Senior wrote:Hello, my name is Meryl and I'm a high school senior. I'd like to ask a couple of interview questions, if that's all right? I'll just paste the bulk of the questions here:
1) What's your name? When did you serve in Vietnam?
bill mcbride. i arrived 19 june 1967 and left in july, 1968. i was assigned to the 3rd reconniassance battalion, 3rd marine division in phu bai, vietnam. our operating area was from phu loc north to the dmz, and west to the lao border.
2) What do you remember about your feelings when you found out that you were going to Vietnam? Why did you think that you and other Americans were in Vietnam at the time?
i had been in the marines since 1958 so i was well prepared when i received my orders to vietnam. it certainly was no surprise. we had been training for various deployments and contingency operations for a long time prior to going. i was anxious about going, but didn't have any dependents to worry about at the time, so it was not a difficult separation. at the time i believed that we were in vietnam to buy time for the south vietnamese government and armed forces and to stop the spread of communism. it turned out we were all pawns in a high stakes geopolitical game with many hidden agendas.
3) What specific memories did you have about your experiences in Vietnam?
i returned in 2006 and spent several weeks visiting areas that i have been in during the war. the trip brought back some specific memories...the smells, the lush green forests, the constant stream of humanity on the streets in the small towns, the kids. my wartime memories are mostly of marines and sailors i served with...many of whom didn't make it back, and of the sights and sounds of firefights, artillery, helicopters, memorial services, hospital visits, and my brief r&r in australia.
4) Did these experiences change how you viewed what you were doing in Vietnam? If so, explain.
yes, i became a lot more sensitive to the human costs of war and suffering. i am also very skeptical and distrusting of politicians and others who think that military might is the answer to the worlds problems.
5) How were you treated by your friends and family when you returned from the war?
i stayed in the marines after the war, so i was in a "cocoon" and among others who knew and understood where we had been and what we had done. i didn't have much interaction with the outside, civilian world for several years following the war.
6) How do you now view your service in Vietnam and the reasons for which you were sent?
i am proud of my service and that of my comrades. in retrospect, the reasons we were sent were wrong. we did what we were asked to do. war is rarely the right course of action, especially if there are other alternatives.
7) What lessons for Americans do you see in the Vietnam war experience, if any?
question more. don't take the government's word at face value without challenging the motives and methods.
Thanks so much for all the help!
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