Vietnam War Interviews
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Vietnam War Interviews
Steve Allen joined the Marine Corps in 1968. He served as an infantry officer in South Vietnam with C Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, completing his tour in the fall of 1970. Allen’s unit was based in Da Nang, South Vietnam. He says his faith as a Christian not only grew while he was in combat, but it helped keep himself and his men alive, and led him to a career as a counselor after the war.
Jearl 'Buck' Ballow was a member of Douglas MacArthur's GHQ staff in Tokyo from 1950 through 1953. Completing high school, he then returned to the Army in 1955, eventually becoming a Warrant Officer and CID agent in the mid-1960s. He was on the floor of the 1968 Democratic Convention, then was shipped to Okinawa, spending several years there fighting the island's drug epidemic.
In an attempt to avoid going straight to Vietnam during the war, Bartolotti signed up for the Marine Corps. However, once he completed basic training in San Diego, California, Bartolotti ended up flying straight to Da Nang, South Vietnam. He was assigned to the 1st Marine Division, 7th Regiment, 3rd Battalion. He shares stories about his rigorous training, his grenade-inflicted injury, and the immense culture shock he experienced not only after he landed in Vietnam for the first time, but when he finally came back home from the war as well.
Kermit Bell was born and raised in Calhoun County, Illinois, and was drafted following graduation from high school in 1946. He attended the United States Military Academy from 1948 to 1952, and following further training as an artillery officer, his first assignment was in South Korea, immediately following the war. Follow-on assignments included tours at the Artillery School, in Germany, and at the East Tennessee State University ROTC program. He served as a deputy base commander in South Vietnam from 1967 to 1968, earning four Bronze Stars.
Thomas Boaz discusses how, during a year he spent abroad in Nuremburg, Germany, he came to the decision to be a non-combative conscientious objector and what it meant to him to be a nonpolitical pacifist. His status as a non-combative conscientious objector offers a unique perspective of the Vietnam War, the protests, and the draft.
David Bone served as a platoon leader for a Marine reconnaissance platoon in South Vietnam through most of 1966. He saw action on his very first mission, and plenty of his missions thereafter, including a famous action at Howard's Hill (Hill 488) in June, 1966. He later attended the U.S. Navy's dive school in the Philippines before returning to Vietnam, where he the worked as a diver for a short time. David grew up in Jacksonville, Illinois, and prior to his wartime tour of duty, played center on the Northwestern University basketball team during a heyday for Big 10 basketball.
Major General John Borling was the deputy director of operations at STRACOS, Headquarters, Strategic Air Command (SAC) at Offutt Air Force Base, in Nebraska, during Operation Desert Storm (First Gulf War) in January, 1991. General Borling was instrumental in coordinating SAC's role in Desert Storm into the larger air war. Both SAC B-52s and air refuelers were involved in the Desert Storm air campaign. He discusses SAC's role in Operation Desert Storm in detail.
Randy Boschulte was born and raised in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and attended college and received his officer's commission in 1967 from Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended the Ordnance Officer Basic Course, and after a couple of state-side tours, served in South Vietnam in 1969-70. Following his return, Randy stayed in the Army until he was RIFed (reduction in force) in 1978. He joined the U.S. Army Reserve a few years later, and by 1985 was working full time for the USAR, with a wide variety of postings over the years until he retired in 1993.
Ron Botz grew up the son of a WW II combat pilot and career officer. He knew from an early age he wanted to fly, and he got his opportunity by flying helicopters for the U.S. Army. He arrived in South Vietnam in February of 1968, and flew scores of combat missions in UH-1 Hueys with the 4th Aviation Battalion, 4th Infantry Division. Botz also discusses his career following his tour in Vietnam, first as a civilian, followed by service in the IL Army National Guard beginning in 1973, and ending as a Brigadier General in 2005.
Tom Bowman, from Springfield, Illinois, was drafted into the Army in May, 1968. Following Basic Training he received additional training as a Medical Records Specialist. He arrived in South Vietnam in December, 1968 and was assigned to the 44th Medical Brigade, which was headquartered at Nha Trang. He performed a variety of tasks including assisting in triage, ambulance driver, accompanying teams going to the field on MEDCAPs (Medical Civil Action Program), and escorting psychiatric patients. He worked in the 6th Convalescent Hospital in Cam Ranh Bay when it was attacked by Viet Cong sappers. Bowman discusses his tour in detail, including R
Four Vietnam era survivors share their personal stories about the Vietnam War and the way it ended. Tom Bowman and Tom Jones were veterans of the war. Bowman shared his vivid memories of returning to the United States, and Tom Jones discussed the difficulties he experienced adjusting to civilian life once back home. Both Patrick Lam and Pham Thien Khac were Vietnamese boat people. Mr. Pham served in the South Vietnamese Army, and after the fall of Vietnam spent a year in a reeducation camp. Patrick was a young boy in 1979 when he escaped the country. The evening started with an excerpt of a PBS documentary entitled 'Last Days in Vietnam' followed by the panel discussion.
Originally born in North Vietnam, the son of a Catholic family, Bon Bui and his family fled North Vietnam in 1954 after the communists took power and Vietnam was divided at the 17th parallel at the 1954 Geneva Conference. Bui joined the South Vietnamese Army, graduated from the Vietnamese National Military Academy in 1966, and later spent two years in the United States attending Marine Corps military training. He was injured during the Tet Offensive of 1968. After the North's victory in 1975, Bui became a prisoner of war, and was finally released in 1985. He was eventually granted refugee status in 1990 and came to the United States with his family.
Gary Burgard was working as an instructor pilot in Jacksonville, Illinois prior to his induction into the U.S. Army in the mid 1960s. By April, 1968 he was serving in South Vietnam as an infantry sergeant with the 9th Infantry Division near Saigon. He then was transferred to a MACV (Military Assistance Command-Vietnam) team south of Saigon near the Mekong delta. Burgard was injured by enemy fire twice, and later received the Bronze Star Medal,and the Army Commendation Medal for heroism. He returned to the United States in March, 1969.
Raymon (Jay) Castro grew up in the Mississippi River town of Savanah, Illinois, the son of Mexican immigrant parents. Jay excelled in athletics in high school, then enlisted in the Navy in 1966, becoming a frogman (the precursor to the Navy SEALs). In late 1967-early 1968 he participated in operations off the coast of northern South Vietnam. Castro returned to Vietnam in mid-1969, this time serving for fifteen months on a river patrol boat in South Vietnam's delta region. During that tour Castro was wounded once and received two bronze stars. After his service in Vietnam, Castro became an artist, and also joined a SEAL Team in the U.S. Navy Reserves.
Connie Edwards grew up in Birmingham, Alabama during the height of the civil rights movement in the city, and was involved with several marches and protests while still a young girl. She then earned her nursing degree from Tuskegee University and immediately was commissioned as a U.S. Army nurse. Following her initial military training and an assignment stateside, Connie was sent to South Vietnam in August, 1967 and was assigned to the 24th Evacuation Hospital stationed north of Saigon. She spent the next year working with a steady flow of wounded, both American and South Vietnamese.
In conjunction with the debut of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's ten-part documentary on the Vietnam War in 2017, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Illinois Public Media/WILL-TV co-sponsored a panel discussion with Vietnam War era nurse Connie Edwards, draft resister Timothy Kendall, Vietnamese boat person Patrick Lam and MAC-V advisor and engineer officer John Raschke. The program began with the airing of a short excerpt from the documentary, followed by a moderated discussion and questions from the audience.
Sergeant Richard Friemel served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970 with the U.S. Air Force, working as an aircraft mechanic. Assigned to the 366th Fighter Wing, he worked primarily on piston engines and serviced propeller driven airplanes. The 366th Fighter Wing was stationed at Pleiku and Da Nang while Friemel was in-country.
Born in 1954, Ut Ha remembers growing up in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, and also remembers the assassination of President Ngô Đình Diệm in November, 1963 as well as the assassination's aftermath. She was a young girl at the time of the Communists' Tet Offensive of 1968. Ha discusses her life after the Communists gained control of the country in 1975. She eventually left Vietnam in 1990 and came to the United States with her husband, Bon Bui.
Terry Hairrell served as an infantryman in Vietnam with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade from late 1967 to 1969, and was stationed at Chu Lai, South Vietnam. During the Tet Offensive, Hairrell was part of Company A, then was transferred to Charlie Company, where he became a squad leader. He was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded by friendly fire in an incident that also killed one of his sergeants. When he came back to the United States in the 1970s he went to college at Western Illinois University but also struggled to deal with his combat experiences, which led him to drugs and alcohol. He says that meeting his wife in 1975 saved him. He has since reunited with some of his war buddies who continue to struggle with PTSD.
Richard Hertel served as a personnel clerk in the 520th Transportation Battalion in Phu Loi, South Vietnam and as a chapel organist in Cu Chi, South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. While Hertel did not experience combat in Vietnam, he witnessed the effects of drug use and prostitution on the base of Phu Loi and during rest and relaxation leave in Thailand. On the plane ride home from the war he had a revelation. He realized his life had been saved, and he had to make the most of it. At first, this meant going to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and doing his best for his wife and daughter. Later in life, this meant being true to himself as a gay man.
Ken Jobe served as an engineer officer during the height of the Cold War, including the tense days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He pulled a tour in peacetime Korean with the 44th Engineer Battalion, and served with B Company, 577th Engineer Battalion in Vietnam, seeing action along the often contested Route One, along the South China Sea.
Tom Jones grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and enlisted in the Navy in 1965. After training as a Navy Corpsman (medic), he was shipped to South Vietnam in June, 1967 and was assigned to a Marine Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol. He spent his tour on extended patrols deep behind enemy lines in central South Vietnam. Following his return to the U.S., he struggled to adjust back to normal life, and eventually counselled other returning G.I.s. He wrote a book based on his experiences entitled "Lost Survivor."
Timothy Kendall had registered for the draft, but over time and while a student at Notre Dame University he came to believe that participating in the war in any capacity was wrong. He never registered as a conscientious objector and refused to report for duty when he was drafted. Committed to pacifism, he turned himself in to authorities and spent two years in prison.
Daniel Kennedy served in the U.S. Army as an air cavalry officer from 1969 to 1976 during the Vietnam War. Kennedy earned an ROTC commission after being enrolled at Washington and Jefferson College. Following his initial officer training at Ft. Knox, he served as a unit adjutant in the United States, making phone calls to soldiers and telling them when they were going to be shipped to Vietnam. Kennedy never went to Vietnam himself, as his orders to go were rescinded. He experienced survivor’s guilt until the moment his son was born in 1982.
Terry Knox served as an M551 Sheridan light tank driver in Vietnam in 1970-1971, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Squadron. The unit conducted patrols near the demilitarized zone with North Vietnam, participating in both mounted and dismounted patrols. After a few months in country, Knox had the opportunity to attend a Bob Hope USO show in Phu Bai, and after his in-country R
Joe LaHood joined the Marine Corps at the age of seventeen. In December of 1969, LaHood was sent to LZ Ross, South Vietnam, a landing zone south of Da Nang, and was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. He worked in the unit's supply section and also periodically went on night patrols. Following the war, he attended Bradley University, and starting in 1973 he began years of therapy to help him deal with the more traumatic memories that he had repressed from his experiences in Vietnam. In the process, LaHood rediscovered his Catholic faith and became a deacon for three different churches.
Patrick Lam was born in Saigon, South Vietnam in 1972 with the birth name of Phat Tan Bui. In 1979, his family made the desperate decision to send him with a group of relatives who were attempting to escape the country. Patrick was adopted by his uncle, said goodbye to his mother and siblings, and escaped on a fishing boat crammed with 200 boat people. After a harrowing week at sea, they encountered an oil rig and jumped into the ocean in order to be rescued. From there, the family was sent to tiny Kuku Island for several months where they essentially fended for themselves, then to Galang, Indonesia, and finally to San Francisco in 1980.
Paul Lambert grew up in Jacksonville, Illinois before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1969. He arrived in Vietnam in August, 1969 and worked in a CAP (Combined Action Program) platoon, participating in almost daily combat patrols in Qaung Ngai province of South Vietnam. He contracted malaria late during his year in Vietnam, and spent the rest of his military service working as a Military Policeman aboard the USS Austin, cruising in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Lemons was sent to South Vietnam, landing in Cam Ranh Bay in September of 1969 as an E5. Lemons comments on the selectivity and bias of media coverage during the war, and how the news only seemed to care about the numbers of the dead. He also laments the country’s lack of support for the soldiers in Vietnam at the time. However, over the past five years Lemons has observed a drastic change in the public’s treatment of war veterans, and he welcomes these positive reactions after the more hostile reception he encountered over forty years ago. Lemons’ combat experiences left him with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Bill Martin joined the U.S. Army on December 13, 1965. Within a year he shipped out on the USS Barrett from Oakland, California to Quy Nhon, South Vietnam. He served as a forward observer with an infantry unit, calling is artillery fire in support of their operations. He spend most of his time at LZ Tom, an artillery fire base in northern South Vietnam near Highway 1. After 18 months in Vietnam, he was hit in the leg with mortar shrapnel, and was shipped home. Since the war, Martin has participated in numerous veteran organizations, as well as projects that continue to aid and celebrate American war veterans. One of these projects was the creation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Springfield, Illinois.
Dennis Metzger grew up in Indiana in a family with strong Church of the Brethren beliefs. Because of that, he was eligible to request conscientious objector status when he became eligible for the draft in 1968. Dennis felt called, instead, to serve in Vietnam, and after receiving training at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Maryland, he spent the next five years in northern South Vietnam helping farmers develop irrigation projects for their villages. In 1973 he married a South Vietnamese women he had met at a Christian church in Tam Ky, and they spent the next year living in Taiwan. They returned to the U.S. in 1975.
John Metzger shipped over to Vietnam in January of 1969 where he was assigned support command to assist a Catholic priest at the compound Camp Granite in Qui Nhơn, South Vietnam until January of 1970. As a chaplain’s assistant, Metzger accompanied the priest on outings to other military locations in Vietnam. His duties ranged from serving at mass or helping the priest administer the last rites for fallen soldiers.
John Moulton started his military career as an enlisted man in the U.S. Air Force in 1967, and served in Okinawa and South Korea during the Vietnam War. He left the Air Force after his tour and started a long career as a civil servant in Illinois. In 1980 he returned to the military, this time earning a commission and joining the U.S. Army Reserve. He deployed as a civil affairs officer to Bosnia in 1997-98, and deployed to Iraq in 2004-05, this time as a colonel, serving as Chief of the National Civil-Military Operations Center and Asst. Chief of Operations, Reconstruction Operations Center. He reflects extensively on both of these deployments, and on the successes and frustrations associated with civil affairs work.
Charles 'Chuck' Murphy was drafted into the U.S. Army in November, 1966, and following his Basic Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, was trained as a cook and assigned to Ft. Riley, Kansas. In February, 1968 he was sent to South Vietnam, in the midst of the Tet Offensive. Chuck was first assigned to the 27th Regiment (Wolfhounds) of the 25th Infantry Division, then to the 1st Battalion, 63rd Engineers. He returned to the United States in November, 1968 at the conclusion of his tour of service.
Eddy Nicklaus served with the Marines in South Vietnam in 1965. In 1982, he joined a Rock Falls, Illinois National Guard unit and in 1990 the 1644th Transportation Company was mobilized during the build-up for Desert Shield/Desert Storm. The unit drove into the western deserts of Iraq in support of U.S. ground troops.
James F. Perry Jr. is the son of a Korean War veteran (see his father's interview in the Korean War collection) who grew up as an army brat at military bases in Germany and throughout the United States. In 1966 a judge in Iowa strongly suggested that he should join the army. Perry scored well on tests he took in Basic Training, and he then attended the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course. He arrived in South Vietnam in September, 1968, and served his entire one year tour as a platoon leader for a searchlight platoon, which had sections deployed throughout the III Corp area of South Vietnam. Perry also shares his experiences with readjusting to civilian life after his return to the states.
Pham Thien Khoc was born in 1944 and grew up in South Vietnam during a time of war. He was drafted into the Army in 1967, and was trained as an engineer officer, being commissioned in December, 1967. Pham served with the 10th Engineer Regiment in northern South Vietnam, where he was stationed in 1973 at the time of the Paris Peace Accords. In 1975, when South Vietnam fell to the Communists, he fled to a remote area of the countryside and hid out until he was captured by government officials. He spend the next year in a brutal reeducation camp until his health broke and he was unable to work. He was then released, but with strict limitations. For the next year he was frequently harassed by the authorities, and forced to do community work for them.
Bill Phillips grew up as the son of teachers in Chenoa, Illinois. In 1969, following his first year of teaching in Pontiac, he was drafted, and soon received training as a medic. Assigned to the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam, Phillips spent time with an armored battalion, then was transferred to a medical evacuation unit, where he rode to the evacuation of countless American casualties. He finished his time in Vietnam serving as a company medic in an Infantry unit. That unit participated in the invasion of Cambodia. During R and R in Hawaii, Phillips contracted malaria, and spent the rest of his tour working as a clerk at the Tripler Army Medical Center.
Roger Poszgai joined the U.S. Army in 1962, beginning his career repairing Nike Hercules missiles in California and Germany. In 1966 he switched his specialty to maintenance of medical equipment, and by September of 1967 he was newly married and assigned to the 32nd Medical Depot at Qui Nhon, South Vietnam. His tour included the Tet Offensive, when the village was attacked by Viet Cong.
Gary Price joined the Marine Corps in 1971. By 1975, he had completed flight training and had become a pilot. He supported the evacuation of U.S. personnel from South Vietnam in 1975. Following this assignment, Price returned to the United States, where he became involved in developing Marine aviation tactics in the 1980s. In August of 1990, Lieutenant Colonel Price led his unit, HMM-161, into Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield. In early 1991, Price's unit was involved in Operation Desert Storm and the liberation of Kuwait.
Pete Rafferty was born and raised in Springfield, Illinois, the son of a coal miner who died at a young age. In 1963 he achieved his childhood dream by enlisting in the Marines. Following his training he was assigned to the 1st Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division. By July, 1965 the unit deployed to South Vietnam, where Rafferty served as a communications and radio operator during numerous combat patrols. He contracted a severe case of malaria late that year and was medevaced home.
Joseph Rank served as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1969 to 1989, including a tour on the USS Swenson, a WW II vintage destroyer off the shore of Vietnam from March through September of 1970. He returned to the waters off Vietnam in 1972, this time with the USS England, a guided missile cruiser. Following these tours, Lieutenant Rank became a Naval ROTC instructor and also worked on a masters degree at the University of Illinois. Rank emphasizes the confidence and leadership skills he gained from the Navy.
John S. Raschke grew up on a farm near Geneseo, Illinois, and enlisted in the Army in 1966. While in training to become a medic, he volunteered to attend the Engineer branch's Officer Candidate School. Following language training, he served in the Mekong Delta region of South Vietnam as an advisor, assigned to MAC-V (Military Advisory Command-Vietnam). Raschke spent 1969-1970 advising South Vietnamese army units on engineering and infantry issues, becoming immersed with their culture and way of life.
Randall Richardson served as an infantry platoon leader with the 101st Airborne Division from February of 1969 to October of 1971 in South Vietnam west of Huế. He recalls instances of firing on a small group of Montagnards, tensions between officers and enlisted men, racism in the Army and receiving a life-threatening note in his dopp kit. Richardson remembers the shock of his R and R trip to Hawaii, where he realized that many Americans lived as if there was no war going on. He also talks about the restrictions that were placed on the American troops. Richardson believes the military was not allowed to win the war; however, he says he is proud that he served.
Robert Ritter served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War from July 1967 to January 1969. While assigned to the USS
Gary Sigler was serving as a navigator/co-pilot on an RF-4 (Reconnaissance) Phantom flying his ninety-second mission in April 1967 when his plane crashed near Hanoi, North Vietnam. (The pilot had taken evasive actions to avoid a surface-to-air missile.) He spent the next six years as a prisoner of war in the Hanoi Hilton, surviving torture, brutal interrogation and many months of solitary confinement. As the years progressed, the prisoners were occasionally visited by outsiders, mostly by individuals or groups who were opposed to the war. In March 1973, following the Paris Peace Accords Sigler was released. Not until 2000 did he experience any symptoms of PTSD.
Ed Smith was a career army infantryman serving with the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division in Korea from 1952 to 1953. He saw action both at Koje-Do Island and the front line. He stayed in the Army, and in 1969 pulled a year long tour in Vietnam with the 25th Division near Cambodia. He retired shortly after this tour.
As a young boy of ten Morrie Smith began wearing a POW braclet for Captain John Borling, who was shot down over North Vietnam in 1966. He faithfully wore it for the next three years until he discovered Captain Borling had been released. (He learned of that by seeing Borling's photo in the newspaper.) In 2016, Morrie had the opportunity to meet General Borling when the General gave a presentation at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
Bill Spriggs was drafted into the United States Army in November of 1965. He received his basic training at Ft. Hood, Texas. In July, 1966, Bill's division was slated for deployment to Vietnam. During his tour in Vietnam, Bill served as an 11B-Infantryman which consisted of daily foot patrols in search of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese regulars.
Bruce Thiemann enlisted in the Army in 1968, and following his training as a helicopter mechanic, he was sent to Vietnam and assigned to B Troop, 7th Squadron of the 1st Air Cavalry Regiment, based at Vĩnh Long, South Vietnam. Thiemann volunteered to serve as a door gunner and then as a crew chief on UH-1H Huey helicopters. As crew chief, he insured the ship was properly maintained, armed, gassed up, with the logbook kept up to date. He assisted his aircraft commanders with insertion missions, dropping off and picking up infantry troops in the Mekong Delta region of South Vietnam, as well as near the Cambodian border.
Randy Thomas served as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 5th Special Forces Group in the I-Corps sector of South Vietnam from May, 1968 to May of 1969. For the first seven months he was assigned to a Special Forces A-team which supported company sized Vietnamese units as they conducted patrols. He spent the remainder of his tour working on a Special Forces B-team as the unit S-5, Psychological Officer. Upon the completion of his tour he returned to Illinois, earned a teaching certificate, and worked at Hillsboro High School while also serving in the Illinois Army National Guard as an infantry officer. In 2003 he became Illinois's Adjutant General.
Carol Albrecht and Bob Tyler were married in 1968 after Bob completed his Marine Corps basic training. Within a year, Bob was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and headed to flight school. For the next three decades the two forged a strong marriage despite the frequent moves and long separations that are typical of military families. Carol earned her BA degree in 1971, and following the birth and early childhood for their two children, Carol was able to teach at most of Bob's duty stations. She earned her MA degree shortly after Bob's retirement. Carol reflects on her experiences as a Marine Corps officer's wife with candor and insight, painting a detailed picture of that life.
Robert (Bob) Tyler dropped out of college in 1967 and joined the Marines with dreams of flying. His plans were initially derailed, but he eventually earned both a Lieutenant's commission and his wings. By late 1970 he was flying a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter over South Vietnam, with his unit based at Marble Mountain near Da Nang. Over the next 27 years Tyler made the Marines his life, moving the family frequently as he progressed from challenge to challenge. Tours included command of a KC-130 Hercules squadron, and an assignment at Marine Corps Headquarters during the First Iraq War. Tyler retired from the Marines as a full Colonel (with a Ph.D. in Psychology), in 1997.
Sandy Vasko grew up in Lockport, Illinois, part of a colorful extended family. In 1967 she left college and eloped with a high school beau, George Rolowicz. The couple lived in Charleston, South Carolina until George was drafted into the Army. After his basic training, the couple spent time in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma until he deployed to South Vietnam. According to Sandy, he came back a changed man, often angry and very jealous. Sandy left him after he beat her a second time. She left Charleston and returned to the Chicago area. George and Sandy eventually divorced, and Sandy later married a friend she had met while George was in Vietnam.
JoAnn Griffith married Roy Wehrle in August, 1959 and the couple soon shipped out to Laos, where Roy served with the State Department. JoAnn discusses what her life was like serving as a representative of the United States in a third world country. In 1964 she accompanied Roy to South Vietnam, and was there until 1967. Their daughter was born in Saigon in 1967. JoAnn was twice evacuated to Bangkok, Thailand, once from Laos and once from South Vietnam as the Vietnam War grew more intense.
Leroy (Roy) Wehrle earned a Ph.D. in economics in 1959 from Yale University, then joined the U.S. State Department. He served on President Kennedy's Council of Economic Advisors before he and his wife were sent to Laos where he worked for the Agency for International Development. In 1964 he was sent to Vietnam and served as an economic advisor to three U.S. ambassadors until 1967, while also serving as the Assistant Director of the aid mission.
Jerome Wiese served as a medic with Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 21st Infantry, 23rd ‘Americal’ Division during the Vietnam War. As a medic, he went on patrols, tended to wounded soldiers, served as a first responder and also delivered mail. Wiese reflects on his experiences in Duc Pho, South Vietnam, drug use in the military, the enemy they faced and what it was like to lose someone in battle. He went over to fight communism, but soon changed his perspective, instead aiming only to survive. He reflects on the strong bonds of friendship he formed with those he served with in Vietnam. Wiese served from July 17, 1970 to May 1, 1972.
Paul Wisovaty went to Vietnam on December 30, 1967 where he served as an RTO (Radio Telephone Operator) with the 3rd Squadron, 5th US Cavalry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division operating in the I Corps sector near North Vietnam. He discusses how the focus of the soldiers was to protect the man next to him rather than to free the Vietnamese. Following his tour in June, 1968, he attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, and participated in anti-war protests. Following graduation, he joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.