Letter: Vietnam: 50 years later

Editor

As Memorial Day rolls around, I start thinking about Vietnam. Fifty years ago… but the memories are still clear. At a recent benefit concert for the Whidbey Veterans Resource Center, I met another Vietnam “vet”, former Army Captain and pilot, Samuel Aaron. We got to talking; it turns out we both served in Can Tho in the Mekong Delta – but at different times. And we were both there during the Tet Offensive. I asked him where he served: two tours – the first with the 203rd Reconnaissance Company in Tuy Hoa, flying an 01 Fixed Wing aircraft between Qui Nhon and Nha Trang. I pictured it – the little plane we called a “Bird-Dog” sitting on the tarmac in Can Tho. His second tour, he was a Commander with the 125th AT Company in Can Tho. There, he flew a U6: a Beaver; I remembered rides in a small incredibly noisy cargo plane. Slowly, I began to realize that Samuel looks and speaks very much like my former Field Commander, Tommy Thompson. Before the war, Tommy had been the personal pilot of VP Hubert Humphrey. We were good friends and he was a great supporter of me as a Special Services Club Director on the base. He was killed in the Tet Offensive in Vinh Long. Years later, I remembered tracing his name on the Wall…. As we swapped memories, it all came back: the dust, the heat, the “whap, whap” of helicopter rotors. For us, Memorial Day is more than just picnics.

Jill Johnson

Langely

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