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Firsthand accounts

  • MHQ Magazine

    England by Sea, Land, and Air

    A young U.S. Marine lieutenant survived a perilous 1943 sea journey to get a taste of wartime England and bone up on a newfangled technology called radar. In 1943 I was a newly minted first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and a...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    2,032 days of solitary in China

    To this day Robert Flynn, a POW who spent more time in solitary confinement than any American ever, denies he violated Chinese airspace. On August 21, 1967, A-6A Intruder bombardier-navigator Lieutenant Commander Robert J. Flynn was shot...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    Privileged to Comfort the Dying

    Amid the horrors of war, I learned what life is all about. I can still hear my dad say to my mom, “Olga, guess where Sis is going to now?” I can still see the tears in my mom’s eyes as she said to me, “I always told you to...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    A Combat Medic’s Three-war Odyssey

    In the first hours of the Tet Offensive, Wayne Slagel earned the second star to his Combat Medical Badge— one of America’s rarest military awards. At the age of 45, Wayne Slagel had been around. In 1968 he was in yet an- other combat...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    Dodging SAMs—In An AC-130!

    It looked like curtains for the crew of the lumbering Spectre gunship as the surface-to-air missiles closed in for the kill. We slaughtered ’em. As that night’s first AC-130 Spectre gunship into Laos, we found trucks everywhere. In...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    My War: One Marine’s wild ride off the Rockpile was more of...

    Dusk was just turning to darkness when I spotted the CH-46 that would be my ride off the Rockpile, a jagged, 800-foot pile of earth jutting out of the ground along the northern edge of Camp Carroll. Recon Marines used the Rockpile as an...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    The 174th Ordnance Detachment had an often risky job handling tons of...

    It was late September 1968 and the heat and humidity were oppressive as I toiled preparing flower beds at the bachelor officer quarters in Long Binh, 90th Replacement Bat- talion. This was not what I imagined Vietnam would be like, and...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    Khe Sanh in the Pantheon

    What a new president’s reflections on an old battle means to one Marine who was there. On the morning of President Barak Obama’s inaguration I was busy at work preparing for a class, when I got an email from a Vietnam veteran friend...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    My War: The Night I Died in My Bird Dog

    DONALD TYLER Captain, U.S. Army, Forward Air Controller 183rd Reconnaissance Airplane Company Phan Thiet, 1969-70 There it was, a flicker of light about a mile away in the distance. I was in my O-1 Bird Dog returning from a tree-killing...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    Vietnam Book Reviews: Keep Your Head Down and Loon

    Keep Your Head Down by Doug Anderson, Norton, 2009  Loon by Jack McLean, Presidio Press, 2009 In the four decades that have slipped by since the height of the Vietnam War, thousands of veterans have written war memoirs. Most are...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    Marines Caught in a Viet Cong Noose

    Itching for a fight, a gung-ho rifle company stalks its quarry and finds itself surrounded and trapped by an unrelenting enemy. Wielding grease pencils, we eagerly marked our objectives and checkpoints on the clear plastic covering our...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    My War: We All Served, But Dad Deserved More

    KENNETH G. CARLSON Captain, U.S. Army, Armored Cavalry Troop Commander A Troop, 4th Squadron, 12th Cavalry Quang Tri Province, 1968-69 I expect that many readers of Vietnam magazine can declare that they served more than one tour in...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    Advisers Targeted for Destruction

    A small advisory team’s success at ‘clear and hold’ in the most hostile district in South Vietnam made it a must kill for the NVA. On a clear September morning, we roll south from Quang Ngai City down Route 516 looking for a...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    Duty and Honor: Escorting a Friend

    My orders were to be ‘military escort of a deceased soldier,’ but this soldier was my best friend. As I strode up the steps and through the door of Building Number 4, I was stopped cold in my tracks at the sight before me. In the...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    My War: Owen Mike

    MARINE CORPS LANCE CORPORAL, SUMMER 1968-MARCH 1970 I’m a Native American, Ho Chunk Nation, from Wisconsin. Above everything I accept my own death as destiny. It’s a great honor to die as a warrior on the battlegrounds. Summer of 1968,...

  • Vietnam Magazine

    McNamara and Me

    My encounter with the master of deceit and deception epitomizes the true legacy of Robert Strange McNamara. Just before 9 on the night of January 6, 2004, I was waiting in the lobby of a Washington, D.C., movie theater for what had been...