Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was one of the longest and most controversial wars fought by the U.S. military. The war began in 1957 and ended in 1975. The goal was to help South Vietnam prevent the spread of communism coming from the North Vietnamese. The U.S. involvement was intended to be minimal, but we continued to send troops as the war dragged on. Many U.S. soldiers who served in Vietnam lost their lives or suffered long-term effects such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and illnesses due to exposure to Agent Orange. Unlike troops of other wars, Vietnam Veterans were treated disrespectfully and not given the tribute they rightfully deserved.

The veterans featured on the right of this page, were drafted into this unpopular war. Yet each rose above the controversy and made the most out of every experience. SPC George Criel was awarded 22 Air-Medals for serving as Crew Chief on an unprecedented number of armed helicopter missions. Cpl Dennis Gackowski was a highly trained interpreter who fostered positive relations with the Vietnamese people, and SGT James Lumsden built the strongest U. S. radio station in all of Vietnam. This website pays tribute to these Vietnam Heroes because it’s time for us to listen to and value their stories.

In fact, President Obama paid special tribute to the Vietnam Veterans on Memorial Day 2012 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In his nationally televised speech, President Obama recalled the sacrifices of the troops who served there and the unjust blame that was heaped upon them.

President Obama stated, “It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened. That’s why we’re here today; we resolve that it will not happen again. You were often blamed for a war you didn’t start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor. The 50th anniversary is another chance to set the record straight and tell your story as should have been told all along”.

To this end, this website pays tribute to our Vietnam American heroes by allowing them to tell their first-hand accounts of their experiences, challenges, and accomplishments. Their stories tell of positive contributions to the Vietnamese people, to fellow comrades, and to the war effort. The videos tell how they risked it all with courage and dignity.

As the interviewer for the Veterans History Project, I’m honored to hear the one-on-one successes each veteran accomplished in Vietnam. Regardless of the public’s negative perception of the war and the absent homecomings, these veterans said they were proud of their service and would do it all again.

To view the Vietnam War Memorial, visit: