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A ‘soldier’s reporter’ in Vietnam still emotional, on new mission to mark 50th anniversary of war

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SEATTLE -- As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, former UPI war correspondent Joe Galloway -- the "soldier's reporter" -- is interviewing Vietnam vets about their stories for a permanent record in the Library of Congress.

"These are, for me, the most honorable people I know," Galloway said of the Vietnam veterans in an interview Monday on Q13 FOX News. "The most loyal friends that I have in my life I earned on the battlefield."

Talking about the Vietnam War and the soldiers who fought in it is emotional for Galloway.

"I can't let their experiences just go, that's not in me."

So, he added, his mission is to let them tell their stories on video that will endure for generations.

Galloway was a front-line war correspondent for United Press International and was at the first major battle between U.S. forces and the North Vietnamese army in November 1965 in the Ia Drang Valley.

It was a fierce four-day battle in which both sides suffered heavy casualties.

But one of the heroes of that battle was Bruce Crandall, of Olympia, a helicopter pilot who repeatedly flew through enemy fire in Ia Drang to lift the wounded off the battlefield and get them to surgical units.

Galloway took photos during the battle of Ia Drang. He later co-authored a book titled, "We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young' about the heroes on that battlefield.  In 2002, the story became a movie, "We Were Soldiers," starring Mel Gibson.

"We all left with a certain amount of damage," Galloway said. "Nobody left that place the same man he was when he arrived. You can't."

To mark the 50 years since the start of American combat in the Vietnam War, there's a national initiative to thank veterans for their service. Galloway is once again telling soldiers' stories.

"In their own words, so that we'll have a record that will last a hundred years or more," he said.

"I hope this will be a body of material for future generations who want to know what this war was all about," Galloway said.

Moreover, Galloway hopes to make right the less-than-welcome home many veterans of that era received with a simple message.

"Welcome home. Thank you for your service. God bless you."

Q13 FOX News wanted to partner in marking the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. Over the next few days, we will assist in as many as 15 interviews with veterans in the greater Seattle area. They have incredible stories to tell -- and we are honored to share them with you.

And we'll be doing that in the days to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 comments

  • Dave

    Im 41 and my dad got back in Veitnam a few years before I was born. It messed him up. I see all the pictures but he never talks about it. He was shot and when I was young used to march in the Vetrans day parade wearing that uniform he wore that day. He has spent the last 40 years helping other Vetrans get what they deserve. Please let him tell his story before he passes just like so many others kept quiet by the way they were treated. I’m proud of my dad and his friends for what they did. I thank Mr. Galloway for what he did, what he has done and for what he is doing. Welcome home Sir!

  • Gus Fitch

    I am a Vietnam Vet, 1969. Flew Marine F-4s out of ChuLai. Our return to the nation who had done its bidding was a national humiliation that showed no sign of shame. I got PO’d at this reception at the time, but now it is far worse. Our soldiers, sailors and Marines are all volunteers and are trained better, have much better equipment and lots of loyalty to their services. What they don’t have is leadership. The current Chiefs of the services are politicians, not warriors. I don’t care if they deserved the Navy Cross while they were commanding troops in the field, their failure to do what is right for the nation and the services is spun just like a California politician. It has always been a mystery to me why a three star or four star flag office would not fall on his sword over a worth while project. What are they going to do? Shave his head and send him to Afghanistan? Here is why I care about these flag officers and their lack of leadership. They, Them, all who have commanded troops on a battle field should “Man Up” and testify before Trey Gowdy’s committee on the VA. They should humble themselves before the nation for allowing that which is the life of a current day veteran to become another national cancer on its soul. Although the Wounded Warrior Project has done some good work, the nation should be mad as hell that it takes a private organization with high over head cost to help some of our vets. This is a job for the nation. Yet, get ready, less than one tenth of one percent of our population has a family or friend of the family who even knows of a Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has been killed or horribly wounded. By the way, I was a 25 year career Marine and I don’t have a square inch of skin in this game. I look at it differently, of course, but no one I know has been killed our wounded in these two countries. So the odds are that its a 360 million to one chance that some one who is reading what I have written gives a damn about any of our vets. If this comment hurts your sensitivity, don’t look to me for sympathy. Could I be wrong? Where are the marches on the Mall. Where are the emails and phone calls from a population of over 300 million. They are volunteers who put their butts on the ground in harms way and when they return with missing parts, we rely on The Wounded Warrior Project to help them. Shame on all of us. A nation who employes gladiators to do its political bidding yet lacks the guts to fund their needs has no legal or moral authority over these citizens. I have a son who files an income tax return, but does not make enough to pay any taxes. Yet our government “Gives” him $1000 for not paying any taxes. The democracy begins its final fall when the population discovers that it can put government money in its pockets as a function of who they vote for. This treatment of veterans is as old as the nation itself. In 1932 at the worst part of the depression, veterans and their wives and children built a shack town on the mall called Hoverville. The President called his Army Chief of Staff and told him to disperse the veterans. The Army Chief of Staff, mounted his horse and led, infantry, calvary, and 600 civilian policemen to disperse the mob. Some were killed or wounded. This hero of the Nation who saved the government from a coup of desperate farmers, factory workers, etc who had been promised a post war bonus when they enlisted. The President, the Supreme Court and the Congress all spit in the face of those who had died and been wounded for their nation who had refused to pay the bonus. This heroic charge up the Mall was led by none other than General Douglas McArthur whose Yankee grandfather won the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery in a civil war. So if you really give a hoot about your veterans, get in the face of your Senator and House members and force them to tell you why we keep a Federal Services Union in the ranks of government employees when their binding arbitration is not paid by stockholders who are looking at making a profit but are paid for by tax payers who have no say in this obvious form of taxation. If you have read this far, know this…the VA MUST be rid of unions if it is ever to be of value to our veterans. So when you may question the motives of the government in supporting the Vets just remember old Dougout Doug who ran troops he had commanded in combat off the mall yet flew like a coward in the dark of night and left Gen Wainwright (sp) to suck up the loses on Corregidor and the Bataan Death March. So please give up accepting thanks for your service and demand that the giver write his representatives in Congress and pull the unions out of the VA and demand that 30% of its employees be veterans. As long as the unions stay your gladiators will be screwed until the end of time. Alas, I forgot none of you have any skin in the game. . Pity. This apathy allows you to allow the very rich in the Congress to send even more troops to their deaths or maiming for God only knows what. You and I don’t know what, but you can bet it has to do with them getting richer. Write or call me and make me out a liar.
    Gus Fitch
    Colonel USMC (Ret) VietNam vet
    803-617-9085
    pncfzfn@gmail.com