Vaccine hesitancy has a long history in the United States. For those of us who served, our experiences as soldiers was very similar in many respects to the soldiers who fought in other wars.”. The day before Saigon fell on April 30, 1975, the last two U.S. servicemen died in the Vietnam War. More than 60% of the names on the Vietnam Memorial belong to those who were 22 or younger when they died. About an hour later, he called me back at the hotel, and that was when we connected, 26 years later.” [Willie, it turns out, was in Chattanooga, Tenn.]. During the war, over 58,000 U.S. military members lost their lives and 153,000 were wounded. The Vietnam War was the longest and most unpopular war in which Americans ever fought. In the mid-1980s, African American veterans of the Vietnam War were twice as likely as White veterans to experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), at a prevalence of 40%. Five key legacies of the Vietnam War stand out as having shaped the nation -- and indeed, continue to do so today, writes Rudy deLeon. Individual cases disappear into the whole. Letters to the Editor: More billionaires should be like MacKenzie Scott and give away their fortunes. So going to war, I think, is one of those critical things that a president and Congress does. The first thought that came to mind was, Maybe I should have listened to my maintenance sergeant. And for some reason, I thought he was from Chicago. It’s hot and it's sticky. Jim Doyle in Di An, South Vietnam, 1st Infantry Division base camp, 1969 (left); Doyle today. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. I know I didn't believe what anybody told me about Vietnam before I went; it was something I had to go through myself. You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. Vietnam is something you have to experience firsthand to believe. Taken from John T. "Buzz"Noyes by John Lindquist: Buzz was born on International Women's Day, he was proud of that and always let people know, especially his girlfriends. And I was in my hotel room, and the phone rang, and it was my wife. But if you send me a letter addressed to Willie, I will forward it to him. And I bent down below the sandbags with just my head and my helmet peering over, and I peed my pants.”. Harman was drafted in 1967 and served in Vietnam in 1969, as a crew chief and door gunner on a “Huey” helicopter for the Army. More Exxon Mobil Rewards+™ points on qualified purchases, WW will help you build a customized weight loss plan, Guaranteed rate of return on an exclusive 8-month term. Vietnam, that was something that we just kind of wandered into over a period of years. Enforcement is a question. To the Editor: We, a group of Vietnam combat veterans currently in treatment, would like to comment on Joseph R. Kurtz Jr.'s Op-Ed article (March 10). Ten Woburn residents between the ages of 18 and 29 also died in the war. L.A. County on verge of becoming COVID-19 epicenter: ‘We are getting crushed’. That was an easy call. Some hotels and rental hosts may still be taking bookings that California has banned. Most vivid memory: being shot at for the first time, “I was on guard in a wooden tower on the front perimeter which faced Highway 1, which ran into Saigon about 30 miles south. On my first assault mission, my aircraft was badly shot up, but we didn’t go down. A man points to a name while visiting the Vietnam War Memorial on Veterans Day in Washington on Nov. 10, 2017. And when I speak of Agent Orange, about 4 million Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange, and several hundred thousand of them died, and many of their children and grandchildren are messed up because of it. The company that I served with was told that we were going to Vietnam, so off we went. Effects of war lasting for IP Vietnam veteran Local News. receive communications related to AARP volunteering. Most vivid memory: his first time landing in Vietnam, after being stationed in Tokyo, “We had flown a 10-hour reconnaissance mission from Okinawa, along the coast of China, then into the Gulf of Tonkin, and did reconnaissance between Haiphong and Hainan Island, which was Chinese. They both submitted opinion pieces to the Roanoke Times newspaper that do a good job of telling how many Vietnam Veterans … Public opinion about Vietnam: support for the war, protestors, veterans, military strategies, Johnson’s handling, and more. Trapping and neutering feral cats is our only ethical option to reduce the outdoor population of cats. You must be logged in to leave a comment. Op-Ed: Stop dismissing all vaccine skeptics as anti-science conspiracy theorists. The impact of the anti-War protests across the nation in the late 1960s and early 1970s fostered an anti-Vietnam Veteran atmosphere here at home that lasted for nearly 20 years after the war ended. The first combat troops arrived in 1965 and fought the war until the cease-fire of January 1973, America’s involvement in Vietnam actually lasted from 1957 until 1975. again. Len Kirchner examines a Thai boy during civic action (left); Kirchner in his dress uniform. Members of Middletown’s Veterans of the Vietnam War gathered at the Connecticut State Cemetery for a wreath laying for their departed comrades Dec. 6. His most recent book is “Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and its War.”. The second nation conflict was Korea, and Harry Truman made a decision to stop the aggression from the North into the South. AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. In the meantime, please feel free Since singing is risky during the pandemic, my group went on hiatus. Excerpt From THE VETERAN: Now Online. What Americans should know: Too many lives, both American and Vietnamese, were lost. And in neither was there official national recognition of this or a pause for national mourning. And I relayed the story to him, and he says, ‘Well, look, I can’t give you any information. Flying more than 80 missions in Vietnam, Bartlett flew two combat missions in the Linebacker 2 campaign, which is credited with bringing an end to the Vietnam War … Not all WWII vets did turn their backs. The Veterans Affairs Department estimates we are losing more than 500 veterans per day who served during the Vietnam War years. Darwin Judge was 19. In the wake of COVID-19, a mass move toward remote work could change L.A. and other cities — and affect housing prices, commuting and where people choose to live. We must act … related to AARP volunteering. Most states celebrate “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” on March 29 or 30 of each year. The commemoration was authorized by Congress, under DoD auspices, and launched at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 2012. We went in there in Vietnam and wasted 58,000 American lives and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese. | John Rivers (second from right) after his final combat operation. Their remains would not be repatriated for nearly a year. But who comes next? There was fire coming from the Vietnamese village across Highway 1. Op-Ed: The pandemic made my singing group hit pause. Op-Ed: The social justice case for canceling college debt. According to federal law, the United States' military involvement in the Vietnam War began in February 1961 and lasted until May 1975. “She says, ‘You got a message on your machine that I think you’re gonna want to hear.’ So she held the phone over the machine, and it was Willie, who called and said, ‘I got your letter.’ I called him and left a message on his machine. Most vivid memory: personal relationships with Vietnamese soldiers and families, “We pretty much lived and worked with the Vietnamese. Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images Tharp served in the Army from 1969 to 1970 and was a correspondent for an Army magazine called the Hurricane. I was in the bunker, the elevated bunker, and every eighth or ninth round was a tracer round — red or green. We think of them today, Memorial Day, as we pause to remember and grieve for the nearly 60,000 U.S. service members who died in Vietnam — and the hundreds of thousands of other Americans who gave their lives in other wars. The focus is on the number, not our fellow citizens. Most vivid memory: being caught under fire in his helicopter on his first mission, “I remember my maintenance sergeant trying to talk me out of becoming a crew chief, but I wasn’t listening. I was infantry, in the field, fighting the most misunderstood and unpopular war in American history. He served in Southeast Asia as a physician and in combat missions from 1965 to 1971. Like most Vietnam Veterans, I returned home from the War to a somewhat hostile political environment in the United States. “When you serve in the military, you are taught discipline. Most vivid memory: fighting in the Battle of Huê´ during the 1968 Tet Offensive, “Many casualties on both sides, but exceptional esprit de corps by my fellow Marines.”. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try I developed great respect and affection for the Vietnamese when I was there. Here are three ways to help break through vaccine fears. 509 – Two Vietnam Veterans’ opinions about the war. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that empowers people to choose how they live as they age. Our goal is to thank and honor America’s 6.4 million living veterans … Low-income minority families hit hard by COVID-19 wait their turn for the vaccine as the wealthy try to buy their way to the front of the line. The McMahon and Judge families had to delay saying farewell to their young sons. You'll start receiving the latest news, benefits, events, and programs related to AARP's mission to empower people to choose how they live as they age. During the war, more than 58,000 servicemen and women lost their lives.Vietnam Veterans represent the largest cohort of American Veterans in terms of service era. With the surge showing no signs of slowing down, L.A. County facilities are preparing for how to allocate care in a crisis situation. Jan 30, 2016 at 2:05 PM . There are persistent stereotypes about Vietnam veterans as psychologically devastated, bitter, homeless, drug-addicted people, who had a hard time readjusting to society, primarily because of the uniquely divisive nature of the Vietnam War in the context of US history. The tracers started coming over the guard shack where I was standing, 20 feet above the ground or so. Decoration Day started on May 30. Rivers served from 1969 to 1971, as an Army infantry officer advising a Vietnamese military infantry unit. It reminds me of the way the Vietnam veterans were treated on their return from the war. Letters to the Editor: Empowering women is the best way to reduce childbirth deaths. by: Darrell Franklin. Are we so cynical now that $4.2 billion in charitable giving is taken as an indication of society’s ills? There is one lesson American citizens seem to have finally learned, between the Vietnam era and now: to thank in real time those who serve, whether it’s in war or during a pandemic. “We fought in a very terrible war. By 1969, more than half a million Americans were stationed in Vietnam. And so when the [Vietnam] memorial was built, I looked for his name, didn’t find his name, which was a good clue that he was still alive. The official number fails to include the many veterans who died after the war as a result of lingering medical and emotional conditions. surpassed the tally of those killed in the Vietnam War, nearly 60,000 U.S. service members who died in Vietnam, Westmoreland reported seeing a similar light, L.A. County on verge of becoming COVID-19 epicenter. Zoo, campgrounds and playgrounds closed are again. Primarily because I had so much exposure to them and their families.”. So you know when you saw tracers, there were a lot of bullets you didn’t see. “The men and women who served in Vietnam were as important to our country as veterans who have ever served since the time of the American Revolution. Yet time has proven Vietnam veterans to … Both of us were in the 3rd Marine Division. Sign up for AARP's twice-monthly Your Health newsletter for the latest on coronavirus and more. Those who did not come back alive made as great a sacrifice as any solider who died at Iwo Jima or Omaha Beach or any of the other major battles of World War II. There were no “thank you’s,” no parades and no “welcome homes.” ... Catch the latest in Opinion. Vietnam Veterans. Already, hospitals are struggling to keep up with the pace of new COVID-19 patients. We were Marines together in Vietnam and very good friends. United States military involvement in the Vietnam War officially began on August 5, 1964; however, the first U.S. casualty in Vietnam occurred on July 8, 1959. by Aaron Kassraie, AARP, March 28, 2019 What Americans should know: The men who fought didn’t create the war. Just as the COVID-19 dead have likely been undercounted, so have the U.S. military dead in Vietnam. Had they lived, these 22 men would be among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. I got a sidearm and bandolier ammunition. Harman was drafted in 1967 and served in Vietnam in 1969, as a … The nation has been stunned by the many who have died in this pandemic. Mike Tharp (middle) at the 16th Public Information Detachment. He served in... Keith Harman, 72, of Delphos, Ohio. Keith Harman in a Huey Helicopter during the Vietnam War (left); Harman on his return visit to Vietnam in 2017. In both crises, unspoken politics, personal ambition and arrogance too often have framed public statements as well as military and public health strategy. We served with honor and distinction.”, Doyle served from 1969 to 1970, as an Army infantry soldier, to “seek out, close with and destroy the enemy.”. From time to time during the American war in Iraq which began in 2003, aging Vietnam veterans wearing baseball caps and khaki jackets emblazoned with pins, patches, and the … When Vietnam War veteran Michael Kelley finally finished writing his memoir last year, an accomplishment 40 years in the making, he was by no means hoping it … Charles McMahon had been active in the Boys Club in Woburn where he excelled as a swimmer and taught and mentored young boys. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly We need to do that today. As the COVID-19 death count continues to mount, it has had a cumulative and numbing effect, much like the counting of war dead. Over 1,500 people die in one week — a staggering number that represents nearly 7% of the state’s more than 22,000 total coronavirus-related fatalities. Most vivid memory: being wounded in a blast on patrol, along with a wartime buddy, Willie Henry, and not knowing what happened to his friend until 26 years later, “After two to three weeks of recovery, I was back out in the field and never did find out what happened to Willie. I didn’t know anything. What Americans should know: Most who served volunteered for duty. The L.A. Now, the American generation that suffered most in Vietnam is the most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Letters to the Editor: Shame on wealthy trying to buy their way to the front of the vaccine line. And every day. www.aarp.org/volunteer. In this episode the opinions of two Vietnam Veterans from Virginia are featured. The ongoing war over the Vietnam Veterans Memorial ... Hart's opinion of Maya Lin's design was not motivated by race and gender. For many of the American Veterans of the war, the wounds of Vietnam will never heal. Get thought-provoking perspectives with our weekly newsletter. In the waning days of April, the number of people who died from COVID-19 in the United States surpassed the tally of those killed in the Vietnam War. You can also manage your communication preferences by updating your account at anytime. In April, President Trump said there was “light at the end of the tunnel.” Gen. William Westmoreland reported seeing a similar light in Vietnam in 1967. We did what was asked of us, and we looked after those that we served with. You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times. We never thought we’d still be silent in December. The COVID-19 and Vietnam eras do share unfortunate similarities, including officials ignoring reports and warnings, and confidently insisting on their capacity to control events. The Vietnam War helped shape a generation of Americans, none more than the 2.7 million who served in Southeast Asia. Approximately 2.7 million American men and women served in Vietnam. Then and now we have seen official optimism and an absence of candor regarding projections of what was to come: “It is over; we have won” echoes from Vietnam to 2020. What’s open and closed in SoCal amid state’s stricter stay-home rules. Hordes of YouTube vigilantes awaited. So every time I traveled through O’Hare, I would grab the phone book, back in the days when they still had phone books and pay phones, and I called every Henry in the Chicago phone book and relay the story: ‘So, do you know this guy, I’m trying to find him.’ ‘No, never heard of him.’. Reducing the loan burden would help millions of students, but particularly Black and Latino graduates, who tend to receive lower wages, another manifestation of structural racism. The remembrances sometimes include heartrending stories of the many family members and friends who were unable to be with their loved ones at the end because of coronavirus-related restrictions. The growing popularity of YouTube in South Korea has led to questionable attempts by users to gain viewers, including promises of vigilante justice. I had a good guardian angel and continued to fly for the remainder of my tour.”. Sign up for AARP's twice-monthly Your Health newsletter for the latest on coronavirus and more, Many Vietnam veterans don't know they qualify for Agent Orange benefits, Vets urge President Trump to uphold ‘blue water’ benefits, 8-Month No-Penalty CD from Marcus by Goldman Sachs®. Op-Ed: How remote working in the post-COVID-19 era could transform L.A. and other cities. A Vietnam veteran traces one of the nearly 60,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. What Americans should know: Servicemen did what was asked and looked after one another. Members of that once-young baby boomer generation are now senior citizens. When we landed at 2 in the morning, we got out of that airplane — and understand, this is my first trip to Vietnam. 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