Gerald Dolloff, Vietnam veteran
Springfield, Massachusetts, USA
Your series on Vietnam, not all of which I have been able to hear, unfortunately, has still jarred loose some memories. The story on 4/20 regarding the reconciliation of the 2 Vietnams was particularly poignant, although not as much so as the tapes by the3 Marine Lance Corporal. The sights, sounds and "feel" of Vietnam return every so often with startling clarity. A particular shade of blue in the sky, a particularly humid day, a whiff of rotting vegitation all aserve as reminders of a place I was in 33 years ago. The country, itself, if you factor out such things as an intrinsically basic
infrastructure,and an on-going war, is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been in. I recall, as a young Infantryman with the 1st Cavalry Division, patrolling the area in the Central Highlands and the Bong Son Plain, where there were myriads of pastoral settings albeit with constant reminders of war, both from the French Indochina War and the US involvement. The sounds, as related in the Baronoski tapes, were as real as perhaps anyone can remember, sounds that will resonate through the rest of the lives of anyone who spent time pulling night duty on the perimeter, or who dove for cover at the first sound of incoming rounds. I remember the sound of rockets and mortars landing on the "Golf Course" at An Khe, the sight and sound of M-60's firing tracers in the heat of a firefight, the smell of cordite from ammuniton, often accompanied by the peculiar smell of burned vegetation, after a grenade or bomb explosion. At any rate, you are producing something that needs to be told, and re-told, lest we ever forget the sacrifices made by the soldiers of all the warring factions. I hold no animosity for those against whom we fought. In retrospect, we were all doing what we thought was the right thing.