Stories of Our Soldiers

In honor of Heroes Homecoming, a number of veterans and other people involved with the conflict have expressed a desire to publically share their stories of the Vietnam War. We would now like to share them with you.

If you would like to see your personal story included on this page, please contact Rebekah Sanderlin.

“Heroes of the Vietnam Generation” by James Webb

Former Secretary of the Navy James Webb was awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, and Bronze Star medals for heroism as a Marine in Vietnam. His novels include The Emperor’s General and Fields of Fire.

The rapidly disappearing cohort of Americans that endured the Great Depression and then fought World War II is receiving quite a send-off from the leading lights of the so-called 60s Generation. Tom Brokaw has published two oral histories of “The Greatest Generation” that feature ordinary people doing their duty and suggest that such conduct was historically unique. (more…)

“Multiple Tours of Duty” by Willie F. Wright, Colonel (R) USA

Served in the United States Army from May 1959 to June 1989.
In 1962, while serving with the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii, the 27th Infantry Battle Group was sent to Thailand as a show of force against the spread of communism in the region.  While in Thailand, the Battle Group sent several lieutenants for a 30 day orientation to Vietnam.  I was attached to a Marine unit and participated in the planning and execution of combat operations.  It was interesting that the first movement from Saigon to the Marine Outpost was provided by the Vietnamese Air Force.  The plane, upon landing, over ran the landing strip and the plane ended movement in a rice field.  What an introduction to the country! (more…)

“The Story of a Photographer in Vietnam” by John Bell, III

Mr. Bell photographed the soldiers of the the 3d Bde., 82d ABN Div in Vietnam, as a Public Information Office photographer. In 1968, he photographed 82d troops receiving their pay just after they had taken over an NVA medical station in the jungle. Then- Colonel Bolling asked what the guys wanted for doing such a good job. Ice cream was the answer. In a short time, a big HUE helicopter landed carrying a pallet of ice cream – strawberry, chocolate and vanilla! The soldiers’ hospitality to this new photographer was fabulous. (more…)

“Baptism of Fire” by SGM Jacob Roth, Jr.

After the Korean war, I came back into the Army after my discharge. At the time of the Vietnam War, I was a non-commissioned officer SSG in the 5th Special Forces Group Airborne. In 1966 on my first patrol out of Minh Long A-108, we had just taken a hill and set up a defense. I was pulling off a sweater I was wearing and bent down to put it in my rucksack when there was a crack over my head. I turned around to see what had happened. The bullet that was meant for me by the sniper had hit one of the CIDG (Civilian Indigenous Defense Group) and killed him; it went through him and wounded another CIDG. (more…)

“My Time in Vietnam” by Ramon Craig, Medically Retired Marine

Most of my memories of Vietnam come as quick flashes, like a preview of a newly released movie. Then again, some are still vivid and in full color. If you saw them, you’d think you were in the middle of a horrible war movie. (more…)

“Patti and Bill Pollitt’s Story” by Patti Pollitt

In March of 1967 my first husband Ltjg Michael Burns was killed in a helicopter crash. I was pregnant with our second child. Not knowing what I was facing emotionally or physically, with Michael III in hand, we moved back to Maryland to live with my parents for the time being.

In November of that year, I was at Sunday Mass with my parents when I ran into Bill Pollitt. Bill and I had known each other for years having grown up in the same area. Our parents did may church projects together. Our mothers had played bridge together and Bill and I both went to St Mary high school in Annapolis MD. Bill was a Lt in the Army home on leave prior to going to Ft Carson CO. We greeted and exchanged minor chit chat. What is significant about this day is that it was three days prior to Maggie’s birth. I don’t imagine I was at my most glamorous. (more…)

“This Ain’t No Bull, It’s the Truth!” by SSG Henry J. Potts, USAR Ret.

I am looking forward to telling you a story that many either do not remember or just never knew about. So like most war story’s it starts out something like, “This Ain’t No Bull, It’s the Truth!”

I quit school in 1971 and joined the Navy when I was Seventeen. I went through Boot Camp and then Aviation Fleet Preparatory School. This school teaches you to work on an Aircraft Carrier and upon completion I was an Airman Apprentice. I was sent to the Fleet, to the Aircraft Carrier USS Coral Sea that had deployed to the Tonkin Gulf, Republic of Viet Nam. Now a story of Naval Carrier Warfare in Viet Nam. This information can be found if you search the Internet, but I must say it is a lot different if you were there. (more…)

“My year as a Donut Dolly” by Kaki Vansickle

I applied for the position of Recreation Aide (better known as a “Donut Dolly”) with the American National Red Cross in the spring of 1967 when I was a senior at UNC-G. I interviewed in Atlanta and was offered a position in the September 1967 class.

I reported to Washington D.C. to National Headquarters for training along with 23 other recent college graduates to begin the adventure.

My first assignment, on September 30th, was in Bear Cat working with the soldiers of the 9th Infantry division and the Thai Regiment “The Queens’ Cobras”. I also worked with the Navy’s Mobile Riverine Force, a joint Army/Navy venture on the Mekong Delta and waters bordering it. (more…)