Now that Vietnam is finally being taught in our schools, many of the young will approach us and inquire if we are Vietnam vets. When I tell them I am, the next question is "May I ask you some questions?"

This is where I must explain that even though I had Vietnam service, I am not a combat vet. I served off the coast of Vietnam on a Navy destroyer. We were either on Yankee Station plane guarding or on the gun line firing support fire. I usually end with telling them the fact that I had three hot meals a day, air-conditioned compartments and a movie every night, I'm not the person they really want to speak with.

I also advise them that most combat vets don't really say much about their service except to fellow combat vets. Recently my brother was visiting and I introduced him to a friend who was in country about the same time as my brother. They were stations only a few miles apart. I sat back and just listened. I learned more about his time in country in that hour then I did in the previous 40 years.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now