General, US Army
I left Vietnam on Wednesday, April 9, 1969 having completed my 365 day Tour Of Duty
with the Blackhorse. When I left, I was given several booklets, one of which was
titled "Tour 365". On the inside front cover was a letter from General Creighton W. Abrams.
It reads, in part:
US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
Office of the Commander
APO San Francisco, CA 96222
Your tour of duty with the US Army in Vietnam is ended. May
your trip home and reunion with family and friends be the pleasant, happy occasion you
have anticipated. You go home with my best wishes.
As Veterans of this war, you can now look back with perspective
on your experience and know the trying and difficult tasks inherent in fighting to protect
the freedom of peace-loving people against Communist invaders. You know of the local
Viet Cong terrorists who kill and maim their own neighbors and appreciate the terror and
destruction they spread. Having served here, you understand better than many of our
countrymen the meaning of aggression against South Vietnam.
You have fought beside soldiers of the Armed Forces of the
Republic of Vietnam and many other nations in a common struggle. You have been more
than just a combat ally to the South Vietnamese soldier. Many of you have worked
with his people in hamlet improvement and pacification programs and been looked upon as a
teacher and builder, as well as a fighter.
Whether you served in a combat or combat support role, people at
home will want to hear your story of the war. Tell it.
I extend my sincere appreciation for your help in accomplishing
our task in Vietnam and my thanks for a job well done. Good luck in the future.
Creighton W. Abrams
General US Army
One of the outstanding remarks that General Abrams made in his letter was "People
want to hear your story of the war. Tell it." Following my second tour of
duty in Vietnam and upon discharge, no one wanted to here my story of Vietnam. I
learned later that many of my fellow Vietnam veterans encountered the same sentiment.
2009 was the 40th anniversary of my second tour of duty in Vietnam. 40 years has
done much to change the minds of many Americans about wanting to hear about Vietnam.
Many people today are inspired by the courage and sacrifice of America's soldiers
who fought and died for freedom's cause.
I'm happy that this time in history gives me an opportunity to tell my story. A
story about the men of K Troop whose blood, sweat and tears poured out onto the soil of
Vietnam watered the seeds of hope for a people so much in need of it.
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