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VIETNAM VETERANS Responses To A Recent Survey

Written and submitted by CCNM’s Youth Reporter Teaera Change

TeaeraRecently, I conducted a questionnaire for a few Vietnam veterans to answer. The questionnaire consisted of a few key questions I’m sure we all would like to know the answers to. To protect their privacy, none of their names or pictures will be presented in this article. I would also like to thank my grandfather once again for helping me receive these answers from some of his group friends.

 

1ST Vietnam Vet:

Me: How is life after Vietnam?

Vet: Changed

Me: Do you think Chicago supports Vietnam veterans to the best of their ability?

Vet: Not at that time.

Me: If there is one thing you could change about the way the city of Chicago treats Vietnam veterans what would it be?

Vet: Respect for the service.

Me: Do people tend to treat you differently since they know that you’re a veteran and in what way?

Vet: Yes, lack of recognition for my service.`

Me: How old were you when you went into service?

Vet: 18 years of age

Me: Were you in combat?

Vet: Yes

Me: What branch did you go into?

Vet: United States Marine Core (USMC)

Me: Why did you decide to go into service?

Vet: To better my life.

Me: What benefits did you get as a result of your military service?

Vet: Education, home ownership, and compensation for physical and mental trauma.

Me: Do you suffer from Post Traumatic Distress (PTSD) If so, what complications do you suffer from?

Vet: Yes, sleepless nights, paranoia, up late spells.

Me: How long have you been in these group meetings and are they really helping you in any way?

Vet: I have been in meetings for 9 years, and they have been very helpful. I can now control my anger.

 

2nd Vietnam Vet:

Me: How is life after Vietnam?

Vet: War on a new front!

Me: Do you think Chicago supports Vietnam veterans to the best of their ability?

Vet: No!

Me: If there is one thing you could change about the way the city of Chicago treats Vietnam veterans what would it be?

Vet: Address homelessness, and put vets to work.

Me: Do people tend to treat you differently since they know that you’re a veteran and in what way?

Vet: People are apprehensive, stereotypical, and negative of combat vets.

Me: How old were you when you went into service?

Vet: I was 20 years old (1966-1968)

Me: Were you in combat?

Vet: Yes! U.S Paratrooper 101st Airborne Division Vietnam 1967

Me: What branch did you go into?

Vet: U.S Army

Me: Why did you go into the service?

Vet: I was seduced by a recruiter into believing I would be defending democracy.

Me: What benefits did you get as a result of your military service?

Vet: After fighting close to 35 years, I finally was compensated with full educational, hospital, and monetary award. Vietnam was never declared a war!

Me: Do you suffer from Post Traumatic Distress (PTSD)? If so, what complications do you suffer from?

Vet: Yes, I suffer from hyper vigilance, anxiety, high blood pressure, nightmares, night sweats, isolation, emotional numbness, and anger

Me: How long have you been in these group meetings and are they really helping you in any way?

Vet: I’ve been in these group meetings for 10 years, and yes they help me! My coping skills have developed to a level that I can deal with daily problems in a much better way than prior to group. I can identify symptoms of stress and process them much better than just reacting (most of the time). I also realize that I have to take medications that are prescribed for me, so I do. We process our trauma in a group. A shooting in a public place or home in society just requires treatment. We as combat soldiers who were subjected to this everyday that we were in combat. Our jobs were search and destroy missions (find the enemy and kill them)!