Dear Natalie: Coming Home from ‘Nam

Sgt. Randy Sanders was trim, fair-haired, well tanned and never shut up once.  That’s how I remember my seatmate on the “Freedom Bird” flight home from Vietnam on June 4, 1971.  He seemed happier than a fat kid in a candy store. He was leaving theRead More

The War Against The Vietnam War

51 years ago today, on May 4, 1970, the heartlessness of the Vietnam War came home to America: four dead, eight wounded on the Ohio campus of Kent State University, and more domestic violence would follow. The war against the war raged in a divided nation.Read More

Vietnam’s Tet Holiday In The Year of COVID

The Zodiac calendar says the Year Of The Ox/Buffalo has arrived. But in Vietnam, despite the Tet Lunar New Year, the page has not turned and the Year Of COVID-19 stubbornly persists. The country is now battling hard against one of the virus’s most troublesome outbreaks. Read More

Colonel Kim’s Decision

On this day, you’re apt to thank a veteran for his or her service to the USA.  They, in turn, are likely looking back to a time and a place that changed their life. That reality is universal, no matter what uniform they may have worn.Read More

Lam Son 719: My Trip to the Shooting War

The spring 1971 air-mobile assault along the Laotian border was the last major offensive of the Vietnam War for US and South Vietnamese troops. Thanks to a sloppy mistake on my part, I wound up face to face— far too up close and personal—with this shooting war.Read More

Slipping Into Darkness: A Year at Ft. Bragg

Ft. Bragg teemed with so many Vietnam war returnees that the nearby town, Fayetteville, was known as Fayette-Nam. Some of these soldiers brought home lawlessness, drug addiction and even murder. My personal remedy for this madness was to get out of there as often as possible. Read More

The Hog Farm: Vietnam Salvation Saloon

A handful of distinct reasons made our ad-hoc Hog Farm bar in Chu Lai unique. No one ever drank alone or paid for a drink. No one was ever turned away, any time of day or night. And most important, there were no war stories allowed.Read More

Easter Memories At War and Home

As a boy growing up in Brooklyn, holidays like Easter were paens of cultural traditions: momentous gatherings of an extended Italian American family, from grandparents and uncles and aunts, to cousins and siblings, joyously sharing great feasts which are the memories that color the present. Not so much Easter in Vietnam.Read More

Guard Duty: Fear of the Unseen Enemy

Worry, doubt, confusion, isolation. Fear of an invisible foe. The sad reality of these Covid-19 times? No. A night of guard duty during the Vietnam War. A moonless midnight on a rock-strewn Chu Lai beach. Except for the rhythmic lapping of ocean waves, there was silence.Read More

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