This is the second in a four-part series about Afghanistan Veterans and how they can get help through VA. Read the other parts:

Part 1: Afghanistan: How Veterans can reconcile service

Part 3: Afghanistan: How spouses, caregivers can support Veterans with PTSD

Part 4: Afghanistan: Resources available for PTSD

The second part of this series focuses on how those who served in Afghanistan can learn from those who served in Vietnam.

While the conflicts are different, there are parallels.

Each operation had U.S. involvement for about two decades. Both countries had a low initial amount of forces. Both later had a surge in forces. U.S. forces in both theaters fought an enemy that hid among the people. The U.S. participation in the Vietnam War started ending in 1973 with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords. The U.S. withdrew, leaving the country to determine a path ahead. In Afghanistan, the U.S. withdrawal will leave Afghans to determine their own future.

Emotions on Afghanistan

When the announcement came that U.S. forces would leave Afghanistan this year, it triggered a complicated wave of emotions through those who served in the country. Air Force Veteran Scott Watson is one of them.

Watson spent a year in Afghanistan from July 2009 to July 2010. He worked for Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan as the Afghan National Army fuels officer, the top level of the supply chain when it came to fuel. He spent a year separated from his daughter.

“It was a mix of disappointment and relief,” Watson said about hearing the news. “I’m disappointed that we’re leaving, and I don’t feel like we’re done training the Afghan security forces. At the same time, I’m relieved that I don’t ever have to go see names of people that I know redeploying to this place where it’s just Groundhog Day every day.”

Vet Centers help Veterans and service members who deployed to areas of hostility or who experience certain types of trauma while serving, as well as their families.

Vet Centers help Veterans and service members who deployed to areas of hostility or who experience certain types of trauma while serving, as well as their families.

Veterans coming together

The withdrawals are an experience that Afghanistan and Vietnam Veterans share.

One of the ways Afghanistan and Vietnam Veterans come together is through Vet Centers. Vet Centers operate outside of the traditional medical model, where eligible Veterans, service members and their families can come together to find meaning in their service. Talking through these shared experiences helps, and there’s no time limit or additional cost for services.

“I’ve got Vietnam Veterans who are still coming here, not because we failed to resolve any issue in their life, but because they found a home in the community,” said Joe Lasky, director of the Las Vegas Vet Center. “They found friendships and a way to come talk and deal with issues that may have started in Vietnam, but now affect their current health. Because Vet Centers are readjustment counseling, that’s defined by every Veteran who comes in here.”

Lasky can see the bonds because he’s an Afghanistan Veteran himself. He served on active duty in the 1st Ranger Battalion for four years, then joined the National Guard.

Vet Centers provide help

It was the Vietnam Veterans who created those first grass roots Vet Centers, as early as the 1970’s, because of a lack of trust that their service and trauma could be understood, as well as a seemingly limited access to VA benefits and services. Today, Vet Centers help Veterans and service members who deployed to areas of hostility or who experience certain types of trauma while serving, as well as their families. In doing so, professional counselors and outreach staff work with individuals from all generations. Counselors help to identify goals and work to create support structures to accomplish those goals and overall aid in the readjustment of those who served. That ranges from assisting in referrals for VA benefits like GI Bill or VA home loans to more traditional counseling. Counseling can include individual, group, couples and family counseling, tackling symptoms associated with anger management or improving relationships.

Vietnam Veterans created grass roots Vet Centers as early as the 1970s.

Vietnam Veterans created grass roots Vet Centers as early as the 1970s.

Lasky said Vet Centers also try to get Veterans together for activity-based groups based on the local needs and desires of the community the Vet Center is in. These may include activities ranging from outdoor recreational trips, yoga classes, gardening groups to music, art and writing groups. During these engagements, the goal is for Veterans and service members to open up about their experiences.

“I’ve seen a willingness to try to do a lot of mentoring from the Vietnam Veterans,” Lasky said. Since the Vietnam Veterans are decades removed from conflict, many, he said, will offer up advice to younger Veterans to not repeat any mistakes they might have made.

Linking up Veterans

Lasky said when he was the Vet Center director in Yuma, Arizona, Vietnam Veterans would link up with Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. During trips, sometimes done with fishing poles in hand, the older Veterans would help talk through difficult issues.

“The Vietnam Vets really liked it because they like to be able to say, ‘We understand, we’ve been dealing with this for years, so let’s talk about,’” Lasky said.

Many times, Vietnam Veterans would pass along guidance of focusing on the personal level of service. They would focus on “Did I do my job to the best of my ability and support my brothers and sisters to the best of my ability?” Lasky added.

“What came out of that was friendships and bonding and experiences that have united the generations,” he said. “Two generations from separate eras, but they have that shared conflict. They were there at different times and a different space, but they support each other.

Now he hopes the Afghanistan Veterans will come in to bond with their fellow warriors.

“Let’s just remove the era and be Veterans of conflict together, and see what we can talk about, recognize and resolve,” he said. “A lot of them are on the same path, maybe a little farther down the road. Maybe there’s a bonding we can learn from.”

Parallels and lessons

Because of the parallels, past lessons from Vietnam Veterans can help Afghanistan Veterans.

“It is likely that part of why Vietnam Veterans have struggled is because of their homecoming. That may have made it harder time finding meaning when that conflict ended,” said Dr. Sonya Norman, director of the National Center for PTSD Consultation Program.

A 2018 study in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease said Vietnam Veterans had low homecoming support. Another journal study said negative homecoming experiences predicted warzone-related PTSD symptoms up to 40 years post-deployment.

Closure is necessary

Closure is a necessary part of managing PTSD symptoms, said Dr. Jennifer Vasterling, the chief of psychology at the VA Boston Healthcare System and affiliated investigator with the National Center for PTSD.

“The closure helps people demarcate how people feel about things,” Vasterling said. “Without closure, there’s just a lot more room for ambiguity.”

Veterans may have trouble adjusting because the conflict is not ending with victory parades, but with an announcement.

“People are looking for meaning,” Norman said. “What did it mean that I went there, what did it mean that I risked my life, what does it mean that I saw other people lose their life? In some ways, the celebration gives it some meaning, gives it a lens to look through for that experience. If you don’t have that, you’re left to figure it out on your own.”

Because of the similarities in the U.S. end to the conflict, Norman said Veterans need to address their PTSD issues.

“With this more ambiguous conflict where we had some successes, we’re leaving with things still uncertain, there’s a lot more room for people to have interpretations that can have very big impacts and long-term consequences for their mental health,” Norman said.

Learn more:

Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, service members – including National Guard and Reserve components – and their families.

Readjustment counseling is offered to make a successful transition from military to civilian life or after a traumatic event experienced in the military. Individual, group, marriage and family counseling is offered in addition to referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services. Vet Center counselors and outreach staff, many of whom are Veterans themselves, are experienced and prepared to discuss the tragedies of war, loss, grief and transition after trauma.

Learn more: https://www.vetcenter.va.gov/

Find a Vet Center: https://www.va.gov/find-locations/?facilityType=vet_center

Call the Vet Center call center: 1-877- 927-8387

Peer support

Other helpful options are peer support specialists and peer support groups. Veterans interested in participating in peer support need a referral from their Mental Health Service provider. Peer support specialists are a group who draw on past experiences to help bridge the gap between Veteran and provider. Peer support groups are a place where Veterans can discuss day-to-day problems with other people who have been through trauma. Support groups have not been shown to reduce PTSD symptoms, but they can help Veterans feel better in other ways.

“They’ve all served, deployed and now gone through treatment,” Norman said. “They’re now sort of in this bridge role between the Veteran and the clinician.”

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56 Comments

  1. Clay Allan Coker September 5, 2021 at 10:42 am

    I think younger vets can figure out how to get screwed by the VA without any advice from Vietnam Veterans.

  2. Bill Elmore September 4, 2021 at 11:00 am

    In 1979, when more than one half of Vietnam Combat veterans had already been home for better than a decade, the VA pulled together an interesting mix of VA employees and mostly non VA employee veterans who were then involved in various “self help” veteran service centers from around the nation, I was privileged to be one of those who gathered in St. Louis to create what was later called the VA Vet Center program. In 1981, when newly elected President Reagan tried to eliminate the Vet Center program, once again our community stepped up to politically save the Vet Centers from the cutting block as proposed by OMB. Still today, the Vet Center program remains a vital resource for the home coming of thousands of veterans and their families. Welcome home veterans.

  3. Robert Carson August 27, 2021 at 1:26 am

    I read with great interest the excellent warfighting, physical
    and mental skills, that were common
    to American Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and all Airedales.
    My war was Vietnam; mine might have
    had a slight advantage we had no cellphones and laptops. I don’t know how you folks keep from having an emotional breakdown after hanging up on Sugar and little Herbie the 6 year old.
    Sug says “how did your day go, Honey?” Hon who has 4chevrons with 6 rockers says, ” ’bout the same Sug, did a chopper insertion. On the way, door gunner was hit so I took his gun. I shot up about a 60 enemy patrol, couple bombers, and 7 trucks. We took some hits and lost an engine. I was able to get it back to the field, and every one will be Okay.” Just a regular 101 day.”
    “How’d yer day go Sug?” “Well, Hon,
    the radiator overheated taking the kids to school. You sister Marybelle is letting us use her car. The radiator guy wants you should talk to him, can you remember?” Ohh, and that awful older boy called our boy a ‘fucker’. The Principal heard it and wants you and his Dad in the office, as soon as you can fly in.” And, let’s see, the Parents and Teachers want you to do a talk on the war, but don’t bore them like last year, Okay? Sure Sug, talk to you earlier tomorrow.” ‘kay Hon, kiss, kiss.” “Nite, Sug, smackers.

  4. Curtis Cunningham August 25, 2021 at 11:40 pm

    Am I the only one who sees the irony of Biden taking credit for getting us out of Afghanistan. His senate votes were what got us into that mess(as well as Iraq).

  5. Gerald Enos August 20, 2021 at 1:44 pm

    THANK YOU BROTHERS AND SISTERS FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY. I was in Viet Nam 70-71. Noncombat. I fixed radios at Long Bien.
    For some the demons follow you home. Most of mine were waiting for me when I got back. Divorce , depression , etc. You didn’t let anyone know you served in Nam. I never did drugs but I abused my liver rather badly.
    I felt guilty because I believed I was feeling sorry for myself. That may be partly true but the truth is I was pissed off. I don’t want this to be a “poor
    me, I am a Viet Nam vet story.” Just wanted you to know you have a right to be angry. Our country has failed us again.

    GOD BLESS ALL OF OUR MILITARY AND VETERANS.

  6. DANIEL C KASTL August 18, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    After graduating from Mechanic’s School in Aberdeen Proving Grounds Maryland, in 1965. Some of our class went to Germany and Vietnam, and South Korea, and the Canal zone. I was sent to South Korea, Not much action going on there, almost boring. I had no problem with it, No one was shooting at me, or was trying to blow me up, and I did not see any snakes. The weather was mild the 13 months I was there. They did ask for Volunteers for Vietnam. IF I remember right quite a few did volunteer, because they had a better chance of getting promoted? I did not volunteer. I stayed in Korea and it worked out fine for me, and I made E-5 at 18 months. My dad was in the Army during WW-2 and he made P.F.C. and he was Torpedo by the Germans, was in the water, but was picked up within five min. The only advice he gave me was , “DON’T VOLUNTEER”! for anything! That little bit of knowledge, has served me well. OF Course today’s Army is a lot different then what it was then.
    Except for WW-2 WE or US have lost every war since including Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and now Afghanistan, All because of one man. OUR COMMANDER IN CHIEF! The U.S. spent over 2 TRILLION DOLLARS on the AFGHANISTAN WAR, and gives it’s on citizen’s a STIMULUS check for $1200.00? Truman Lost Korea, Nixon lost Vietnam, Bush, lost Iraq, and now Trump and Biden BOTH LOST AFGHANISTAN!
    IF Truman would of let MACARTHUR nuke North Korea, I do not think we would of lost any more wars, because their would of not been any! So now we have to worry about North Korea nuking us?

    • Curtis Cunningham August 25, 2021 at 11:26 pm

      Sorry, but I disagree. Vietnam was lost way before Nixon came into office. I know, because I served there.

    • Sue August 31, 2021 at 8:34 pm

      The Gulf War (Deserts Shield/Storm) was a success. Kuwait was liberated quickly because of excellent leadership from the Vietnam time. We got in, accomplished our mission, and got out.

  7. JAMES LEO WILLESS August 17, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    I served in Viet Nam (69 – 70), and like many of my brothers and sisters who served there I returned to an America that called us names and spat on us. Because of that, whenever I see a person in a military uniform I thank them for their service. Unfortunately, I had a bad feeling that Afghanistan would end the same was as Viet Nam did. As some have already expressed, there were many similarities between the two wars, including leaving many of the locals who helped us behind to face the ruthless enemy alone. The only difference is that we were in Viet Nam for 10 years before we pulled out, while it took us 20 years before we pulled out of Afghanistan. We should have learned a lesson from our attempts to defeat the Viet Nam guerilla fighters (Viet Cong) and Chinese-backed North Army, and the Russians’ failed 1979 attempt to support the communist Afghan government against the Afghan guerilla fighters. To those who criticize our President’s decision, I believe that he made a very difficult decision, but that it was the right one because it was an unwinnable war. I do not believe his decision was for political gain…it was because we had been there way too long and we had met our original goal of driving al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan and bringing those who planned and attacked us on 9/11/2001 to justice. To those who served one or more tours in Afghanistan I say “Thank you for your dedicated service and heroism under very difficult circumstances, and welcome home. God bless America.

  8. Steven J Bensend August 17, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    I served from 1978-2010… I did not serve in Viet Nam but watched my relatives and neighbors who did. I Enlisted in the infantry and served all 32.5 years in the infantry. Fortunately when we returned from OIF and OEF we were received with open arms. We had reintegration sessions and offered assistance. In spite of all of that, every one of us faced emotional challenges. We grew up knowing WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, and veterans of other conflicts. They talked little about their emotional scars and many did not focus on the “woe be me” and “never should have been there” aspect that I hear some hanging their hat on. Instead they taught my generation about the importance of freedoms. Freedoms not only for our citizens but also for others. They taught us right from wrong and how to work hard and how to lead.
    My sons served in Iraq and Afghanistan … in the infantry. They too have some baggage and we try to talk about it… because we understand each other and experienced the similar things. We have figured out that spending time together and talking about our experiences helps a lot. We have figured out that it is important to look forward and not dwell on the past… make things better and not make excuses. Keep in touch with our close buddies and help them with the same.
    I encourage every one of you to do the same… think positively and focus on the next generation. Weather you agree with our countries leaders or not… make a difference at the local level. Change what is wrong at the ground level. Rebuild a culture of pride that we saw in our forefathers.

    We tried to make a difference and I am confident we did. But we can not change the culture of other countries… they have to do that.

  9. Nellie P. De Baker August 17, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    Dear Comrades of Afghanistan – Welcome Home. I served in the VietNam War, however, serving State-Side, not In -Country. Our country has the VietNam Wall to remind us of the ultimate sacrifices made by over 58,000 men and women who went to war with a mission to continue to keep America Safe and Free and with the ultimate purpose to keep the Red, White and Blue – Our Flag intact and forever waving that beautiful “Hello!.” Although we never were welcomed home, we are forever impacted by what did happen when we arrived state-side. Hence, we begin each day looking for that flag. It gives credence to the mission we completed.

    With Afghanistan, the world was/is a different era and would I dare say a different mission? You veterans served just as the VietNam Veterans served and coming home for both was something we did not expect. Afghanistan’s mission/ function changed. Was the destruction of the number one man supposed to end America’s involvement in Afghanistan?

    Welcome Home – Veterans of Afghanistan! As veterans, we are all Comrades-In-Arms, we are all Family, a different kind of family only those who have served will ever know. We are here to help each other – we don’t know you need help unless you ask – anytime- anywhere- any place. Just pick up the phone and dial us. We will be there. You know our military training lasts a lifetime. Thank you for doing a part to keep freedom for America. What we do today prepares the veterans of tomorrow. As long as we continue to do that, there will be freedom for America. God Bless America!
    Thank you.

  10. Nellie P. De Baker Pearl De Baker August 17, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    Welcome Home, Comrades. Although I served in the VietNam War and served State-side and not In-Country, we are all Comrades-In-Arms. We all served with a purpose – for the Red, White and Blue. We had a mission to preserve freedom for America. The Vietnam Wall is a daily reminder of the sacrifices made – every day we say a daily prayer and thank them. And they are always in our thoughts. Afghanistan is another mission similar to VietNam. Many of us thought taking out the “Number One Man” would put an end for American soldiers to serve in Afghanistan. That didn’t happen. I will say no more on that. Welcome Home from Afghanistan. Be assured we all served our country, for our flag. We all supported our Comrades-In-Arms. We did our best. All veterans are one huge family. Fellow veterans are here to offer our support for all of you. Please reach out to us. That may be the best decision you will have made today. God Bless America !

    flfkfjjffjjfff

  11. Frank H. Werker August 17, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    I served with the 11th Armored Cav (Blackhorse) 1966-67 in a largely non-combat role. Our basecamp was a few miles from Xuan Loc. I remember sitting in the American Legion throwing down shots of whiskey in 1975 watching the ARVNs on TV making their last stand at Xuan Loc. After Xuan Loc fell, Saigon (never say Ho Chi Minh City to me) gave up with little fighting. I came home a bitter angry drunk. It took a long time, and a failed marriage to get me on the right track. I am now remarried and retired and haven’t had a drink in 35 years, Some things to remember: for the Afghan vets. If you did the best you could , there is nothing more you could have done. Nothing you did would have changed the outcome. Lots of Americans will not appreciate you — that’s their problem, not yours. I hope you have better luck with jobs than many of us did, but don’t expect undying gratitude from American businesses. If somebody tries to put you down, just look at the source and ignore them. Taking drugs and alcohol is probably the wrong way to go. If you can use alcohol properly, good for you. I couldn’t. Have a great life. You deserve it.

  12. John Knox August 17, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    Learn that the war was a scam to make money for people who were already rich. Our guys died for nothing.

  13. Marshall Kloepfer August 17, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    My comments are also not being posted by the VA. Sorry for being so honest. Only certain opinions are allowed, eh?

    • John Knox August 17, 2021 at 6:06 pm

      Same here. Obviously the gov’t only listens to good news. That’s how we got stuck over there in the first place!

  14. John Doe August 17, 2021 at 1:16 pm

    The government screwed Viet Nam Vets then, their going to screw you now!!

  15. Russell Bourke August 17, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    The VA is not going to post what I have written because its the truth. If you do not want the truth then stop making this bulletin board available, RATS!

    • Marshall Kloepfer August 17, 2021 at 1:59 pm

      Hello, they keep removing my comments as well. Honesty is something our government and Military don’t completely appreciate, especially from those of us that served.

  16. Russell Bourke August 17, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    I served in Viet Nam (1969-1970). I volunteered to enter the service and saw the Russians while in Germany invade Czechkoslavkia and then off to Viet Nam where the Communist Chinese pushed into the country. My tour of duty is an exemplar of how things went wrong: let’s start with General Westmoreland a great patriot and Commander. The mission under Westmoreland was ” search and destroy” and we did that with valor, Then cometh the Demon Richard Nixon who reappointed the command position with General Abrams whose mission was ” win their hearts and minds” Chieu Hoi, don’t shoot at the enemy and treat them well (1970). I personally received a copy of the Nixon memo in the field marking the end for me of what I thought might be a military career. Now Abrams comes from a long line of military people who served in prior conflicts and from what I can see they served honorably which does not sit well with me. I reject the cowardice of Richard Nixon and the criminal intent of the political elite, the screw tops who follow in their shoes and the medical tyranny that is now upon us by the same people who start all the other conflicts around the globe.
    The issue today iz not new, the Chinese are behind much of what is happening in Afghanistan and Joe Biden ids helping them the same way Richard Nixon helped them take S. Viet Nam.
    Wake up people , we are being sold out again and victimized by the same group of people that would send your kid off to die.

    Our problems are with the Chinese Han Clan and we have this problem now because we failed to deal with them in Viet Nam. Plain and simple, we know who the enemy is and Americans who take the side of China and their allies clearly are our enemy. Nixon sold us down the river to the Chinese and ade Mr New World Order George Bush China Ambassador ( gee, what a coincidence) and George Bush brought us the subordinated America to this crap of a kinder gentler nation. Get real people and recognize the liars for what they are.
    I saved a copy of this post for legal purposes.

  17. Tim S. Smith August 17, 2021 at 10:54 am

    I served in Vietnam during the Easter Offensive of 1972 and was there when the cease fire took effect at 0800, 28 January, 1973. The images of the eventual fall of Saigon and the ensuing chaos of the evacuation of U.S. and Vietnamese personnel were widely televised in 1975 and became iconic symbols of our failed state building efforts in that country. Almost 50-years later and history is repeating itself in an eerily similar fashion.
    Hardly a day passes when I don’t think about shipmates and comrades, some of whom did not return home, and the ultimate futility of their sacrifices. It is tough believing that what you did, and what they did was all in vain. But like a deep wound, time heals, the intense pain subsides, and all that remains is a scar and a reminder of what was.
    Afghan veterans: Don’t let the folly of politicians besmirch your honor. You served and performed your duty, as soldiers are called to do. And these were not your wars nor mine to win or lose. Peace be with you, brothers and sisters.

  18. Marshall Kloepfer August 17, 2021 at 10:47 am

    I served in 65-67 and knew nothing was to be gained by our troops occupying Nam. In Afghanistan: 2,372 US Military casualties, 20.000+ servicemen wounded. It is time to go home. I am very proud of our president to have the courage to pull us out of another immoral occupation. If the Afghanistan government and it’s people are unable to pull together after 20 years of US assistance, it’s time for us to leave. Ask yourself: What was lost? What was gained? Thank you to all my brothers and sisters who served so honorably. Welcome home!

    • Curtis Cunningham August 25, 2021 at 11:55 pm

      Why are you proud of the President? His senate votes in 2001 were what got us into that mess.

  19. kenneth mason August 17, 2021 at 10:23 am

    Learn from Viet Vets?? I thought the United States was supposed to have learned from Viet Nam? Guess we didn’t. It is little wonder why vets are becoming so eager and apt to turn their fighting skills against the government that sent them into these hellholes. I wonder if another ‘Agent Orange-like substance will be discovered? I wonder how long it will be debated before vets get any kind of benefits. It would seem as if the entire military experience is producing more and more collateral damage. Much of it stress-related. Many of us are dealing with prostate cancer but are not able to have a convenient target like A.O. My hearing is finally happening after 2/3 plus years. I have no boots on the ground, only memories of using motor pool by-products to keep weeds down in our fall-out area, and parking lot area. Also, I don’t recall many men asking their 1st Sgt or C.O. about what kind of materials/solvents we were using. The bunkers I guarded had no billboards posted with a list of harmful contents. kapmson12

  20. Stephen Johnson August 17, 2021 at 10:21 am

    I had it easy; temporary duty running radar on a mountain top. Some evenings, I could go outside and watch the C-130 miniguns from a distance when the air picture wasn’t in my face on the radar screen. It was towards the end in 69 when Viet Nam was all winding down. When I returned to Clark AB, I got orders to go Stateside as Nixon more or less disbanded 5th TAC. Some of my best friends weren’t so lucky. They had gotten temporary duty one after the other. I learned Washington authorized that and underhandedly didn’t think they had to count “Temporary Duty” as numbers of soldiers deployed to Viet Nam. Politicians got to tell the USA public what they wanted to hear; there were less numbers of soldiers in the war. Trust is a funny thing. While in Viet Nam I “sorta” trusted a Viet Nam barber on base to cut my hair. He used a straight edge to trim the sideburns and back of my neck. I smiled a little to myself when I left the shop and asked myself “Was I a little uneasy about that”? Humor is always a good companion in any war or stressful situation. I heard two weeks later, he was found floating in the bay with HIS throat slit! Was he the Enemy; a Collaborator? Who knows! But some of my military acquaintances of the “Temporary Duty kind”, ended up with some PTSD. Today they’re doing fine. But they’re angry with the military; mistrusting it, One stood his ground when he thought he was treated wrongly then got demoted for it, And I’m guessing he doesn’t agree with my love for the USA Military. Someone with an extreme amount of brilliance once said, “War Is Hell” ! When I signed up for the military, I asked for nothing in return. I do so admire those who have made vast efforts through this program and others; helping those soldiers in need, I understand that effort! I am the happiest of old soldiers giving back through the VA Volunteer Program and hope to continue as long as I’m able. I highly recommend it to others. When the heart feels really good, the brain goes along with it. God Bless America!!!

  21. Eric Martin August 17, 2021 at 10:03 am

    I’m a Vietnam era veteran, and I want to remind all of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, that you were successful in your mission of keeping our homeland safe.

    Despite all the recent confusing and upsetting news, YOUR SERVICE WAS FOR A PURPOSE. Don’t forget that.

    ALL Americans are thankful.

  22. Daniel Chabot August 17, 2021 at 9:41 am

    As a fellow veteran (Gulf War) I weep for your suffering, and for all the suffering in war. We don’t all serve for the same reason, but we all do our duty.
    My faith in Jesus Christ gives me hope for a final justice for all. In the mean time I weep for you and me, and pray for peace, but i know it will not come until He returns with justice in his hand. May God grant you peace in your inward man, and patience as we wait for the redemption of our souls.

  23. Richard August 17, 2021 at 8:42 am

    Alas. It’s like Deja vu! Politics vs lives.: 1972- 2.5 million US & 1 million S. Vietnamese. 2008-30,000 US & 300,000 Afghan.. Same outcome. Difference? They threw garbage at us when we got home. Called us baby killers! I hid my army background & was depressed.
    Today, people stop & thank me for my service. It was freaky, but I felt an awakening. I hope my comrades in arms can find solace that we ALL support & love them.

  24. Chuck Harris August 17, 2021 at 8:20 am

    I had a hard time as Viet Nam fell in ’75. I had a worse time when Viet Nam nearly fell during the ’72 “Easter Offensive” while on my second tour as a helicopter pilot. I feel great pain, and respect for Afghan vets, and especially their families. “Was it worth it?” will forever be with them.

    As a society, we build monuments to our war dead. But nothing to honor the mentally and physically wounded (vets AND families), and certainly nothing for those who work trying to prevent needless and/or needlessly long wars. We now all have a lifetime to work at making the “Afghan War” worth it by not repeating the thinking that created it. Welcome home. And may you find, and work for peace.

  25. alfred yudes, jr August 17, 2021 at 5:38 am

    I was on an MSO, later a PG and then Operation Endsweep in the Spring of ’73. We relied on each other and our extended Navy family.Even though we were not then respected, we learned and America learned, that the sailors, marines, airmen and soldiers did a great job and are not responsible for what their elected leaders do,
    And it took the North about 2 years to overrun the South after we pulled out of Viet Nam, and might not have happened then if congress had kept supporting the South.

  26. MICHAEL james O'CONNOR August 17, 2021 at 1:37 am

    it ain’t no thang

  27. Bill Crumrine August 17, 2021 at 12:45 am

    S.O.S. – translates to the Same Old S… I am beginning to believe a Constitutional Amendment is needed requiring every Congressman, federal judge, and definitely the President of the United States to be a veteran -serving at least two years active duty. I think there should be term limits to every U.S. Representative of 8-years and out, the same applies to Senators, two-six year terms and repeal the 17th Amendment and allow the state legislatures to appoint the U.S. Senators, as originally written in Constitution. To me the best and biggest repeal would be the 16th Amendment. By repealing it, Congress wouldn’t have the money for foreign adventures that only leave us enemies around the world plus broken mentally and physically military personnel. The American taxpayers have been bilked untold amounts of money and a national debt beyond anything our Founding Fathers could have imagined. This would help reduce, if not eliminate big government, big business, and big labor to more reasonable sizes. If there should be a corporate tax, make it high enough, where only those corporations that send jobs oversees and import foreign manufactured goods, pay it. Repealing the 16th and 17th Amendments would reduce, if not eliminate lobbyists and big corporations, and hopefully outside money to support low-life politicians.

    I am a Vietnam veteran who made two tours, aboard the U.S.S. Hepburn (DE-1055) and did reserve duty aboard the U.S.S. Tripoli, an LPH, in February 1976, where it served during the 1975 American surrender of Vietnam. The photographs of infants, without parents who stayed behind, the shoved over helicopters, the whole mess, of American cut and run evacuation was sadistic, sickening, and Satanic.

  28. Daniel Bobb August 16, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    Well, it’s not that anyone trusted us (The USA) all that much before but after leaving the countries (2) that were trusting us to save them, we deserted them and left all the militarty equipment the enemies needed to retakeover these two countrys. The creditability of the USA is shot in the butt and most likely will never be trusted again. Who can blame any country to not trust us? We’re like sharks waiting to see who we can devour and if we can’t gain anything from OUR ORDEALS well we just leave them to wind to solve their own problems at long last! If I were of service age I would tell the USA to stuff it where the sun don’t shine in referance to ever joining the United States Military. I served in Viet Nam as a combat medic. I wonder now if this country is still worth defending. Be careful how you treat your “Friends.” Remember how ‘karma” has a way of coming back around and biting you in the butt!.

  29. Crux J. Calvillo August 16, 2021 at 9:57 pm

    I was with the 180th Helicopter company. I was only 18. I wondered to myself, what the hell are we doing here. You couldn’t trust any of the locals. I caught our Vietnam lady stealing supplies to take to the Vietnam Con. I turned her over to her people and was executed right in front of me. I flew some missions as a door gunner. I was a supply specialist. I was an expert with the M16 and hand to hand combat.
    The return home was a nightmare. At the airport I was was called a baby killer and I was spit on. What a way to come home. And it still continues to this day. I am proud to have served my country. And those people who spit on me can go to hell.

  30. Al Krause August 16, 2021 at 9:39 pm

    I was drafted and served in Vietnam as a Combat Infantryman with the Recon Platoon, Echo Company, 5th BN/7th Cav, 1st Air Cav from 1970-1971. The first thing Iraq and Afghan veterans need to remember is that the US has not won a war since WW II – 80 years ago. Why? Because politicians get us into wars with no clear plans about the goal of the war or any plans for ending and getting out of the war.. During the war military officers in the chain of command conducting the war ignore the reality on the ground and lie about the status of the war to the American public, congress and the President. And what do we do ? We carry on and do our assigned tasks to the best of our ability and hope that we and our comrades in arms get home alive and unharmed. That’s the way it is. Those that came home harmed from Vietnam got no sympathy and little care. Iraq and Afghan vets should seek out and use the help they have available. Remember the song by Edwin Starr: War, what is it good for, absolutely nothing.

    • Bob Farrell August 17, 2021 at 5:01 pm

      I agree with with most of what you said and I am also a Vietnam vet with the 173rd and I can’t believe it is happening once again. I knew the collapse of Vietnam was going to happen as I fought with the Vietnamese army and knew that they wouldn’t fight without us and knew my Purple Heart was for nothing. I truly believe it is time for the USA should never and I mean never get involved with another country’s political system. I can also know how sorry I am for the Afghan vets and want to thank them for their service. If they need to talk to someone there is plenty of help at V.A. Hospitals and it sure help me. I knew the army would fail but it was faster than I thought and it was great the teliban who took over this country without a single shoot being fired. They also have all of the equipment that we left behind.

  31. badjoe242 August 16, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    I don’t know why I read this today but Vietnam was one word for me and has nothing to do with respect please don’t insult me. Many South of the south who worked on the bases were murdered within 2 months of departure. and as for this country abandoning me there is no forgiveness for them. When you in it you are engulfed not above. 50 years changes nothing except for the frauds, the posers, and the traitors. When I Look at someone my age I know who did not serve I know some how they were privileged. To bad the best died and I am left with the pieces. Not a complaint just an observation. They hung us out to dry or tryied to shut us up with multitudes of drugs, but some of us weren’t buying it. have a fun day.

  32. Chet Diercks August 16, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    Can’t believe we’ve done it again. I could’ve spent 70-74 with my life back home. It really hurts to see us repeat the mistakes of the past. At least I came back to an ungrateful nation with all my external parts intact. I can’t imagine the confusion of today’s troop s after 2, 3,, 4 tours to watch it melt. When will we commit to winning or stay the hell out?

  33. Victor Sellers August 16, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    Those taking over Afghanistan will slaughter thousands and thousands of ALL those who helped us in any way. Public Executions will be all over the news if the media don’t hide it to protect this administration’s failure, as it has already done over and over. This is a sickening reality of the evil existing in the Taliban.

  34. RKO PATRIOT August 16, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    We Vets DO NOT need another bird brain in the white house, who does not have the mental toughness to lead! it is my opinion that Biden is brain dead.
    Now AFghans will be shot dead in the street because Biden just doesnt care . After all He maybe getting PAID by the Taliban to just let go!

  35. Davidson August 16, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    The Afghan generation that got to grow under US protection didn’t get a voice in their future also we didn’t give the negotiations time between the Afghan government and Taliban. Also to secure our future security against aggression from China, Russia and Iran a permanent installation is now no longer possible.

  36. Yaakov (J. W.) Kayman August 16, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    I served during the Vietnam War, but not IN Vietnam. This, to me, is 1975 all over again, America’s
    ignominous retreat and a slap in the faces of all who served there, and to the surviving family members of all who made the ultimate sacrifice.

  37. john hazelett August 16, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Our government has failed the brave women and men who fought ad sacrificed for our country. the leadership of this country is now at an all time low with stupidity running the country or stupidity telling the leaders what to do. I’m so stressed out right now knowing what i went through in Vietnam that I feel helpless and defeated. How could i ever send a grandkid to fight for this country with a clear mind. i intend to speak with a psych again to help me see the meaning in it all.

  38. George Hill August 16, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    God Bless and welcome home. You all served proudly and honorably and your sacrifices have saved so many lives . What happens now is the responsibility of one man, and we all know who that is. Stupidity and cowardice should not go unpunished but sadly will. All religious groups will now be slaughtered and thousands of others will meet similar fates.. but let all know you have saved so many over the years because of your bravery and dedication. This is just another war where our leader lacked the testicular fortitude to do the right thing, the right way. God Bless all of you and thank you for your selfless service.

  39. Ted August 16, 2021 at 7:43 pm

    Like us, they can learn to be bitter too…

  40. George Hill August 16, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    Welcome back all those who so bravely gave of themselves. You have sacrificed for those who could not defend themselves from the murderous scum, Who believe killing others in the name of religion is what their god approves. Whatever happens now is the direct responsibility of one person, and everyone knows who that is. He and his ilk are loathsome and too dumb to know it. God Bless all of you and thank you for your honorable service.

  41. james Rogers August 16, 2021 at 7:14 pm

    So what the hell was all this FOR.!!!! This is just another blackened eye on the world stage for the US, Korea, VietNam Afghanistan, Iraq. We never finish anything, I’ve been questioning everything since ISIS in Iraq, wow my heart goes out to all the gold star families my heart goes out to all the wounded and my brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate sacrifice. 1st Cav hooah.

  42. Samuel Freeman, Ph.D. August 14, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    Sadly, the meaning of Afghanistan is the same as the meaning of Viet Nam (2 words, not 1; we should have some respect).

    As we said in Viet Nam, “Don’t mean nothin'”.

    My brothers and sisters suffer because we were sent to fight wars that never should have been fought. If we find meaning and purpose, it was in doing the best we could to protect human life, especially the lives of our brothers and sisters. I was fortunate in Viet Nam in many ways. Most importantly, I saved more lives than I took. That offers some solace, but 50 years after my return, the wounds still are fresh. And for what?

    I feel deeply for those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope they receive better help than we received; and 50 years later they are not tormented by their wounds–physical, mental and emotional.

  43. Jim Nance August 13, 2021 at 5:19 pm

    Yes Afghanistan, just another Viet Nam. The Industrial Military Complex that the only five star general, and president warned us about, would not only leave those who helped us behind. It would of left our soldiers behind as it does with the weapons, and equipment it supplied. Just look at the Taliban riding around in Hum V’s. with our weapons. At least we have the V.A. for some help in repairing our own casualty’s. it has helped my PTSD, along with other Nam Vet’s and those who returned from other military actions.

  44. Ken brrg August 13, 2021 at 9:42 am

    Same thing on the kit Carson’s ( III corp / 1969 and 1970 25 infantry division .

  45. Michael Don Williams August 12, 2021 at 11:33 am

    Welcome Home to all Veterans and Thank you for serving !!

    Vet Centers were slow to get out of the chute in many communities, due to state and federal oversight however…it improved.

    Our local communities offer support to all campaigns and their counterpart Era military personnel,

    Independent and campaign oriented organizations are thankfully growing and truly an asset for our Veteran Brothers and Sisters, reintegration is and will continue to be a challenge.

    Remember that never again, will a veteran have to be unrepresented.
    Be aware and cautious however still, walk in easy and connect, a neighboring elder Veteran will have your 6 or guide you to point.

  46. John H August 12, 2021 at 9:35 am

    Where does it leave Gulf War vets? What’s the point of staying over there where our troops get hurt and killed?
    That heroes’ welcome back to the States in 1997 is just a hard reminder of some great folks who didn’t come home. You can’t erase the memory or the grief, although the show of support was very generous and thoughtful.
    I feel that certain campaign veterans just get swept under the rug, especially when there’s no forseeable positive outcome to us having been there.

  47. Tim Zerr August 11, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    Very nice to see a picture of some of the important clinicians from the first few years of the Vet Center. I was trained by some of them after graduate school. We implemented what worked for treatments with war trauma, many of which are still used today. We had to fight the politicians to keep the program open for war vets who would not go to VA mental health. After Reagan left office our program was less attacked and started slowly to become accepted by the mainstream VA mental health clinicians and administrators. Keep up the good work folks.

  48. Ralph Priest August 11, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    I am a veteran who served in Vietnam in 1969-70. The withdrawal from Afghanistan reminds me of our withdrawal from Vietnam. I am concerned about the civilians who supported us in Afghanistan and hope that they will be better treated than the Chieu Hoi (Kit Carson) scouts that I worked with in III Corps.

    • David Dubin August 12, 2021 at 4:05 pm

      I agree completely. We cannot refuse to help those men and women who helped American forces at risk of their own safety. If we don’t keep our promises to them, who will trust us in the future?

    • Samuel Freeman, Ph.D. August 14, 2021 at 12:25 pm

      Welcome home Brother. We were there at the same time. I was in III Corps too, as an advisor to a company of the ARVN Airborne.

      Like you, I am very concerned, once again, the U.S. will abandon many/most of those who worked for us. Once the war ended, our South Viet Namese compatriots were not treated kindly by the North Viet Namese. But I fear Afghans and their families will be treated much worse by the Taliban.

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