. "It seemed the right thing to do. The Booby Trap … But after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, the racial violence that had been bubbling up in cities across America finally reached Vietnam. They fought together and returned home to build lives, families, and communities across the country. Somewhat pejoratively called REMFs ("Rear Echelon Mother F*ckers") these soldiers had a comparatively cushy experience in Vietnam. My brothers were both in college, they were doing their thing, and I felt this was my own thing to do.". But many others were poor or working-class teenagers who enlisted or were drafted into the military right out of high school. The Vietnam War was On the ground, American soldiers and diplomats confront the same moral quandary: whether to obey White House orders to evacuate U.S. citizens only–or to risk treason and save the lives of as many South Vietnamese citizens … It took their mind off what the war was about and helped if they didn'tt necessarily believe in the cause for which they fought. That idealism faded away as the war progressed, as the U.S. sent more troops, more resources, and more money overseas, as more and more young American men failed to come home in one piece. Trish Wood. As time went on, civilian casualties continued, American soldiers grew increasingly frustrated with the locals' reluctance to help, and suspicion and mistrust increased on both sides. Shortly before Dave deployed, he … We look forward to meeting you. Soldier Recalls Vietnam War Battle Experiences U.S. veteran Caesar Smith gives a first hand account of the fighting conditions in Vietnam. HANOI, VIETNAM—Forty years ago, on April 30, 1975, Nguyen Dang Phat experienced the happiest day of his life. I stood on the spot where I had been shot, but it's so different now. When you see someone shot, whether it's your buddy or whether it's the enemy, it's a life-changing moment. Men like Troyer had to deal with several frustrations particular to the war in Vietnam. Nguyen’s book draws on 54 oral history interviews with veterans of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF) and their relatives. African American Sergeant Lewis B. Larry … Veterans encountered unprecedented levels of hostility from a public that had long objected to U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Learn the stories of the brave soldiers whose names are inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He said his first return visit in 1985 changed his perspective on Vietnam. “ From The Misogyny of the Vietnam War Article Sometimes the US soldiers would sneak into the villages and kidnap pretty looking Vietnamese. Marijuana was grown all over Vietnam, and many soldiers had their first experiences smoking it overseas. There were booze and drugs if they could get them, but for the most part, the hours ticked by, only breeding more anxiety. On the surface, it appeared to have worked. We weren't soldiers: growing up with Vietnam War stories on screen. The Viet Cong were frequently one step ahead, hiding in the trees or blending in with the locals, so the villages were never really secured, and the locations of the guerrilla fighters remained uncertain. Besides weapons, each of us carried an extra 30kg of personal material and food. Check it out here. "I wanted to be a Marine for all my life," he said. For most this ethos seems not to have changed. Rick Duggan (far left) and fellow soldiers from the First Air Cavalry's Bravo Division with a bottle of Rock and Rye in hand. Upon hearing the news of MLK's death, some white soldiers paraded around the base at Cam Ranh Bay in KKK robes, openly cheering the news. We've got an advance excerpt from the 15th Pike Logan novel. phase of war and young American ales intent on asserting their superiority, their potency, their manhood…raping a woman in a combat zone is something a man has to do, needs to do, has the right to do. The use of pharmaceuticals to artificially suppress combat trauma may have contributed to the explosion of post-traumatic stress disorder cases among Vietnam veterans after the war. The 52-year-old Duckworth will tell of her life from her childhood in Southeast Asia and Hawaii to her 23 years in the Army... © Copyright 2020 Philly.com. The Vietnam War helped shape a generation of Americans, none more than the 2.7 million who served in Southeast Asia. Over the course of the Vietnam War, the military prescribed more than 225 million tablets of speed to U.S. soldiers, earning itself the title of American's first "pharmacological war." But they ultimately couldn't defeat the guerrilla fighters. That's not to say the drugs deserved all the blame for the difficulty veterans faced after returning home. Neas went on a recent tour of Vietnam, including a visit to Huế in March as part of an educational trip sponsored by College of the Ozarks in Missouri. (There are well-documented stories of gay soldiers in the U.S. armed forces going back to George Washington’s army, and the Newport sex scandal of 1919 occurred two … Heroes of Vietnam: The Stories of Fallen Soldiers. In addition to speed, officials also supplied soldiers with painkillers and steroids to increase their stamina, strength, and aggression on long-range missions. The draft wasn't the only problem. The 1980s was a time to tell the stories of the Vietnam War. ... An Oral History of the Iraq War by the Soldiers Who Fought It Show More Show Less 6 of 7 ONE-TIME USE ONLY ... in Vietnam … Many young NVA soldiers died along the way before they ever got into the fight because of sickness (malaria). Our focus is on friendly, helpful advice and great service for every customer. Most grunts passed through the rear bases on their way into or out of the field, but they didn't stay long. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, about 30% of soldiers who saw combat in Vietnam experienced PTSD in their lifetime. So the grunts kept walking. On a day … Be the first to submit a tribute honoring a vet from the Vietnam War! But the success was short-lived. "It was as if I got to see it like a real country, to see the real people. Of course, whether they could vote or not, the U.S. government viewed these men as potential soldiers the minute they turned 18 and became eligible for the draft. If they wanted recreational drugs, most Vietnam War soldiers didn't have to go farther than their military doctor. During the war in Vietnam, soldiers faced intensely extreme conditions, including hunger, disease, and of course, having to see close friends and other soldiers die. Thompson’s Hill (April 9-10, 1968), by Richard Dieterle. And you lived through the maybe the closest thing this country had, even if only for a few short years, of being at peace. At first, there were C-rations, ready-made wet meals served in cans, but those proved to be too heavy for special operations that required long treks on foot. They were a bunch of jungle-fighting guerrilla warriors who killed American boys via night-time ambushes and terrifying traps. Vincent Gabriel, Jr returned from his tour of duty in Vietnam thirty eight years ago. Even the front lines were punctuated with periods of inaction. Viet Cong were adept at blending in, sometimes taking cover in villages. the Vietnam War, historians have found varying answers to questions about the war. The Vietnam War helped shape a generation of Americans, none more than the 2.7 million who served in Southeast Asia. By 1969, more than half a million Americans were stationed in Vietnam. He served as an infantryman with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment in Chu Lia, Vietnam in 1965. Morale was understandably low during monsoon season, for example, when heavy rains would drench the soldiers and flood the rice paddies for the better part of six months. His name is etched on Panel 13E, Line 123 on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. They fought together and returned home to build lives, families, and communities across the country. Photo by Brandi Redd Few American military conflicts of the 20th century were as controversial as the Vietnam War. Although the research from various historians is necessary for Americans to understand the events of the war, we must also take time to appreciate the complicated experiences of those who participated in Vietnam. "I said to my mom, 'Is this the way you raised me, to let other sons' mothers go through this?' Upper-class men could afford to stay enrolled in university or get a doctor's note from a hometown physician to obtain a get-out-jail-free card that poorer men couldn't access. And when it wasn't raining, it was hot and humid. I had a rude awakening. “Bill” Ehrhart joined the U.S. Marines when he was 17. They had their own jobs to do. Officially, their goal was to take back South Vietnam from the communists, find and eradicate the Viet Cong, and secure the hearts and minds of the locals. The draft lottery proved to be unfair in another significant way. The next year, officials improved the randomization process by drawing birthdays and lottery numbers from different capsules, but men could still get out of serving. The whole city had been leveled [in 1968], and it has been totally rebuilt.". But many faced challenges back home, and some still do today. Overlooked because of 'medal quotas' 50 years ago, the courage of three young men who saved the lives of Australian soldiers during the Vietnam War has finally been recognised. 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