WHERE HAVE ALL THE VIETNAM WAR (DRAFT) WAR PROTESTORS GONE?
By Joe “Ragman” Tarnovsky STAFF WRITER Veterans Today
Where have all the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors gone? I have not seen them around for the past 35 years, could it be that many of them, especially the male baby boomers and their girlfriends, were really protesting the draft and the very idea that they would have to serve a cause greater than themselves? During the Vietnam War the (DRAFT) protestors harangued us with their sermons about being anti-war, they ranted about how depraved and corrupt our system of government was and how we should all embrace peace, love and turn our backs on materialism. They talked and acted as if they knew so much more than the rest of us, like they had all the answers for the problems of the world and they were anti-establishment and anti-military.
As the war in Vietnam wound down the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors seemed to experience an epiphany, and their throbbing moral and peace loving consciences subsided in direct proportion to the threat of their own safety. As American ground combat operations became non-existent and the war itself ended, the protestors disappeared from the demonstration scene and became a part of the evil system so vehemently opposed by them during the war. Let’s take a look back at the world after the war ended in Southeast Asia and see what the Vietnam War (Draft) protestors did not think was important enough to stand up on college campuses, or in the streets, to shout out their displeasure of, and how they just remained silent because subsequent global events did not or would not directly affect them.
Immediately after the gutless politicians failed to vote for war funding to the South Vietnamese government, our ally took its last breath on April 30, 1975. The United States government airlifted as many of the South Vietnamese citizens it could that had close ties with the American military out of the country, they would have paid a steep price for their loyalty to America by the conquering North Vietnamese. The number of repatriated refugees was small though, in comparison to the South Vietnamese boat people that fled communism in, and on, anything that would float.
Many boat people thought it was far better to risk their lives for freedom then to be one of the about 1,000,000 individuals imprisoned in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) re-education camps or herded into new economic zones. Estimates and studies show that 165,000 Vietnamese that supported the South Vietnamese government died in captivity and many more were tortured and abused by the conquering North Vietnamese. The boat people also consisted of ethic Chinese living in the former South Vietnam and these people felt they were being targeted by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s government authorities, so they joined the Vietnamese boat people fleeing the North Vietnamese communists.
This floating mass of humanity had to contend with the forces of nature on the high seas and pirates. Many of the boat people were robbed, murdered and raped by Thai pirates and their plight became an international crisis because it involved so much human suffering and death. I remember 60 Minutes correspondent, Ed Bradley, somewhere on a coast in Southeast Asia, doing a segment on the boat people for the TV show 60 Minutes and what they had to endure, when Mr. Bradley could not separate the line between journalism and compassion and ran into the raging surf to help these people trying to get ashore to freedom. This flotilla of human suffering on the high seas shattered one of the main faux pas excuses the Vietnam War (Draft) protestors used to justify their avoidance of the war in Vietnam, that the South Vietnamese did not want the American military there and did not care if they lived under a communist or democratic government. By the way, did anybody see or hear the Vietnam War (Draft) protestors speaking out about the plight, brutality and murder of these South Vietnamese that were herded into re-education camps? How about the boat people? Where were the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors when the South Vietnamese boat people suffered physical, mental and emotional abuse by the Thai pirates, including murder and rape, as they fled the North Vietnamese communists? Many South Vietnamese wanted America’s help to stop communism and sought to live in a democracy, the courage and tenacity of the boat people proved it, which includes large numbers of South Vietnamese communities that live in America today. One thing is for sure, if the politicians and bureaucrats had allowed the United States military to do their job and did not micro manage the war from Washington, DC and the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong had not been given the incentive to just hold on by the actions of the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors that denounced our involvement trying to stop communists aggression at every opportunity, there would not have been any boat people and South Vietnam would still be a democratic nation in existence today.
During the fall of South Vietnam and the mass exodus of the South Vietnamese boat people seeking freedom, Pol Pot and his communist thugs came to power in Cambodia and estimates vary between one up to three million Cambodians dying in the killing fields. About 200,000 of these people were executed by the Khmer Rouge and figures show an estimated 2.2 million people in this country died from policies carried out by Pol Pot and his killers. Many of the Cambodian deaths were from disease and starvation. Entire populations of cities in this war ravaged country were uprooted and sent to labor in the rice fields where many of them perished. Did anybody see or hear the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors bringing attention of this murderous rampage by this gangster, Pol Pot? In 1979, Vietnam invaded Cambodia and threw the despot Pol Pot out of power and set up a Vietnamese backed government.
The United States and Thailand then aided rebels, of the former Khmer Rouge, to over throw the current regime in Cambodia that were the alleged puppets of Vietnam. These were the same Khmer Rouge that took part in the deaths of about 2,000,000 of their own citizens but nary a peep was heard out of the Vietnam War (Draft) protestors, who only a few years before were marching and screaming in the streets about how immoral the United States military was by sending troops to fight communism in South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and how the South Vietnamese government was a brutal dictatorship and a puppet of American imperialism.
Pol Pot and his gangsters went about their business of controlling and killing the Cambodian population and then our government backed the very same killers, the Khmer Rouge, to oust the North Vietnamese, but the Vietnam War (Draft) protestors went about their daily lives as if nothing was happening and uttered not a word of contempt about the “killing fields” or our government giving military aid to the Khmer Rouge. The massacre of the Cambodian people was one more tragedy that would have never occurred if the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington would have let the United States military complete the mission to help our ally, South Vietnam, but those on Capitol Hill were as gutless and self-centered as the Vietnam War (Draft) protestors and left the Cambodian people to fend for themselves just as they did the South Vietnamese
Ronald Reagan took office in 1981 and immediately had to face a power struggle between the government forces on the island nation of Grenada and rebels supported by the Cubans, communism vs. democracy. Reagan had our Marines, Paratroopers and Rangers invade the island in what was called Operation Urgent Fury but the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors did not invade the streets of America in mass protest. Where were they? Reagan was fighting a part of the evil empire, communism, the enemy that Reagan detested which was the same enemy America’s Vietnam Veterans were fighting in South Vietnam years before, but the protestors were silent.
It was just a little over a decade earlier when the United States was trying to achieve the same objective in South Vietnam as Reagan was going to do in Grenada, stopping the flow of communism throughout the free world, but the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors massed in large numbers to protest our involvement in South Vietnam but now they were silent about the invasion of Grenada. Could it be that with a volunteer military and no threat of having to serve, the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors were now oblivious to current events? I wonder how many of these protestors that voted for liberal, left wing Eugene McCarthy in 1968 now voted for conservative, right wing Reagan?
The Middle East was in the headlines again with people fighting and dying when Reagan took office and our 40th president decided to send the Marines into Beirut, Lebanon on a peace keeping mission and the situation quickly took a turn for the worse. Our country lost 241 patriotic and honorable American military personnel when they died from a suicide bomber that drove an explosive truck bomb into the barracks where they were sleeping. Of those killed, 220 were Marines, 18 were in the Navy and 3 were Army deaths and it was the largest single loss of life for the United States Marine Corps since World War 2. Let me repeat that, the largest single loss of life for the United States Marine Corps since World War 2 and the Vietnam War (Draft) protestors were silent and nowhere to be found. I did not see any of the hippies or the college crowd of the 60’s, turned yuppies in the 80’s, take to the streets. They did not question why Reagan sent our armed forces into Beirut and why our country lost these honorable men, but they berated Johnson and Nixon at every chance they could when it came to the war in Vietnam, the war that they were threatened with having to serve in, but now with no chance of having to sacrifice in Beirut, the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors were silent.
Let’s not forget the Iran-Contra scandal either, as Reagan circumvented the law to sell weapons illegally to Iran and then used the funds to aid the CONTRAS, who were anti communists in Nicaragua and fighting the Cuban communist backed Sandinistas at the time. Albeit, terrorists in Lebanon who were backed by the Iranians held seven American hostages in Beirut and Reagan’s advisors thought this backdoor dealing might sway the Iranians to influence the terrorists they supported in Lebanon, the Hezbollah, to help with the release of the hostages.
Historians say Reagan convinced himself he was not negotiating with terrorists holding the American hostages so as not to break a campaign promise of never negotiating with terrorists (yes, you read that correctly), so a deal was struck to sell arms to Iran, who at the time was fighting Iraq, which violated a trade embargo in the United States. Three hostages did make it home after this “behind the door” deal but three more were then abducted. With resignations and firings in the Reagan Administration rampant over this fiasco, where were the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors? These protestors, so many of them followers of Eugene McCarthy and so far left that they disappeared from the political spectrum when the war in Vietnam was taking place and there was a military draft, became the conservative, right wing chicken hawks as they worshiped the ground that Reagan walked on.
They considered him a god when there were no ongoing wars they might have to participate in as the military draft was a fading memory and their chances of having to commit to a cause greater than themselves was nil. Why did they not berate Reagan like they did Nixon when Watergate took place? Wait a minute, Reagan is hailed as their hero because his goal was to eliminate communism world wide and to replace it with capitalistic democracies, wasn’t that what the United States was trying to achieve in South Vietnam? Wasn’t North Vietnam an ally of what Reagan later dubbed the “evil empire? Here’s a 1964 quote from Reagan about the Vietnam War:
“We are at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it has been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.”
When Reagan refers to those who had the most to lose and did the least to prevent its happening, is he referring to those who burned their draft cards and carried the flags of the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong during their demonstrations against the war (DRAFT) while the people representing those flags they were carrying were killing Americans? Is he referring to the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors that made crank phone calls to families that had sons fighting in South Vietnam, while impersonating military officials, and informing the families that their loved ones were killed in action? Isn’t it amazing with the passage of time, the lack of a military draft and a hot “bull market” on Wall Street, how it will shift the values and political beliefs of people and turn left wing liberals into right wing conservative jingoist!
George H. Bush took over the Oval Office after Reagan and Operation Just Cause was carried out in December of 1989. The United States took military action against the country of Panama and ousted General Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian dictator. The invasion of Panama went off without so much as a whimper from the baby boomer DRAFT protestors from the Vietnam War. Where were they? Surely their vision that war is “unhealthy to all living things” pertained to Panama just as it did to Vietnam? One would think so but we all now why they did not stand up and show their displeasure, they were no longer threatened of having to perform military service, there was not a DRAFT and the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors just went about their lives as if nothing was happening. If this military operation had involved South Vietnam when they were eligible for military service, do you think their laissez-faire response would have been the same? I think not! Noriega, only a few years before, was Reagan and Bush H’s buddy as he allowed Panama to be used in the fight against the Sandinistas by the Contras, communism vs. democracy. Now the United States was invading Panama but the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors had no interest to take to the streets in mass protest, why should they, there was no draft and they would never have to participate. Besides, they had their careers to think of, their retirement accounts needed to be funded and they could not take time off from work to protest a war that did not directly affect them as they continued to climb the corporate ladder.
Operation Desert Storm also was during the administration of George H. Bush, our 41st President, and it involved United States military forces and a coalition of 34 nations when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. After the initial campaign of continued air strikes, General Scharzkopf, a decorated Vietnam Combat Veteran, flanked the Iraqi forces and with his masterful strategy and tactics and our troops performing magnificently in battle, the ensuing ground war lasted just 100 hours and kept American casualties low. Bush would not let the general continue into Baghdad and take out Hussein and his brutal regime, and we all know what “mission accomplished” George W. did when he was elected to office, more on that later. All during the bombing campaign, we never saw nor heard the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors mumble a word in opposition to all the killing like they did when the United States was bombing North Vietnam to stop the flow of personnel and weapons into the south which were used to kill Americans and their allies.
The protestors would preach to us about South Vietnam and North Vietnam being one country, a civil war between the Vietnamese and we had no business being there. The DRAFT protestors lectured us on how United States and other imperialistic European powers created the country of South Vietnam, and we had no right meddling in Vietnamese affairs. Well, it seems those same imperialistic European powers created the country of Kuwait, when after World War I, France and Britain dismantled the Ottoman Empire for themselves because of oil, and the territory of Kuwait was separated from Iraq to block the Iraqis from having access to the Persian Gulf. Kuwait became a British colony and was drawn on a map with boundaries established by Great Britain and with no reflection as to geography nor history of this new country.
We never heard the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors rant and rave about this being a civil war and that we had no right butting into Iraqi or Kuwaiti affairs. They were worried though that the price of gasoline would sky rocket and that would inflict hardship on their yuppie lifestyles so they remained silent, not a peep or a grumble, as the war in the Gulf took place. Now our country has tens of thousands of Gulf War veterans that suffer from what is called Gulf War Syndrome, they and American civilian workers were downwind from the toxic air from chemical weapons depot demolitions and the Iraqi’s intentional oil well fires, but the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors say and do nothing as Gulf War Veterans fight, beg, plead and die trying to make the United States government, the Department of Veterans Affairs, take responsibility and be accountable to help these men and women that gave so much for our country.
Bush H. did not get a second term in office as the election of draft dodger and Vietnam War slacker personified, Bill Clinton took place, and one would think based on his own actions during the Vietnam War, how he did not agree with the United States military presence in Vietnam to stop the flow of communist aggression, that he would go out of his way not to commit America’s military in harm’s way. Somalia started out as a peacekeeping mission under George H. Bush but when Clinton took office, he re-sent the American military into Somalia to hunt down the warlord, Mohammad Farrah Aidid, with the mission to restore order to the country.
Bill Clinton was in favor of allowing individuals of America to oppose serving in a war that a citizen was not in favor of, so I guess with him safe and snug in the Oval Office and as the Commander (Coward) In Chief, it was all right to send in our military with the mission of apprehending Aidid and his lieutenants. The Ranger and Special Forces task force requested armor and AC 130 gunships but Clinton and his cronies refused this request and there were no Abrams tanks, Bradley armored vehicles nor AC 130 gunships made available to our brave men on the ground. Following Clinton’s orders with the objective to capture Aidid’s foreign minister, Omar Salad Elmi and his political advisor, Mohamed Hassan Awale, our military was surrounded and out numbered as they valiantly fought for their lives. Our country lost 19 good, brave and loyal Americans in Mogadishu, with another 83 wounded, doing what Clinton went out of his way to avoid, serving their country in military uniform and possibly having to put your life on the line for your nation, the United States
We saw how the Somali’s dragged the bodies of our military personnel through the dirty and garbage laden streets of that rat hole of a city but yet the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors said and did nothing. They screamed, ranted and raved when Brigadier General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executed a Viet Cong prisoner that had just committed a war crime, Nguyen Van Lem also known as Captain Bay Lop, during the TET Offensive of 1968 in South Vietnam, had just executed innocent South Vietnamese civilians and the scene was captured on the nightly national news. Now the Somali’s desecrated the bodies of our brave military heroes, a scene repeated over and over on the nightly news. The “Blackhawk Down” fiasco took place because our troops were not given the military support they requested and could have been authorized by Clinton and his team of draft dodgers that avoided the war in Vietnam but the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors said and did nothing! Incidentally, Clinton was for certain American military intervention in Korea, fighting the flow of communism, but felt the draft was not justified and he felt World War 2 and the draft were necessary, two wars that he could not possibly be a part of, but was against military action and the draft during the Vietnam War, a war that took place when he became of age. Convoluted logic? Celestial moral beliefs? No, just the same “bovine scatology” Clinton and the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors use to rationalize and justify their behavior during the Vietnam War, which was to avoid any war that they might have to participate in but it is all right to send someone else’s loved one to do the killing and dying for America.
Clinton committed our troops to the former Yugoslavia in the late 1990’s, called Operation Joint Endeavour, and the American military was stationed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of several countries that made up the NATO presence, the United States bombed Yugoslavia between March 24 through June 9 of 1999. Once again our Air Force was ordered to bomb from the air just like it did in Vietnam but where was the outcry from the Vietnam War (DRAFT)protestors? The Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors assembled in mass and called LBJ and Nixon war criminals for bombing North Vietnam but they were silent when Yugoslavia was being attacked from the air because it did not directly affect them. I did not see the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors in the streets, did anybody else? This war was on our televisions daily, just like Vietnam, with thousands of innocent civilians murdered by forces opposing the United States and NATO and scenes of genocide but the mass movement that openly expressed their dissent during the Vietnam War were silent. Where were they? They were safe at work and home with no threat of having to participate in this war, and with no draft that could force them to serve, what did they care.
The World Trade Center was attacked on September 11, 2001 by Muslim terrorists and these murderers killed almost 3000 innocent people. George W Bush sent our bombers into Afghanistan to retaliate and some nine years later, the United States is still engaged in armed conflict with the Al-Qaeda who planned the attacks on 9/11/2001 and the dictatorial Taliban that inflict torture and death on people of Afghanistan. Our country was subjected to a terrorist attack and our innocent citizens massacred by the Al-Qaeda thugs in New York City, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, our military response was definitely justified but what about the buildup of the war by President Obama?
When President Johnson ordered additional military power to thwart communists forces in South Vietnam, the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors let their feelings be known by gathering to voice their displeasure with the troop increases and marching in protest. In reality, they were threatened of having to serve with each troop surge to our ally, South Vietnam, and felt vulnerable as the Selective Service System might change the rules and regulations for draft deferments and eliminate their comfy II-S draft classification for college students, which made them exempt from the draft. Now President Obama has increased the number of troops to fight in Afghanistan and the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors just remain silent on the issue and go about their business like our country is not even at war. Oh, what a difference it makes in your political and moral views with an all volunteer military and investments in the stock market when it comes to seek peace and love around the world.
Last, but certainly not least, was the United States invasion of Iraq and the reason for the incursion was based all on lies by the Bush W. and Cheney, the “draft dodging” duo that was prime age for service in Vietnam but managed to avoid fighting in that war. There was a smattering of protests around the country about the Iraq War but that movement fizzled, so where are the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors? Bush W. and Cheney sent our brave troops into harm’s way and I think it was a personal vendetta by Bush W. for Hussein’s plan trying to assassinate Bush’s father, George H. The anti-war (DRAFT) crowd from the Vietnam War remained silent as if nothing was happening.
Just about every time there was an attempt to mount an offensive against the communists in South Vietnam some 35 years before the Iraq War, the self-righteous, holier than thou, pious, non-materialistic and peace and love generation, the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors, assembled in mass to show their dissatisfaction, burn their draft cards, carry the flags of North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong) but they remained silent while our country invaded Iraq and put our troops in the hot seat over nothing but lies. Where was the self-proclaimed peace and love generation? We all know where they were but if I must remind readers, they were here in America, safe and snug in their homes, driving their luxury cars and investing in the stock market. This was the same stock market they vehemently attacked as the evil monster that drooled over ill gotten gains, “war profits”, made by defense contractors as our country was coming to the aid of our ally, South Vietnam. Several decades after the Vietnam War and draft ended, our brave countrymen and women were fighting and dying in Iraq but the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors embraced the very system which they protested when they were threatened with military service.
The Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors, most of them but certainly not all, were and still are nothing but a bunch of phony, self-righteous, hypocrites that did anything and everything they could to avoid military service and the possibility of having to fight in Vietnam. Many of the hippies of that era went onto become the selfish yuppies of the 1980’s and beyond and showed their true colors of what they really were, self-centered and selfish to the core. They burned their draft cards and American flags, they carried signs disrespecting and denigrating Vietnam Veterans and carried the flags of North Vietnam and Viet Cong that were killing the men and women of their own country serving America in Southeast Asia, but now they stand up and support our men and women in military uniform because they see it as the politically correct thing to do and, of course, they are not personally at risk to serve themselves.
They tried to act like they knew more than the rest of society and they had all the answers for the earth’s woes. They portrayed themselves as the innocent victims of an evil Wall Street capitalistic system that would be making money off of, what they saw as, their indentured military service, when they wanted nothing more than peace and love for the world while touting their flower power propaganda. These same peaceniks later turned to Wall Street to ratchet up their financial portfolios and bring a whole new meaning to the definition of the word greed. The flower power, peacenik and free love segment of the baby boomer generation disappeared in mass after the Vietnam War ended and uttered nary a whimper to the murder, torture and imprisonment of innocent South Vietnamese and Cambodians by the communists. America has been involved in a number of wars and conflicts since Vietnam but the sanctimonious War (DRAFT) protestors went about their daily lives once any threat of them having to serve a cause greater than themselves disappeared.
Like one of their self-proclaimed leaders, Jerry Rubin, who donned a suit and tie after the Vietnam War and ended working on Wall Street where he became a business entrepreneur, the protestors who were anti-capitalistic and anti-military and lectured the rest of us about the evils of Wall Street and war profits, they too, embraced the suits and ties of the stock market. With open arms they “licked” their chops as their quarterly statements for their retirement accounts arrived during the Reagan administration and profits soared while their beloved hero, Ronny, spent his time in the White House trying to wipe out communism; the same enemy America’s Vietnam Veterans were fighting in South Vietnam that the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors avoided at all costs. Where have all the Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestors gone? Look around, they wrap themselves in the flag and remind everyone how their father’s and uncles are World War 2 and Korean War Veterans, because they can not tout their own military service as they have none, and how they support our military.
There is more than one famous Vietnam War (DRAFT) protestor and/or Vietnam War SLACKER that now has a foundation set up to help our deserving Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans. Is it guilt for their actions during the Vietnam War? I do not know but at least our brothers/sisters now doing the fighting and dying are benefiting and that is just fine by me! Isn’t it amazing how their attitudes and belief system changed since the Vietnam War. I do not have any children but I know how embarrassed and ashamed I would be if I did, and tried to explain my actions during the Vietnam War if I was a DRAFT protestor, while watching my child march off to war in Iraq which was orchestrated by Bush W and Cheney, the poster children for how to avoid fighting in a war. Vietnam and Vietnam Era Veterans stand tall compared to those that ducked, dodged, weaved and cowered during the Vietnam War. When America called to stop the spread of communism, no less of a threat to the free world as terrorism is today, we went and performed our duty with honor, guts and pride. We returned to a country that turned their backs on us, including many in our government and private citizens, but we endured and have a proud legacy to uphold.
We were the first generation of war veterans to remember our POW’s and MIA’s that were never repatriated to the United States when the war was over. Our continued support for that cause made the politicians and bureaucrats listen and we have teams of dedicated Americans in uniform searching for missing service members all over the world today. These men and women searching for the missing in action not only search for Vietnam Veterans, but those from World War 2 and Korea as well. For those Vietnam Veterans that suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress, we took a stand and would not hide in the closet for the rest of our lives and cope with our combat experience in a dysfunctional way, and we brought the condition to the forefront of society. We made it “socially acceptable” to seek help for a mental or emotional disorder and brought pressure on the Department of Veterans Affairs to officially recognize the stress of combat, and not try to hide the condition from the public and make those living with it guilty for having problems. We demanded recognition and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was constructed with private money and this encouraged the World War 2 and Korea Veterans to finally speak out and demand recognition. We also showed the people of this country how to welcome home subsequent generations of war veterans, as we are often the first people to recognize returning veterans to thank them for their service and we did not abandon them like previous generations of veterans did to us. Welcome home to all Vietnam Veterans and thank you for your service, we stood tall then and we still stand tall today!
To Canada, We Did Not Run
In College, We Did Not Hide
Defending South Vietnam, A Noble And Just Cause
For America, We Served With Honor, Guts And Pride
Joe ‘Ragman’ Tarnovsky
Vietnam Combat Veteran
28 August 68 to 22 October 70
Joe is a Vietnam Combat Veteran, having served 26 months in the Republic Of South Vietnam, 10 months with Company A, 27th Combat Engineers, 28 August 1968 to June 1969, and 16 months as a crewchief/doorgunner with the 240th Assault Helicopter company on UH-1C Hueys, the Mad Dog Gunship Platoon from July 1969 to 22 October 1970.
Joe graduated from Cuyahoga Community College in 1982 with a Associate Of Arts Degree and from Cleveland State University in 1986 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology; he also accumulated 12 hours of graduate work at Cleveland State. He lives with his best friend, his wife, and they have 34 rescued cats, 7 rescued dogs.
Joe has spoken at high schools and colleges for 25 years about PTSD, war and how not to treat returning veterans when they come home to America after fighting for their country.
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