The Vietnam War: A Soldier's Story

Photo curtesy of The Vietnam War Achive
 The Vietnam War, often referred to as the "Ten Thousand Day War", was seen by all as horrible, and by many, senseless. What started as a civil war between North and South Vietnam, evolved into a full-blown war, taking the lives of many American soldiers. In the twenty-four years the U.S. helped fight, 58,148 men and women were killed in action. Families, friends, and neighbors all fought for the same cause. Although some of the stories are similar most are very different. My Uncle John Butts, was a soldier in the United States Air Force. He served in Vietnam, and the story he tells is very interesting and thought provoking. A story, of a war that would change his life forever.

 As a twenty-three year old sergeant in the Air Force, John had mixed feelings about the war. He didn't agree with some of the decisions U.S. leaders were making, but feeling a strong sense of nationalism, He volunteered to go. During his time there he spent nights in bunkers, foxholes, hard discomforting barracks, with thousands of men, of which many he regarded as family. He admired most his supervisor CMsgt (Chief Master Sergeant), Haney. A levelheaded, calming advisor, whose counsel would help many soldiers during the wartime, o cope with the day to day atrocities.

In the mid 60's, the Air Force base at which he was stationed in DaNang, was rocketed and mortured. He and his fellow soldiers were forced to evacuate with extreme caution and speed. Any seconds closer could have meant death, and for some it did. Their next stop would be in Thailand. While in Thailand they would continue to carry our air raids. While also in Thailand the war would finally come to an end. Many thoughts raced through his mind. "Did he make it?" "Why did I make it while others didn't?" These thoughts and many others still course through his mind today.

Yes, the war was over; but John's life had been changed forever. He had matured, achieved a high level of self-discipline, and a greater value of the human life. "I realized how fragile life was. In a mere flicker, you could be gone." He had also attained a greater view of world politics. "Most decisions on war should be made by the military, not the politicians." "I am sad that we withdrew from the war, to let the North Vietnam take over." "There were a lot of mistakes that could have been avoided if the military had had a stronger voice in the actions."

War, no matter how brief, can have a tremendous impact on a person's life. Through this interview I have learned much about the Vietnam War, and it's effects on our society. I myself have realized through much of my research, that a war never really ends. The war, with all the blood, tragedy, loss, will still continue to be fought over and over againin the minds of the many whose sacrifice changed their lives forever.

 

Curtesy of The Vietnam War Archive

 

Photo curtesy of The Vietnam War Archive

 

Photo curstesy of The Vietnam War Archive

 

Links related to this subject

 

The Vietnam War Archive

 

Battlefield: Vietnam

Vietnam Statistics

Purple Heart Medal

 

I completed this website for my Junior Project at Brunswick H.S. October 20, 2003. For more information you can contact me by e-mail.

Purple Heart Medalmy uncle recieved for being wounded in action.

Photo Courtesy of John Butts