By Sarah Larsen & Jennifer Miller
This book shares 40 first-hand accounts of Wisconsin veterans’ experiences in the Vietnam War. It is the companion book to the Wisconsin Public Television documentary and expands on stories told in the film with raw and compelling oral histories featuring a diverse collection of voices.
Told in a roughly chronological order, each chapter begins with a detailed historical introduction. The chapters focus on U.S. involvement prior to the war – naval exploration of Vietnam’s waterways; Army and Marine ground combat with the Vietcong; the Tet Offensive; battles at Hamburger Hill, Khe Sanh, and Hue; medical units evacuating the wounded; firefights on besieged firebases; the POW experience; and life after Vietnam.
Chronicling their physical and spiritual endurance through the horrors of war and its aftermath, this collection gives the veterans the voice they did not have when they returned home amidst antiwar protests. Several veterans have been members of support groups started through the Veterans Administration and other veterans groups in recent years, counseling one another through the experiences of PTSD, survivor’s guilt, and the ongoing effects of war wounds and exposure to Agent Orange.