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Famed Vietnam War correspondent returns to collect and share more veterans’ stories

SEATTLE — Nationally recognized war correspondent Joe Galloway, who has dedicated his life to sharing the sacrifices of the those who fought in the Vietnam War, has come back to the Pacific Northwest.

Galloway risked his life to cover the war and he saw the worst of it, but he’ll be the first to tell you, he also saw the best in our American service members. He says they deserve to have their stories shared with future generations, in their own words.

“This is the war of my youth. These are my brothers and sisters,” says Galloway.

At 24 years old, Galloway was on the front lines, covering the war for United Press International.

During the Battle of Ia Drang in November 1965, Galloway rescued a wounded soldier who was taking fire. For his heroics, he became the only civilian awarded a medal for valor in combat by the U.S. Army during the entire Vietnam War.

In 1992, he authored a best-selling book about his experiences called "We Were Soldiers Once … And Young." In 2002, Paramount Pictures turned it into a movie starring Mel Gibson, capturing the grit and courage of our Vietnam veterans.

“I owe them my life, more than once, "Galloway said. "More than one battlefield. Men died so that I might live. There is no greater burden, and for me there’s no greater truth. I have to tell their stories.”

Now 75, Galloway is gathering those stories while travelling the country. With the help of the Department of Defense, he’s interviewing veterans and documenting those interviews on video for the Library of Congress.

“For me, it’s something I got to do, and I’ve got to keep doing it until we get it done,” he said.

He and the Vietnam War Commemoration have already completed 350 interviews. It’s part of a larger government-led effort to build partnerships across the country, create events, and thank our Vietnam veterans.

Galloway feels like they’re working against the clock because about 390 Vietnam veterans die every day. He hopes, in some way, to reach all of the 1 million living Vietnam vets.

If you’d like to learn more about the Vietnam War Commemoration, click here.