, Gloucester, MA


April 12, 2013

Letter: Veterans event Saturday brings back memories

To the editor:

Sipping my coffee this morning and reading my Gloucester Daily Times, the story and ad for Saturday’s “Operation: Commitment To our Troops” program sent me back in time.

It was in July 1971 that I took a lonely flight from Seattle back home to Somerville. My ears were still ringing from

artillery rounds and impacting rockets. I could not close my eyes without seeing firebase Vandergrift. All I got was icy stares from the people racing through the airport in Seattle, and Chicago.

Even the airport lounge bartenders had no offers of a drink or a handshake. “We do not care that you just came from Vietnam, no driver’s license no service,” was all I heard.

I found my way home, but I did not stay long, I had the need to report back to duty to finish my time in

Germany. I wore my uniform with pride for over a year in Germany received my Honorable discharge as a Spec/5. It was in December 1972 that I was walking through the New Jersey airport that the icy stares returned once again no handshakes, “no state driver’s license no service; your military ID is not good here.”

In 1974, unemployed and seeking a job I sat in front of a desk as “the hiring man” read my application. Part time jobs all though high school. Then I enlisted into (as in joined not drafted) the Army. The man looked me in the

eyes and said “You do not have a work history. We cannot call part-time jobs in high school and being in the Army as real jobs. Sorry we cannot hire you.”

I did not leave quietly, and in 1975, with the fall of Saigon, I ended up in the VA Hospital in Boston the beginning of years

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