The Vietnam War

In this May 1966 file photo, a U.S. Air Force C-123 flies low along a South Vietnamese highway spraying defoliants on dense jungle growth beside the road to eliminate ambush sites for the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War.
Department of Defense, File / AP Photo

Fifty years after the Vietnam War, some veterans are still dealing with health effects caused by Agent Orange. A law clinic at Penn State is working to get veterans the help they need.

John Gority, from Duncansville, remembers getting up close and personal with the herbicide “Agent Orange” when he was in Vietnam.

“All the vegetation was kind of like wilted and slimy and I’m touching it and smelling it and I’m like, what is this stuff?” Gority said. “I didn’t know anything about Agent Orange or spraying to kill vegetation or anything like that.”

Paul Johnson and Stanley Snyder.
Min Xian / WPSU

As a part of WPSU’s radio, TV and web project “The Vietnam War: Telling the Pennsylvania Story,” we’re bringing you oral history interviews with Vietnam veterans.

Paul Johnson and Stanley Snyder – who live in Altoona and have been friends since 7th grade – talked about serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War.  

Eli Duck and Michael Dunlap.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

As a part of WPSU’s radio, TV and web project “The Vietnam War: Telling the Pennsylvania Story,” we’re bringing you oral history interviews with Vietnam veterans.

Michael Dunlap talked with his friend Eli Duck. Both fought in the Vietnam War.  

Janet and Dick Fravel.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

As a part of WPSU’s radio, TV and web project “The Vietnam War: Telling the Pennsylvania Story,” we’re bringing you oral history interviews with Vietnam veterans.

Janet Fravel talked with her husband Dick Fravel about how the Vietnam war affected him.

Craig Yarnell.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

As a part of WPSU’s radio, TV and web project “The Vietnam War: Telling the Pennsylvania Story,” we’re bringing you oral history interviews with Vietnam veterans.

Craig Yarnell talked about being drafted into the infantry in the Vietnam War in 1968.

The Traveling Wall in State College
Min Xian / WPSU

Many Vietnam veterans have only seen their service recognized in recent years. But a traveling version of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in State College gave them a chance to share their stories and heal. 

The names of more than 58,000 soldiers who died in the Vietnam War are listed and honored on the Traveling Wall.

Rex Johnson is an active duty national guard member from Milesburg. He rode among the Motorcycle Honor Escort last Wednesday, delivering the Traveling Wall from Bellefonte to Innovation Park.

The Traveling Wall in State College
MIN XIAN / WPSU

Over a hundred people attended the opening ceremony for the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall at Innovation Park on Thursday. 

Ryan McCombie shared the story of returning to the U.S. from Vietnam, saying that the first thing everyone did was to change into civilian clothing. A retired U.S. Navy Captain who served for 26 years and a Vietnam veteran, he said the country did not welcome the men in uniforms when they returned.

“Today, we welcome home again, all of our veterans,” McCombie said. A standing ovation followed.

Min Xian

For Jim Krape, from Lock Haven, visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, was about healing.

Krape served in the U.S. Marine Corps including in Vietnam in 1965 and 1966. On Wednesday, he was the road captain for the Traveling Wall.

“For years, I had a lot flashbacks and so forth, but once I got my hand on the wall, that seemed to go away. It’s a healing process, that we know that our guys are here and they’re safe. We are going to watch over them.”

Bruce Heim and his granddaughter Susan Patterson.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

As a part of WPSU’s radio, TV and web project “The Vietnam War: Telling the Pennsylvania Story,” we’re bringing you oral history interviews with Vietnam veterans.

Susan Patterson talked with her grandfather Bruce Heim about a convoy operation he led during the Vietnam War and what it was like to leave for the war.  

Fred Brown and John MacMillen.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

As a part of WPSU’s radio, TV and web project “The Vietnam War: Telling the Pennsylvania Story,” we’re bringing you oral history interviews with Vietnam veterans.

John MacMillen talked with Fred Brown about his time in the Vietnam War. 

Cindy Bardo and Gaylon Klobe.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

As a part of WPSU’s radio, TV and web project “The Vietnam War: Telling the Pennsylvania Story,” we’re bringing you oral history interviews with Vietnam veterans.

Cindy Bardo talked with her friend Gaylon Klobe, who spent a career in the U.S. Army and did three tours in Vietnam.  

Ryan and Robert Booz.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

As a part of WPSU’s radio, TV and web project “The Vietnam War: Telling the Pennsylvania Story,” we’re bringing you oral history interviews with Vietnam veterans.

Ryan Booz talks with his father Robert Booz about the time he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

John MacMillen and Fred Brown.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

As a part of WPSU’s radio, TV and web project “The Vietnam War: Telling the Pennsylvania Story,” we’re bringing you oral history interviews with Vietnam veterans.

John MacMillen told Fred Brown about his time in the Airforce in Vietnam.

As part of WPSU’s radio, television and web project “Vietnam: Telling the Pennsylvania Story,” WPSU intern Kennedey Bell went to downtown State College to ask people to reflect on the Vietnam War.  

It’s a sunny afternoon on College Avenue with cars and people passing by. I asked the younger people I talked with what they knew about the Vietnam War, which happened long before they were born.  

Sharon Stringer and Edgar Farmer.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

As a part of WPSU’s radio, TV and web project “The Vietnam War: Telling the Pennsylvania Story,” we’re bringing you oral history interviews with Vietnam veterans.

Sharon Stringer talked to her friend Edgar Farmer about his time in Vietnam, as well as his transition to civilian life.  

Finding Solace At The Wall

Sep 15, 2017
Jeff Butch searches for Lonnie Newland's name on the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C.
Tim Lambert / WITF

(Washington D.C.) – It’s raining.  Hard.

But to a group of men in their 60’s and 70’s, the raindrops, the wind, and gray skies don’t seem to matter. They’re huddled in small groups and chatting in low voices as the walk down a sloping pathway.

They are going to visit some old friends.

Friends who never made it home from the Vietnam War.

Friends whose names are inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.

Ho-Thanh Nguyen went back to Fort Indiantown Gap recently. Here, she’s in front of the National Guard training area where her barracks stood in 1975. She and her siblings lived here when they first resettled in the United States after fleeing Vietnam.
Tim Lambert / WITF

FORT INDIANTOWN GAP – Even after 40 years, Ho-Thanh Nguyen remembers.

“That’s an old, old, old building right there. All wood,” she says as we drive past a structure that is, like many on the military base, non-descript.

Then, in a hushed tone:

“I think that’s the chapel,” she says. “Yeah, that’s it, the one I was telling you about.”

nt Pasquinelli (right) and his son David.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

As a part of WPSU’s radio, TV and web project “The Vietnam War: Telling the Pennsylvania Story,” we’re bringing you oral history interviews with Vietnam veterans.

David Pasquinelli talked with his father, Brent Pasquinelli, about his military service in Vietnam.  

The WPSU-TV documentary “A Time to Heal” on the Vietnam War experience from a Pennsylvania perspective premieres Sept. 14 at 8 p.m.

Dr. Marge Nelson (in white coat) assisting patients at the Quang Ngai province prison in 1969.
Marge Nelson

Thousands of medical physicians worked alongside both soldiers and the South Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. Some of these doctors played a pacifist role while risking their lives.  WPSU intern Kennedey Bell talked with State College resident Marge Nelson, who worked as a doctor during the Vietnam War and was eventually captured as a prisoner of war.