Local Stories

MATURE SUBJECT MATTER, VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED: WEDU is honored to present the personal Vietnam War experiences of our local citizens. The stories presented here have not been edited and are presented as originally shared by the author. The content may contain coarse language, images, or remembrances that may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.


Debby M.’s Story

Shared on June 2, 2017

 

Tom voluntarily enlisted into the USMC in February of 1962.

He never talked much about the War, but he served 2 tours there And ironically while in Vietnam her received his Draft notice.

Occasionally he would talk about TET and Khe Shan and and Dong Ha and how they made him realize that , someone actually was trying to kill him.

Tom had taken some slides during the shelling of Dong Ha and one day asked me if I could scan them for him , it was then for the first time he actually talked about the war. He said that the shelling of the Ammo dump in Dong Ha was like watching the entire world around being blown up around you” . The mere viewing of the black clouds of smoke and debris flying all around the camp for over 24 hrs made me wonder how anyone could have survived and remain sane. Tom would casually talk about the Viet Cong sniper who on a regular daily basis fired at the camp and his tent, but fortunately the sniper was lousy shot and missed every time and then he would chuckle. He would talk about his friends , especially ” The Harve” (Jerry Harvey) and Camp life. He loved to tell the story about how he quietly collected spent shell powder and put it in an ash tray to play back Jerry for kicking him in the chest as an “introduction to their tent” by saying ” Hi my name is Harve , and what’s your’s? After weeks of powder collecting and while playing cards , Harve put out a cigarette in the ashtray. there was just enough of powder for a flash and to singe the hair on Harve’s arm. That story was brought up every time Tom and Harve would get together years later and told to everyone. Those were the ” funny stories” they would talk about and only privately would they talk about their experiences together. Tom was a very private and quiet person who stayed in the USMC for 20 yrs. and when FINALLY people would come up to him and shake his hand and say “Thank- You for your service” rather than spit at him or call him names , his only comment was “I didn’t have anything better to do at the time”

Tom, sadly passed away on March 5, 2016 from AGENT ORANGE.. The war had claimed another Marine.

I am proud to have had him as my husband and my best friend.


Sponsored in part by

R.O.C.

Retired Officers’ Corporation at Freedom Plaza

Production Credits: THE VIETNAM WAR is a production of Florentine Films and WETA, Washington D.C. Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Written by Geoffrey C.  Ward.  Produced by Sarah Botstein, Lynn Novick and Ken Burns.

Funding Credits: Funding provided by: Bank of America; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; PBS; David H. Koch; The Blavatnik Family Foundation; Park Foundation; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; National Endowment for the Humanities; The Pew Charitable Trusts; Ford Foundation Just Films; Rockefeller Brothers Fund; and Members of The Better Angels Society: Jonathan & Jeannie Lavine, Diane & Hal Brierley, Amy & David Abrams, John & Catherine Debs, Fullerton Family Charitable Fund, The Montrone Family, Lynda & Stewart Resnick, The Golkin Family Foundation, The Lynch Foundation, The Roger & Rosemary Enrico Foundation, Richard S. & Donna L. Strong Foundation, Bonnie & Tom McCloskey, Barbara K. & Cyrus B. Sweet III, The Lavender Butterfly Fund