My dad, Hugh Bedford, was a Green Beret in the early years of Vietnam and I've always wanted to learn more about his service there. His experiences weren't exactly a regular topic of conversation when I was growing up, but Dad will usually (eventually) answer any questions that I have.
Here are the basics of what I know for sure:
- Dad was in the 441st Military Intelligence Detachment, 1st Group Special Forces, from 1965-1968
- He did Basic Training, then Advanced Individual Training in Okinawa
- Over approx. 18 months he moved between Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos - wherever he went, it was always as a civilian
- When he returned to the US, he found that the paperwork showing where he had been during his tour of duty had fallen out of a helicopter and been lost; there is now no record of where he was during those 18 months.
- He intended to reenlist for another tour of duty after his initial three years were up but when that time came, his mother had a stroke. He asked for a leave of absence to visit her but he was denied. He decided not to reenlist so he could go be with his mother. He later found out that all (or was it most?) of his unit was killed in action just a few months afterward. [Updated to add: I believe that these men were killed in the Tet Offensive, but I'm not 100% certain.]
My reading list:
- War Torn: Stories of War from the Women Reporters who Covered Vietnam, by Tad Bartimus, Tracy Wood, Kate Webb, Laura Palmer, Edith Lederer, and Jurate Kazickas
- Once A Warrior King: Memories of an Officer in Vietnam, by David Donovan
- Vietnam Medal of Honor Winners, by Edward F. Murphy
- The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien
- The Road Home, by Ellen Emerson White
You can learn more about the challenge and sign up at this link and you can view some suggested reading at this link.