His war is here at home. Agent Orange contained several toxic compounds, including dioxin and 2,4,5-T. By 1979, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had banned the use of these compounds because of concerns that they were harmful to humans and animals. Coming Home: Vietnam Veterans in American Society "I was exposed to dioxin from the Agent Orange that was sprayed all throughout the delta," Congressional Medal of Honor winner Sam Davis told Clark Dougan and Stephen Weiss in The American Experience in Vietnam. Long Time Passing: Vietnam and the Haunted Generation. Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA). Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1984. Starr, Paul. Books were written and movies were made but often they focused on the dark side, not the hundreds of thousands who did their duty and served with pride. I was given command of a three-man 60mm mortar squad in the 3rd Marine Division’s Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. Vietnam – Returning Home South Dakotan’s in Vietnam ... the trip to Vietnam, being in the field, helicopter and aircraft stories, support groups, the Vietnamese, and their general thoughts on the war and the country. Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS) A set of psychological problems that are caused by exposure to a dangerous or disturbing situation, such as combat. tour 365. First of all, even though I was a new guy, I was promoted to corporal soon after I arrived in-country in January 1967. LANGUAGE: Vietnamese Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html. During that year, on board PCF 76, we would patrol along the coast and rivers of South Vietnam. Nguyen Van Thieu . "The heroes' welcome given to the 591 men freed in early 1973 was made into a kind of strange substitute for the victory parade Americans would never have," Arnold R. Isaacs writes in Vietnam Shadows: The War, Its Ghosts, and Its Legacy. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates. . Premier of North Vietnam, 1955–75, and of the reunited Socialist Republic of Vietnam, 1975–86 The U.S. military sprayed herbicides over large areas of the Vietnamese countryside during the war. The Discarded Army. This was especially rewarding. Help was slow in coming or difficult to secure. New York: Free Press, 1974. Confronted with reactions of indifference, fear, or anger, some veterans kept their wartime experiences to themselves. Ng…, North Vietnamese political leader Its about the soldiers and their families who get torn apart and impacted by the horrors of Vietnam War. My tour of duty in Vietnam ended in August of 1972. An Associated Press story of April 9 reported stories of spat-upon Vietnam veterans surfacing in several cities including Spicer, Minnesota whose mayor said he was spat upon in the San Francisco airport while coming home from Vietnam in 1971. probably a nightmare. Many of the young men who fought in Vietnam had a great deal of difficulty readjusting to life in the United States. By the 1980s, however, many Americans began to change their views of Vietnam veterans. The stories, mostly about the experience of coming home from war, will air on North Coast public radio station KHSU on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Military leaders wanted to clear thick stands of jungle and forest where they believed enemy forces might be hiding. Such doubts were very hard on veterans, because they made it seem as if their sacrifices in Vietnam had been meaningless. Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Bringing the War Home: The American Soldier in Vietnam andAfter. If there is a lesson to be learned, it is a simple one, politicians make war, soldiers simply follow orders. COMING HOME. to the safety and comfort of home so quickly made it more difficult for them to make sense of the danger and misery they experienced in Vietnam. War stories: Vietnam War journalists share examples of courage ... a coming of age for a generation with bipolar views about the war. This effort was primarily driven by government entities with some private charitable support. But many other veterans began to question the war and their own actions in it. In 1977, Vietnam veterans formed several groups in order to inform the American people about their illnesses and to try to raise money for research and support. ... Coming Home from Vietnam. He called his parents from San Francisco. Recommended Stories. Encyclopedias almanacs transcripts and maps, Coming Home: Vietnam Veterans in American Society. Even people who supported American military involvement in Vietnam did not always support the returning veterans. For example, they had high rates of skin rashes, nerve disorders, birth defects, and cancer. Real Stories. Over time, measured not in years but decades, help became available. People on both sides respected their views and took them seriously. I have a friend I'd like to bring home with me." But many faced challenges back home, and some still do today. Our crew was fortunate, as we built new lives for which we are most thankful. Included along the way were those individuals who had served, suffered and died in Southeast Asia. Returning When the American soldiers returned home from World War II in 1945, they were greeted as heroes in the United States. In fact, 25 percent of the American soldiers who saw combat in Vietnam were arrested on criminal charges within ten years of coming home, most for drug-related offenses. Retrieved December 19, 2020 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/coming-home-vietnam-veterans-american-society. "Black people would say there was no reason for a black man to be there," veteran Robert L. Young notes in Vietnam Shadows. Vo Nguyen Giap Some Vietnam veterans thought that Americans who had fought in earlier wars might be more helpful than other people. Regretfully, for many veterans who served, this was not the case. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993. This amount was barely enough to cover living expenses, let alone enable the veterans to continue their educations. South Vietnamese military and political leader; president of the Republic of Vietnam, 1967–75 The veterans' groups also sued the manufacturers of Agent Orange. ... as it passed under the Golden Gate bridge in 1973, coming home from a tour of duty off the coast of Vietnam, who had eggs dropped upon him from above. "But they did not come home, as the Vietnam vets did, to a country torn and full of doubt about why those wars were fought and whether they had been worthwhile. For many Vietnam Veterans, much of the damage was done. Hometown boy deals with growing up fast. The stories that follow are not political, argumentative, intended to persuade or to imply my experiences were the same as others. I know, first hand, that many of America's warriors, and their families, are left in the dark when it comes to identifying and managing the dangers of coming home. My tour in Vietnam did not get off to an auspicious start. To veterans everywhere, “Thank You for Your Service.”. New York: Charterhouse, 1974. regret about the death and destruction the war had caused the Vietnamese people. Cities and towns across the country held parades to honor the returning veterans and recognize the sacrifices they had made. Many Vietnam veterans built successful lives after they returned home from the war. They believed that they had done their duty and fought bravely for a good cause. Regretfully, these events did not include those Vietnam Veterans who had also served with honor four decades before. "One of their signs read, 'We've already given enough.' But many veterans of earlier wars seemed to look down on Vietnam veterans because they did not win the Vietnam War. We were not … Unlike previous wars, when it usually took weeks for soldiers to be discharged and transported home, U.S. soldiers often returned from Vietnam within two days. When the American soldiers returned home from World War II in 1945, they were greeted as heroes in the United States. In addition, VA hospitals and doctors did not do well in treating veterans with PTSS. It was one of the few issues on which supporters and opponents of the war could agree. They suffered from symptoms including depression, guilt, flashbacks, nightmares, mood swings, angry outbursts, anxiety, and paranoia. When the POWs were released in early 1973 with the signing of a peace agreement, they were greeted as heroes across the United States. After all, most protesters had not been to Vietnam. "There has really never been anyone who has asked me: 'What happened to you over there? But his life changes when he witnesses dead young men coming home wrapped in US flag getting buried in War Cemetary. Gardens of Stone is a moving tragic anti war drama that'll touch your heart. But the homecoming was very different for most Vietnam veterans. "Coming Home: Vietnam Veterans in American Society In addition, many veterans thought that the antiwar movement should blame the government officials who had sent them to Vietnam, because as soldiers they had only followed orders. Beginning in 1964, the NVA held American POWs in several prison camps in North Vietnam. "When you first get back, you don't think about it much. Did That Actually Happen. He squared off against Henry Kiss…, Quang Ngai province, Vietnam The Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000. (An account of a soldier coming home from the Vietnam War, 1971) Chick Evens, still alive coming home from the Vietnam War, 1971, wasn't the first war hero to finally straggle back to St. Paul, Minnesota. These chemicals included tear gas, smoke screens, napalm (a highly flammable form of jellied gasoline), and herbicides (chemicals used to kill plants or prevent their growth). Then you begin to wonder why no one asks the questions. My Vietnam We may not have been captured, but we were captive—restricted to a fire support base as our lives dragged along second by second. You were a veteran. He was just the one my father and mother bothered to tell me about, when we met him at the airport. "Most of the things that are wrong with me today, except for my back problem, can be attributed to dioxin. Some people who opposed American involvement in the Vietnam War treated U.S. soldiers and veterans poorly. Within the pages of this unique book, Veterans from each branch of service share their stories about their lives before, during, and after Vietnam. He called his parents from San Francisco. In addition, many veterans went from the jungles of Vietnam to their hometowns so quickly that they did not have time to adjust. Banners were hung over highways by friends and family welcoming the returning warriors. Then, something unique began to happen, and soon it was becoming commonplace. Veteran's Story | Coming home unscathed from Vietnam. They were kept in miserable living conditions and often endured torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese. Many people started to feel Even though they had not accomplished all of the U.S. goals, they still felt proud of their service to their country. : ADefinitive History of the American Prisoner-of-War Experience in Vietnam, 1964–1973. If you are a veteran, know a veteran, or are related to a veteran, and would like to place a personal story on the Online Veterans Tribute, please mail it to: American Veterans Center 1100 N. Glebe Rd. North Vietnamese military leader Partly because it had spent so much money conducting the war, the government offered veterans only $200 per month. Our boat, PCF 76 was destroyed in heavy weather. Many of the deferments (official postponements of military service) granted to young men to avoid serving in Vietnam favored those who were wealthy and well-educated. Moose Marcinkowski, Rick Williams,Tom Fleming, John Kelly, Pat Eastes, Bill Hull. As waves of Vietnam veterans returned home in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the nation was locked in a bitter debate about the war. Some desperate veterans turned to crime or drugs to earn money. Vietnam War Veterans share a common bond. They refused to discuss Vietnam with anyone but other veterans, because no one else seemed to understand or care. Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. The men appeared at numerous rallies and ceremonies attended by top government officials. The heated arguments within the United States over military involvement in Vietnam kept most people from welcoming the veterans or recognizing their service. ", Most veterans felt proud of their service to their country in Vietnam, yet many also had some doubts about the war and their own actions in it. As it turned out, about 250,000 Vietnam veterans were unable to find jobs when their military service ended. population. DOVER — At a living history event held at the Strand Theater on Sunday, two Vietnam War veterans sat down and told their stories, as much as they were willing to tell.The Vietnam … Banners were hung over highways by friends and family welcoming the returning warriors. In an article in the New York Times Magazine on March 24, 1968, reporter Sol Stern observed, "In Vietnam between 1961 and 1964, Negroes accounted for more than 20 percent of Army fatalities, even though they represented only 12.6 percent of Army personnel in Vietnam" and even less in the general U.S. This was tempered by esprit de corps and camaraderie. Ignoring the plight of thousands of veterans is not something any of us should be proud of. By Joe McGinniss. Drug addiction continued to be a problem among veterans when they returned home. PRONUNCIATION: vee-et-nuh-MEEZ In the decades that followed, little changed for many Vietnam Vets. Student protests put into bold relief the contrast between the experiences of the two groups. Probably just as many others had mild forms of PTSS that were not diagnosed. ", Some Vietnam veterans became active in the antiwar movement when they returned to the United States. At times the stories were depressing as well as aggravating. The U.S. military used a wide range of chemicals to aid troops in combat during the Vietnam War. Soon after, the prisoners of war began to come home. Life struggles, flashbacks and nightmares were all too common among these veterans. In the later years of the conflict, veterans were among the most effective activists opposing the war. Often, this was accompanied by a handshake. Most of the nearly 600 Americans who became POWs were pilots whose planes were shot down during bombing missions over North Vietnam. Vietnam War Reference Library. Unlike today, there was no “Welcome Home” or “Thank you for your service.” There were no handshakes, no flags unfurled, or smiles of recognition. Real People. Veteran's Story. Greetings took place at far-flung airports in the middle of the night as returning troops touched down. African American veterans were particularly affected by doubts about their military service. When and where you served was not a qualifying factor. After all, veterans of World War II (1939–45) and the Korean War (1950–53) understood what combat was like. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was identified and treatment became available. Stories from people like you help this site grow. In 1985, Newsweek reported that "America's Vietnam veterans, once viewed with a mixture of indifference and outright hostility by their countrymen, are now widely regarded as national heroes.". While people may not have supported military action, they did support the troops, now men and women, especially upon their return home. “Mom and Dad, I’m coming home, but I have a favor to ask. It's like having a whole year of your life that didn't exist," veteran Jamie Bryant told Isaacs in Vietnam Shadows. The following year, the U.S. government agreed to provide another $1 billion for research into the health effects of the wartime chemical use. Cities and towns across the country held parades to honor the returning veterans and recognize the sacrifices they had made. We expected few greetings upon our return, which, outside of our families, was all we received. But these deferments were not available to students who had to work their way through college on a part-time basis. A story is told about a soldier who was finally coming home after having fought in Vietnam. Our crew of six was young. Memories of a time long ago, but never forgotten. There were no victory parades or welcome-home rallies. The cold reception the veterans got from many Americans left them feeling different and alone. But it also meant that more veterans came home with serious, crippling injuries, such as amputated limbs and paralysis. Others had trouble feeling accepted by their friends and families. Unable to find relief from their physical pain and mental anguish, some Vietnam veterans decided to end their own lives. Coming Home. Doctors eventually gave this condition a name, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS), and recognized it as a real psychological illness. "The prisoners' goal had been to survive and protect their honor under brutal torture; if the nation's goals hadn't been achieved in Vietnam, then the POWs' record of bravery and endurance would have to do.". Just over 50 years ago as a junior officer, I arrived in Coronado California to meet my crew and begin three months of US Navy Swift Boat training. In addition, many American soldiers used hard drugs during their service in Vietnam. Still, there was no broad-based or national recognition of the sacrifices that these men and women, Vietnam Veterans, had made in the service of their country. But the homecoming was very different for most Vietnam veterans. They blamed America's political and military leaders for not coming up with a strategy that would allow them to win, or the American public for its lack of support. Young people, who were not even born during the Vietnam era, were comfortable with this message. They began to see that even if the war was wrong, most of the men who fought it were just ordinary guys doing their jobs. They fought together and returned home to build lives, families, and communities across the country. In fact, some veterans protested against the war once they returned to the United States. Hubbell, John, with Andrew Jones and Kenneth Y. Tomlinson. What was it like?' Most of the POWs were treated badly. "Ignoring the Vietnam vet was just one part of the more general phenomenon of ignoring the nation's entire, shattering, unhappy Vietnam experience in all of its aspects," David Levy writes in The Debate over Vietnam. "Sure," they replied, "we'd love to meet him." This type of reaction made many veterans feel alone and isolated from the rest of American society. But many other veterans had a tough time readjusting to life in the United States after they completed their military service. Studies have estimated that as many as 800,000 Vietnam veterans suffered from PTSS. Strangers, along with family, greeted them, small flags were held, handshakes and hugs were commonplace. The other passengers moved away from me—a reaction I noticed more and more in the months ahead. They believed that it was not fair for antiwar protesters to question their actions during the war. Physical scars were few. Strangers at Home: Vietnam Veterans since the War. leader; premier of South Vietnam, 1965–67 When an individual recognized that you were a veteran they said quite simply, “Thank You for Your Service.”. War History Online presents this guest article by Dan Daly. The country didn't give a [care] about the guys coming back, or what they'd gone through. One of the common herbicides used in Vietnam was called Agent Orange, after the orange stripe on the drums used to transport the chemical. I have a friend I’d like to bring home with me. Many Vietnam veterans also had trouble earning money and supporting themselves upon returning to the United States. New York: Praeger, 1980. I saw these challenges firsthand serving on the Board of the large New England Center for Veterans. John Kerry, a Vietnam veteran who later became a U.S. senator, remembered how he felt shortly after returning home from the war: "There I was, a week out of the jungle, flying from San Francisco to New York. The sad events shake his feelings about the war. The American Experience in Vietnam. Some veterans returned from Vietnam with severe physical disabilities or emotional problems. Instead, they had to depend on the U.S. government to provide them with treatment and rehabilitation. I was an Army Specialist 5 (E 5) stationed aboard the Army ship the USNS Corpus Christy Bay anchored in the Saigon River Delta in South Vietnam. Greene believed the tale was an urban legend. "Mom and Dad, I'm coming home, but I've a favor to ask. They finished their educations, established good careers, and had families. To my fellow Vietnam Veterans, I join in a hearty “Welcome Home”. N o one said "thank you." The POWs became one of the few sources of American pride in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. I fell asleep and woke up yelling, . In some instances, antiwar protesters reportedly spit on returning veterans and called them baby-killers. New York: Reader's Digest Press, 1976. For example, wealthy young men could afford to remain in college full-time—and even pursue advanced degrees following graduation—in order to qualify for student deferments. Veterans Coming Home is an innovative cross-platform public media campaign exploring “what works” for veterans as they return to civilian life — exploring the challenges, and celebrating the success stories, of veterans who are making a difference in the workplace, on campus, and in their communities. In 1967 alone, American planes sprayed 4.8 million gallons of herbicide and destroyed 1.2 million acres of forests and farmland. "For every guy who resists the draft one of us gotta go and he gets sent out into the boonies to get his backside shot at," veteran Steve Harper recalled after running into antiwar protesters in Chicago. (See box titled "Veterans Join the Fight against the War" in Chapter 8, "The American Antiwar Movement."). Probably the biggest reason many Vietnam veterans felt anger and resentment toward the antiwar protesters was that they came from different social classes. sympathy and even gratitude toward the veterans. Some struggled to overcome physical injuries, emotional problems, or drug addictions from their time in Vietnam. True? In contrast, many of the antiwar protesters were college students who came from middle- or upper-class families. A great urban myth, but wholly untrue. South Vietnamese military officer and political We share a bond, brothers in arms, proud of our service. Son Tay, Vietnam In WW2 this ship was a Navy sea plane tender. By 1971—when conflicts within the antiwar movement had reduced its effectiveness—Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) became one of the most important antiwar groups. New York: W. W. Norton, 1988. People who suffer from PTSS may have symptoms such as depression, flashbacks, nightmares, and angry outbursts. STILL COMING HOME FROM VIETNAM. Nor did they return as symbols of a great national failure.". Despite Sirota's contentions, Vietnam vets were a bit crushed coming home. 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