It was about 5:00PM on a Sunday afternoon when I interviewed my dad about being in the Vietnam War. I was in my room talking to my dad over the phone and my dad was relaxing at his house.My dad is Douglas Wayne Thomas who is 72 years old and is now retired. Before he retired, he spent more than 40 years working for Hi-Tech companies.
My dad is tall, about 5’11”, has blue eyes, and grey hair. He sometimes wears glasses. My dad likes to ride motorcycles. I chose my dad because I knew he had been in the Vietnam War and I did not know a lot about it. I thought it would be interesting to learn a little bit more about the Vietnam War.
The Vietnam War took place from November 1, 1955 until April 30, 1975. It was the longest war in United States history. In October 1966, my dad enlisted in the military and chose to be aMarine. According to my dad, he wanted to be a Marine because the Marines were supposed to be the best, “better trained and had better uniforms.” When he went to Vietnam, he was 23 years old and married with a young son. He decided join the military instead of being drafted. My dad wanted to serve is his country.
During the war, my dad was in the enlisted category. The highest rank he got to was a Staff Sargent. People referred to him as Sargent Thomas. When my dad was in the Vietnam War, his job was to fix radios so that the planes could function properly and the pilots would know what to do and where to go. After boot camp, he went to electronics school for 7 days a week, 8 hours a day, for 42 weeks. I asked him how the military is different today from when he was there and he said,” It is different now because there is newer technology, and more technology whereas when I was there we had giant computers that were really slow and there weren’t a lot of them.” I wanted to know if he liked his job and he said, “I knew I had a job to do so I did it to the best of my abilities whether I liked it or disliked it.”
I learned from my dad that the Vietnam War started because North Vietnam was a communist’s country. They tried to make South Vietnam a communist country but South Vietnam did not want to be a communist country. So, long after North and South Vietnam had been fighting, America stepped in to help South Vietnam. The war ended because people were criticizing America’s involvement in a fight that was not theirs. American’s had to walk away. He said, “All the innocent Americans that tried to help never got any justice. They just died for no reason.”
It was sad to hear about something that happened when he was coming home from the war. When he was coming home from the war, he was wearing his uniform and people spit on him and called him a “baby killer.” There was nothing that he could do about it. The soldiers were called “baby killers” because the North Vietnamese would shoot from the houses of the villagers and use the children as shields. As a result, whenever the Americans would try to fight back or shoot at them, there was a slight chance that a child would be shot. All people heard was that the soldiers were killing children, they did know the truth.
My dad left for Vietnam in October 1966 and I returned home in March 1968.” He told me,” I was gone at war for 15 cold, long months.” He also said, “My favorite part was when the war ended so I could go back home and see my family. I missed them.”
In conclusion, I learned interesting things that happened in the Vietnam War. I also got to learn more about my dad. I was sad when he told me about how the North Vietnamese used children as shields. What a terrible thing to do. But then, I guess war is terrible. I think it was brave of my dad to choose to join the military. I am sure that it was difficult for him and his family.