What is your opinion of what is a Vietnam Vet?

Do you consider only those who served in country Vietnam as Vietnam Vets?
I never set foot in Vietnam, yet have the VSM and VCM. I supplied fuel to aircraft that flew missions to North and South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia out of Thailand. Most people who hear the word Thailand think of Bangkok. We were in Northeast Thailand, 300 miles south west of Hanoi and 350 miles east of Danang. We lived in Vietnam style hootches, ate field mess, shit in drums that we burned every morning and had liberty to a town 50 miles away every 4-6 weeks for 36 hours. Our units would have been at Danang if were not for the Vietnamisation program and troop withdrawls. The North Vietnamese Easter Offensive which started in March 1972 and caused MAG-15 to deploy from Iwakuni and with support of 3rd FSR, 3rd MarDiv. from Okinawa to help the RVN forces beat back the NVA until 1975.
I do not like to admit that I am a Vietnam Vet because of the funny looks when I say Thailand. I would think that it would be comparable to be fighting the Iraq War from Kuwait. What do you think?

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

Since I am not a Vietnam Era veteran, I'm not sure what they think. But, I think that the label should be applied the same as it is with WWII, Desert Storm or Gulf War Veterans - if you are in the theatre of operations, then are a veteran of that war. So, in my opinion if you were serving in the theatre of operations for the Vietnam War, you are a Vietnam Veteran. The military must agree since they awarded you the VSM and VCM.

Could you imagine telling an old Air Force mechanic he wasn't a WWII Veteran because he never left the airfields in England and fought on the front lines? Please, he'd get up and kick some ass!


You hit the nail on the head, Thanks

I was in Vietnam two tours, once with the Big Red One in the jungle, the second in Pleiku flying helicopters. I've never cared one way or the other what anyone else called their service. If you sweated in Thailand, or helt the line in South Korea, it's okay with me to say you are a Vietnam Veteran.
On another subject, I've never quite understood my cohorts who attack people who falsely claim to be veterans. Did I miss something there? Are they giving something away to Vietnam Veterans? If so, I'd better get in line.

One can tell any story they chose about their service. We know there are three versions of every war story; the one we tell, the one we remember and the one that happened.

Everyone I knew in the sixties was trying to get out of Vietnam, ala Bill Clinton. We were the most educated generation in history as people studied to keep those grades to keep their deferrment, then continued on to Master's degrees and took up occupations that were exempt from serving. People would pay a lot of money for a cooks slot in a National Guard unit, ala the current president. It was the norm. No one ever said brilliant and my name in the same sentence. I volunteered for both tours. Just plain dumb. But, one of my bothers holds the family crest for dumb. As an MP in Germany he tried to break up a riot by himself and got cut up bad. He must have been behind me in the check out line.

Thomas Hackler Sr
1SG Retired
I went Very young''REASON''My Country''Family'' Friends'and it was my duty. We lost a lot of good troopers due to Combat and Jane Fanda'. But at my age I will never regret going and doing my duty. No I am saying WAR is good but we have to be proud American's.
So be it' I am Old and like to let it alone' I am still helping our Troopers today''That is what is all about. 10 to 30 years we will be at it again''Maybe sooner''Who knows' Just give them support'' Let hurt go it's way'' As we did for years. My Family have been there for the people. Long Family military and Damn proud. God Bless you even if you do not care for my Comments''
One Thing we have to do''?? IS STICK TOGATHER AS AMERICANS''

Thomas Hackler Sr
1SG Retired

Steve said it best, but I will add my opinion too. John, I wasn't there, but I believe anyone who served active duty during the Vietnam War is a Vietnam veteran. When I first read your post, I immediately thought of my friends who were at the Rose Garden, Nam Phong, Thailand during the war ... then I clicked on your profile and saw that you were there! Yes, this is Stacey from the Nam Phong group on Yahoo! Fancy meeting you here.

I said in the group at least once, and I will say it again here. Everyone who served active duty during the Vietnam War, no matter how small they think their task was, is a veteran. In a phone conversation with my friend, Andy, the other day, I told him about how some of you Nam Phongers think you are not veterans for the very fact that you mentioned above: never sitting foot in Vietnam proper. I told Andy that not everyone could be John McCain or the like. Not everyone was the pilot or the sniper. The people who worked on the planes, the people who ran the convoys to get supplies to the men on the front lines, the cooks, the mail carriers, all of them are veterans and all of them mattered. That, to me, makes them my hero. Seriously. Anyone who has ever served honorably in the armed forces of the United States military is a hero, in my book.

So there. Whether or not you like it, you and your fellow Nam Phongers are Vietnam Veterans to me. If you don't like it, tough. You should know me by now. I state my opinion and stick by it. That's why I'd never make a good politician like I dreamt I would be. hahaha

You both have several good points but they are of little importance. Congress said that the Vietnam conflict lasted from the early 60's and ended in May of 1975. Anyone who served one day in that time was a Vietnam Era veteran. I was in from 1966 to 1969 and went to Vietnam twice and earned both the VSM and VCM which made me a Vietnam veteran. It is of little importance if you served in Vietnam or were stationed in Europe to hold the Bear in check so he could not send more help to North Vietnam. You could also have served in South Korea and put pressure on North Korea and China. All those people put pressure on the Communist assault on the world.
So at the time a Vietnam veteran earned the VSM and VCM and all other were Vietnam era veterans. Today I see no difference just as in World War I and II different units earned different campaign medals they were all World War I or II veterans. This also applies to Korea and and the conflicts we are now involved in.
I would like to direct you all to another forum that I think is more important than this one. It is "If there is a saving grace of Vietnam". Hope to see you there and hear your reply to my post.

Thanks. It is nice to know that my comments are of little importance to you. It's also nice to know that the original poster's question is of little importance to you as well. I will read your post and reply if I have the time or desire. I will make sure the comment is of importance to you beforehand, though.

I am glad to hear from you. All responses are important as it gives an insight to how people see the world. It is just some of the subjects are of less importance than others. I do not work as I am a 100% Disabled Veteran and would have a lot of time to think about things like if I am a Vietnam veteran or not. I try to look to the future and how to make it better for veteran's no matter what they are called.
I am a service officer in my Disabled Veteran chapter, Board member for our county Veteran's Committee and working to get an AmVet's post opened in our area. I am also the Youth Program Chair for the Navy League Council
I am a member of.
The other post was not mine but was of a subject that I thought was of more importance than this one.
I hope you simmer down and we can have a good discussion on the other post or any other subject you might think is valid.
I am new to this site and working with a computer so I do not know if this will only go back to you or as I hope the complete string.
This is to all who read this. Do not get defensive just discuss your opinion and we all learn.

I served my country of America in the theater of Vietnam from 1967-1968 in the city of Hue during the Tet in the American Army in the 101st Airborne. I am not Luke the Gook as I never served in the Vietnamese Military...THAT makes me an AMERICAN VETERAN that served in the theater of Vietnam! This is one of the ways that our American Veterans have been screwed by the VA. Go look at your records and see if they have you listed as a Vietnam, Korean, Iraq....whatever...instead of an American Veteran...they only have to take care of American Veterans so you may want to make them change your information showing that you are an American! Rename all your Vietnam Veterans of America to AMERICAN VETERANS THAT SERVED IN VIETNAM. No matter where you served your country of America YOU are STILL an AMERICAN VETERAN. Stop the slander and defamation of character brought against us by people that want to forget who we are and change us to who they want us to be...maybe a class-action lawsuit will bring about the change that we deserve and give us back our well earned title of AMERICAN VETERAN!!! Gene Dwyer

Those Who Beat Their Guns Into Plowshares Will Be Told Where To Plant And What To Grow By Those Who Don't! Join The N.R.A.!

I can only add to this by saying that when Khrushchev beat his shoe on the table at the U.N. and Ivan was on alert 20 or so miles away then again after the Bay of Pigs and we got a 90 day extension from J.F.K. We were Concerned. TOM

Those Who Beat Their Guns Into Plowshares Will Be Told Where To Plant And What To Grow By Those Who Don't! Join The N.R.A.!

I too an a Vietnam Vet. I never set foot ashore, and never saw combat. I have no trouble telling people I am a Viet Vet. I never claim to be a combat vet, and often describe the war zone. Just because we didn't crawl through the jungle, or take hostile fire does not mean we are not Viet Vets. After all, the men aboard the air craft carriers never set foot in Vietnam. They stayed off the coast, but within the 65 mile limit that defined the hostile fire zone. They are still Viet Vets. Semper Fi.

a veteran is anyone who put on a uniform and wrote a blank check to American citizens for an amount "up to and including my life" The veteran can then qualify that with which conflict and years associated with. I respect all veterans period.


I believe anyone who was in the Armed Forces during the time of the conflict in Vietnam should be considered a Vietnam Veteran.

For the longest time, I considered only those who had boots on the ground in RVN were Vietnam Vets, all the rest were Vietnam Era Vets. This was good for the Army, but there were pilots flying off carriers, from Thailand, Guam etc. that I would classify as Vietnam Vets even though they were not stationed in Vietnam. I served in Laos, a secret war at the time, combat pay, but were not recognized officially as being there, were those who were Ravens, Project 404’ers etc Vietnam Vets? How about Cambodia, with MEDT-C? The U.S. officially was not participating in a war in those two countries, how do we, those who served in Laos and Cambodia rate? A lot of people do not know of the CT’s, (Communist Thai’s) in the Northeast of Thailand, JUSMAGTHAI had ARAG people serving with the Thai military fighting them, how do we classify them? Again, the U.S. were not officially at war there. There is not easy answer, I would say all of us, in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are Southeast Asia War Vets, but no medals, ribbons or any other award of recognition exists for the first 3, only Vietnam. The truth is the Vietnam war could not of been fought as successfully as it was with out the support of those in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Guam and the carriers. Due to lack of a category as Southeast Asian War Vet, all of qualify as Vietnam Vets. Welcome Home.

You were in the theater of operations so you are (in my eyes at least) A Vietnam Vet. Thank You for your service! Dave.

RFlemming I went over to Nam on the USNS Geiger with the 95'th Evac. We went operational in July of 1968 at Danang just north of FOB4 operating out of a MUST facility. The permanent facility was opened north of China Beach around October. I was an orthopedic assistant that supported 4 orthopedic doctors. I assisted in receiving, triaging the kids coming in until they went to the OR. Am I a Vietnam Vet? You're damn right I am. I had too many kids die in front of me because we couldn't save them. I was in my early 30's when I was there & was appaled at the waste of young lives. It wasn't until after 3 years back in the world for the sound of a Huey to not trigger sights & sounds in my mind again.


my opinion of what a viet nam vet is, is exactly what the u.s. armed forces says a viet nam vet is if you were issued the vcm and or the the vsm then you earned them your ddform 214 should tell you if you are a viet nam vet. mine says 18mo. 28 days in country it also says i was issued the nat. defense ribbon (all viet nam era vets)the good conduct medal, the army acommadation medal. it also says i wear the expert rifle badge. i qualified expert with the m60 machine gun and the 50 cal., but i have not wore the badges because my ddform214 doesnt mention them. i dont nessacarily agree with the way the army handles out the medals or what the medals are for. i think if i served in tim buck too as a tire pressure checker i should receive a ribbon to show the country that sacrificed a part of my life away from my home for their good, for their freedom to protest against my brave little ass. i joined the army at the age of 17 a wanted to go to vn i went thru basic and graduated from ait on the 27th mar 1967. everyone in my class got orders for vn, germany, korea, and all parts in between, i was a hold over and scared to death i wouldn't get vn. i celebrated my 18th birthday in ft. leonard mo. on the 29th of mar. on the 30th of mar i received orders to report to cam rahn bay vn happy birthday private. i reported, di my job to the best of my ability went home 19mo. later to a differant town than i left. my dad who was a ww2 vet signed me up in the local vfw ha. didn't take long to find out i was not worthy to belly up to the bar with other vets didnt matter who's son i was. my best friends that i ran with for 17 yrs wanted nothing to do with me. i was a viet nam vet i could go off at anytime. surprized them by just walking off and have not been back only to my dads funeral and my mothers funeral.ispent one yr in ft hood tx every month filling out 1049s back to viet nam. was honorably discharged 1970 and stayed in tx. the next 4 yrs was spent with a horable survivors guilt and finally reenlisted in to the army this time as an armored recon scout and was the best i could be was stationed in ft hood 2ad pinned on acting jack stripes right outof ait and three yrs later was on the e6 list a warrior with out a war . i was blind sided in 78 reenlistment time. the wife of 7yrs said get out or get divorced so i guess the world is right us vn vet cant keep a marriage,cant keep ajob ,cant stay sober,can't go home, can't stay here. well i got out and wound up divorced anyway. i am very greatful for the things i learned in the army ,never give up , no matter how bad it gets somebody out there has it worse, suck it up and drive on. ispent a long time forgeting, mostly my return from vietnam ,and would not talk to any one about any of it put it where it belongs in the past, stare to the future, in all this i began to search for my creator and have found a good part of him (we aint finished yet) i managed to find another wife and she gave me three great boys who are now 19, 18, 18 twins the youngest by 7 min. has always been interested in the military, played war games in the neighborhood, and had long talks with dad and managed to open the old man up.he has also made me understand and realize that i should be proud of my military history because i did it for the right reasons for the freedom we all enjoy and it shouldn,t matter what others think or say . i now know who i am and what i did for you and thats the ribbon i wear most proudly and you cant see it. i am very much at home in jason's heart and in God's future . oh yeah while i was a scout i went to germany for six months i was on the chec border watching them thru binoculars pointing real guns and tanks at me and there was no damn ribbon for that and i guess thats my point there should be but thats just my opinion doesnt have to be anyone else's that the greatest part about being an american.pfc jason graves of the 1/18 inf. 1st inf div.if youre out there and read this you gotta know i love you buddy c u soon drive on

The medals issued for the war in Iraq are listed for "Southwest Asia". I believe that Vietnam should be included in a "Southeast Asia", along with Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, etc. Just because your unit was not physically in the country of Viet Nam, it was in support of troops in that country. I spent two tours in country with the Marines as a machine gunner and was wounded on my second tour and medevaced; but I don't see how my service is any greater than anyone else within the Indochina area of conflict. Viet Nam veterans who were actually only Vietnam ERA veterans as long as they do not claim they were in combat or leave people with that impression do not bother me; they served their country and I know of some people who even volunteered for duty in country, but never made it due to MOS or other factors that prevented their being ordered to a unit in country.

"For those who fought for it, liberty has a flavor the protected will never know." Going back over two hundred years to "the shot that was heard around the World" the people, Europeans in particular, have taken sides for either the established government or its opposing faction(s). Following Britain's surrender, a soldier, Marine or Navyman was simply a 'veteran' since what other war had there been. Next the United States of America refused to pay, as the European powers did, the Barbary Pirates (Muhammadans as Muslims were known then) to allow our nations ships unmolested use of the Mediterranean Sea. Upstart American Marines stopped that nonsense. So then some 'veterans' were veterans of two separate wars.

As best I can determine until the "Police Action" better known as the Korean War war were not referred to by country name. As I understand unless one was actually stationed in Korea he was not a "Korean vet".

Until a close friend who served at sea in the Navy referred to himself as a "Vietnam era" vet the distinction eluded me.

My friend,"DC" for short and privacy, made a point that seems to put the issue in perspective. During the Spanish-American War The United States of America was engaged from one Hemisphere to another (Cuba -Philippines, etc.). My memory of this period is that the Spanish-American War was the first time American military (Army/ Marines/ Navy?) fought on the soil of two or more regions. Also, if memory serves, those who fought directly with the enemy or directly supported the troops were 'Veterans of the Spanish-American War or Spanish-American War Veterans'; those posted in non-combat or non-hostile duty need not apply for a "Spanish-American War Veteran" designation. The same criterion would apply to the Mexican-American War (they lost, but America didn't assert its authority over Mexico). Similar nomenclature for WW I.

Along comes WWII. The complete complement of the American military was directly involved throughout the World. Although America's merchant marine, which was directly involved in the war effort and thousands of their number died at sea from German and Japanese submarines and air assaults, were not later considered "WW II" vets. Since hardly any place on Earth was not involved in WW II those in the military during that time period are referred to as WW II vets. To further distinguish his participation a vet could say where he had been, otherwize "WW II" sufficed well enough.

I personally think the "Vietnam War" should be called the "Russo/ Sino-Vietnam War" or Free Choice- Socialism II War (the Korean War being the Free Choice- Socialism I War); however I wasn't on the War Naming Committee.

In miniature the Vietnam War was similar to WW II. The primary war zone was in the Republic of South Vietnam with additional hostilities in the western periphery. Therefore, anyone in the U.S. military in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand, etc. are also "Vietnam vets" resisting/ fighting the same enemy in a different theater. When any of those who encounter an ignoramus who looks at you "funny" when you say "Laos", "Cambodia" and "Thailand", "etc." you have an ideal opportunity to enlighten (educate) and turn an ignoramus into a more informed person. You both win!

As a ground pounder/ grunt VN vet Class of '69 I extend my fellow 'Nam vets a hearty "WELCOME HOME BROTHER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" You truly know the flavor of Liberty!

Sam Shelton

Did you offer just as much as everyone else? If you were in the military, everything you did at that time, in some way, supported the Vietnam war. You are a Vietnam Veteran. Same as the guy in country, hand to hand, etc. His life may have been a hell of a lot worse than yours, you may have even had it easy. But, you offered as much by signing up as he did. I don't think this in any way trivializes the people that were in direct action and I don't think it changes the character or builds up the one who did not see direct action. You were both Vietnam vets, just with different stories.

Hi Pumper,

Well, it sounds like you were at the Garden. As for your efforts and those of all at the Garden, the campaign known as Linebacker II was in fact a Vietnam campaign. Without the efforts of the vets there, our boys may not have come home when they did.

I do consider all of those from the Rose Garden, Udorn and the like as Vietnam Veterans.

Thanks Again, and Welcome Home

Be Safe and Have Fun !!!

Be Safe and Have Fun !!!

I am a 20 veteran, no matter what you put before (Vietnam, Vietnam Era) or after, (of Vietnam Era). I have long felt that my service in Thailand (Korat RTAB/Udorn RTAB) and Guam (Anderson AFB) was as importand as anyone that served in-country, I just wasn't getting my behind shot at every day like some of you were. I helped protect the aircraft and munitions that were flown to save you and if not for that, some of you might not be here now. So, am I a Vietnam vet, you bet your backside I am. Will people accept that term, probably not, I was stuck as a "tweener" I was in Southeast Asia, but not in-country, I served, but, not in-country. Were there some GIs in-coutry that did not serve, I would say, yes, but, they were in-country, so, they received the title "Vietnam Vet". I agree that you should never say combat vet unless you served in combat, also, if you were in vietnam and did not serve in combat, don't make up stories. Southeast Asia was Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, I served proudly in one of those countries and I should be considered a Vietnam Vet. I too need to belong to a brotherhood and this is one brotherhood I would be proud to be associated with.

I walked in darkness my whole tour of duty in Southeast Asia, I was K9 "Guardians of the night" Some of us had coffins for beds because we never saw daylight, if you were there, you know.
Spectre gunship's , I watched and protected those C-130's with the awesome fire power

My name from Thailand was, "Minnow", why, because Whale was already taken and I got there at 250lbs and when I left 18 months later I weighed 180lbs and I loved the name.

Does anyone know if they have started giving service members that served in Thailand disability for Agent Orange? I understand that there was numerous places where we loaded, stored and tested that stuff. Any informatiion would be appreciated.


I am the daughter of a veteran and I am very to proud to say that! I have the up most resepect for what my daddy had to go through and YES he was on the front lines. The stories that he told me when I was a small child, I couldn't even begin to imagine what it was like but now after reading over several different sites I can understand a little bit.
I don't care what anyone says, if you had any part in this war then you ARE a Vietnam Veteran. They are several different parts that make up a war and without all those parts, it's not a war. It's like a nascar driver. When he wins a race what is the 1st thing he does? He thanks everyone that was involed, crew chief and crew because without them (tire changer,gas man,fast pit times,etc.) they would not have won. Then he goes on to thank his sponsers for without their backing none of it would have be possible.
It's the same in this war. If not for the guys that manned the fuel for the tanks and trucks then the guys would be sitting ducks. If not for the guys that manned the armory then the guys on the front lines would have all surely died. If not for the cook in the kitchen preparing the meals then a lot would have starved.
It takes all parts to make a whole. I believe that if they vets of the Vietnam War would have,(or still do it),come together as a whole instead of trying to fight our Government one by one they would and still could get a long way. Whatever you do, do not give up hope because they ARE people out there like me that do care and know 1st hand how the government has been difficult when it comes to the Vietnam Vet. I AM proud of each and everyone of you. I am proud to tell people that my daddy is a Vietnam Veteran because they are things they he endured that the majority of the men in this world could never handle and my daddy is proud to be a Vietnam Veteran because he fought for our country and FREEDOM.
I just wanted to add that I lost my dad in 2009 and it was one of the saddest days of my life. He was laid to rest with honors and I visit him as often as I can.

I joined the Marine Corps in 1973 just after turning 17. I tried everything I could to get to Vietnam, foolish as it was. I never made it out side the states. I am a Vietnam Era Vet but not a Vietnam Vet. I know a lot of vets who claim to be Vietnam vets because the were issued a VSM yet never set foot in country. I consider them to be Era vets as well but not Vietnam vets. The only medal I recieved was the National Defense Medal, does that make me less qualified to be Vietnam Era? Those of us state side still supported the rest. We were still spit at, called baby killers, and resticted from some areas just because we wore a uniform. Today I consider myself a veteran of the Vietnam war and a Vietnam Era Veteran but not a Vietnam Veteran. There is a difference. I am disabled due to my service and walk with a limp, I am always asked if I was wounded in the war. I always, with a large amount of guilt and shame say "No I never left the states". I am very proud that I did serve when it wasn't a popular thing to do but I am not proud of staying in the states. It is truley a shame that so many who tried tom stay out of Vietnam now proudly claim to be a Vietnam Veteran when they never set foot in country. These so called Vietnam Veterans who never set foot in Vietnam do not suffer from the nightmares, or recurrent pains from wounds, nor do they have the memories of facing death or killing their first. Be pround to cliam Vietnam Era but not Vietnam. I am sorry if I sound a little on the bitter side but please try to understand, I have suffered for over thirty years with a very painful disabilty due to my service. Those of you who were stationed outside of Vietnam at least got a medal or two for your service, I was disabled for life due to my service during the Vietnam war and all I got was thirty years of pain and a National Defense service medal. When my buddies that did service in country start talking about Nam I cannot bring myself to look them in the eye. I do suffer from my service during that time but not like they do. So please folks, if you weren't in country don't claim to be a Vietnam Veteran, you are no more a Vietnam Veteran than I. If you were in country please don't look down on those of us who weren't, we all served in a bad time and some of us had our lives ruined forever because of that. We are all veterans of the Vietnam War be it a Vietnam Veteran or a Vietnam Era Veteran,stateside or overseas, we all served and we were all labled.


I hear what you are saying; I am not going to try to make you change your mind. Just give you something to think about. I look at the Air Force, flying aircraft from Thailand, the Philippines, Guam and the Navy off their aircraft carriers; none of these set foot on the soil of Vietnam, unless they were shot down. They provided air support, bombs, close air support from the sky; they were not stationed in Vietnam, but spent tons of time over it.

I spent 2 years in Laos, fighting the North Vietnamese along with the Hmong and others. We tied up two divisions of hard core NVA up on the PDJ. Those NVA would not be fighting our boys in South Vietnam. This is not counting the communist Pathet Lao. We had people on the ground in Laos and over the ground known as the Ho Chi Minh trail, not I, but others from my organization and other organizations. Yet most of us never set foot on the soil of SVN.

Cambodia, another hot war with an organization called MEDT-C. Material, Equipment Delivery Team Cambodia, they consisted of more than the name implies, they were heavily involved in fighting the Khmer Rouge and the NVA in the Eastern Third of Cambodia. They also never set foot inside SVN.

In Thailand, JUSMAGTHAI ARAG was busy helping the Thai Military and Border Police fight the CT’s, the Communist Thai’s. This is not counting all the aircraft that flew from Thailand providing urgent air support for our troops stationed in SVN.

What about the Navy providing support of their big guns from ships far out in the ocean? It is true, none of the above was authorized the VSM or classified as a Vietnam War Vet back in 1975 when things came crashing down. But slowly, the VSM was authorized first for Laos and Cambodia and later Thailand. Later still it was extended to those in Guam and the Philippines who had direct support of those serving in Vietnam.

One of the problems is the war in Laos and in Cambodia were secret wars. Although we spent a year or two in these countries, our orders read Thailand. We were officially assigned to Thailand, not where we served our tours.

Personally, I think without all the support and risks those troops gave and took that served in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Guam and the Philippines the number of American dead would have been doubled, tripled or been even higher.

To me, when one looks at the big picture, the terms Vietnam Vet and Vietnam Era Vet are a matter of semantics. Those not in Southeast Asia, at the time were not fighting the NVA or VC, but some were ensuring the Soviets stayed out of Europe, some did the same in Korea and Japan. Others were available in the Sates if needed, sure we, those of us stationed in Southeast Asia were involved in the hot war, but others were taking care of the cold war so we could do our thing. All of us were doing our duty, our constitutional duty of protecting America.

Don’t feel guilty about just serving in the states. We all had our duty and we all did our duty to the best of our ability regardless of where we served. Brother, Welcome home. We are all brothers in arms, comrades taking care of each other and protecting the home land. We did what we had to where we had to do it.

Just remember, with out all the support from each other, where ever that was, we sure would of left one hell of a lot more dead on the battlefields of Vietnam.

Just something to think about.


By the way, I also served 2 years in South Vietnam. But the important thing is the big picture, not any individual little cubby hole. Thanks for your service.

I guess i screwed that one up a bit. My father and uncle served in the Navy during WWII and my Uncle lost his life while on a ship off of Japan less than 100 yards away from my father.. I also had an Uncle who was shot down over Germany and served a while as a POW. You would think I would know better than to speak when I should remain silent. There is danger all around not just on the ground. I never left North Carolina and got crippled for life.


Not a problem. This is what these forums are for. Reading and listening and learning. Without you saying what you thought, which is your right, I would have never had the opportunity to have my two cents worth. What ever you do, DON'T KEEP SILENT, say what you think. My advantage is over the last ten years I have done a lot of research into the war. I was a member of Project 404 in Laos, what is now known as the secret war, even today I would say 99% of Americans know nothing about it. Especially the Laotian aspect, everyone is familar with the Vietnam side, but not with Laos, Thailand or Cambodia. Life is a learning experience.

If it is any comfort to you, I felt exactly the way you wrote in your post prior to my research. If you are interested in learning more, I could send you my web site link, but it pretty much deals Thailiand and Laos, some Vietnam. Pictures, blogs and a ton of links.

My friend, just keep saying what you think. You will teach others and learn from others. Keep on charging.


WOW, jppumper you took the words right out of my mouth. I feel the same exact way and I too tell people who ask, "I am a Veteran from the Vietnam Era." I would NEVER claim to be a Vietnam Veteran, my brother's CSM(ret)Leon Oakley, Sgt.Charles Oakley, Sgt.Patrick Oakley are the REAL Vietnam Veterans. They have the nightmares, the post-traumatic stress disorder, foot rot, Agent Orange, tremors the list could go on....They were drafted and made to go. When they returned home there was no parade, no glory, no thank you's. All they wanted to do is forget and not let anyone know where they had been.
I experienced the slap in the face, but I turned the other cheek and I'm a better person for it. I'm very proud and I like jppumper would have gone to Vietnam, I would have given my life for America.


I am a USAF veteran 1968 - 1972. I was stationed in Korea, at Kwanju AFB 1970 - 71. It was an isolated, hazardous duty tour for 13 months. We were living in modulux barracks on wheels, rolled in, walls raised, and roof caps sat on. My understanding, it was a ROK airbase and our mission, I believe, was support and advisory for the ROK Air Force flying sorties over Vietnam. There sure were a lot of F-4/F-5's in and out. It was definitely an isolated tour. I recall our visit by "doughnut dollies", beautiful girls from the American Red Cross, greeting us with coffee and doughnuts. It was definitely a wonderful and beautiful sight to see American girls visiting us 6 months into our tour. Heck we were even given 30 days R and R, the choices of Tokyo, Sydney, Bancock, or Honolulu. It may have been a hazardous duty tour due to the fact of just being in Korea, however the only hazards I really faced was trodding in the deep snow to my duty station, the race riots amongst the airman, yes, believe it or not, we had race issues in our small contingency, forcing somewhat of segregated chow hall meals, and the risks associated with leaving the base to visit the local village. With respect, I feel I am a Vietnam Veteran, regardless whether I set foot on Vietnam soil or not. I fulfilled my 4 year obligation serving my country wherever I was needed and ordered to go, without any hesitation and, honorably. It appears to me that veterans of the Vietnam war are the only veteran group singled out, each with their own government defined labels as to where one served, a government seeking to contain veteran health care costs by redefining when and where an individual served

I was drafted in June of '68. I was offered OCS, but turned it down 'cause friends had done that and came home in a box. I did not want to tote an M-16 in the jungle, and took the offer of one additional year with school. I qualified for marine engineering school. I received orders for Thailand and was assigned to a tugboat at the deep-water port of Sattahip, near Camp Samesan. I worked in the engine room of the tug, putting ships on berth, and towing barges to Bangkok. It was considered a hardship tour. I got a hootch in the 'vill, had plenty of days off, and enjoyed the hell out of everything Thailand had to offer for two years. I don't consider myself a "Vietnam vet". I'm OK with Vietnam Era vet, or Vietnam theater vet, and just plain veteran.


I stumbled upon this forum today while getting my vehicle serviced. I have read every post here and am glad I did!
Thank you all for your service during the Vietnam War, in-country or not. A particular "welcome home" to all combat veterans,
& the over 56 thousand who made the ultimate sacrifice there.
I served in the USAF from '68-'75. I was an ATCS(Air Traffic Controller)at Okinawa CERAP, Kaden AFB from '70-'73 in support of the war effort.
I talked to & controlled B-52's, KC-135's, various fighter aircraft, Navy P-3's, and the SR.-71 along with the civil aircraft that operated within the airspace of Okinawa Center.
As I have aged, I have become more proud of my service years, and wear my colors on my vest when I ride my Bike.
I have always made it a point NOT to wear anything that said "Vietnam Veteran" because I was never awarded the VSM. I do wear hats, shirts, patches, etc. that specify "Vietnam Era Vet". Sometimes, people question just what the "era" means.
I try to simply explain that it means I was not a combat veteran, but did actively support the war effort during those years as my duties required. Most understand, but sometimes feeling the need to make the "distinction" bothers me. After all, every one of us signed the same blank check, right?
Anyway, I'm glad I found a place to record my feelings about this topic. Thank you!
Ed Harmon
USAF '68-'75

Im sorry But I belive foot on soil You are a Vietnam Vet I spenT a year in country 2 years In Thailand But Im sorry But just beacuse you server during the Viet nam war and never was in Nam you are a proud veteran And thank you for service But you are not a Viet Nam Vet

I don’t believe the ‘What is a Vietnam Veteran’ question in this forum has any right or wrong comments. Veterans of that period have endured enough disdain. No Veteran should ever have to go through that again.

I am a recent member (2014) of the Vietnam Veterans of America organization. I was reluctant to join because I did not serve ‘in country’. However, the requirements to join VVA are either having been assigned ‘in country’ between February 28, 1961, and May 7, 1975 or simply on active duty at ‘any duty location’ during the period - August 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975.

When I joined VVA I admitted I was reluctant to display Vietnam Veteran pins, decals, patches, etc. My Chapter President (a combat veteran) was quick to acknowledge that most of their support and many of the missions originated outside Vietnam and he thanked me for my service. There were several ‘Vietnam Era’ Veterans in the meeting and my concerns were quickly dismissed.

I served 'in theater' at NKP, Thailand as well as Udorn. I consider myself a Vietnam Era Veteran. I don't have any reservations about displaying Vietnam Veteran insignia or gear. However, I do take care to be clear I was not ‘in country’ if asked about my service.

I do see a distinction among Veterans of the Vietnam period as; 1) in country, 2) in theater, or 3) in service. I also don’t believe that is anyone’s business except Veterans of the period and not something to be parsed by the public.

Be proud. Welcome home.

I am new to this but I'll keep my 2 cents worth very brief. To me, in my personal opinion a Vietnam veteran not only includes the boots on the ground in country but also all the air support that came to our aid whether by plane from Thailand or the Navy warships off the coast or anybody else involved that gave us direct aid and support of our missions - (i.e. - Australia, Japan, S.Korea, Phillipines, etc.,etc.) Personally, I was "in country", now to me the Vietnam Era veterans include the time frame of which this war took place but were assigned to different parts of the world or stateside duty. They may or may not have had an indirect effect on the Vietnam War as such. As usual this is all debatable. Just my opinion. - Thanks....

Lloyd Brayton

To those who did not come home I'll thank you at muster someday in Heaven. For those who did come home, Welcome home and thank you. Those who came home but still visit there often in their mind come home we love you and need you all!

when I die my bronze plate issued by the Government will say Viet Nam Veteran, and yet I never served in nam.

Anyone, anywhere, that served in support of our military/civilians during the Vietnam war (?) is, in my mind, a veteran of that war. How could any of it been accomplished without everyones input, support and physical efforts?

I salute all of my fellow Vietnam Vets!

Msgt. George A. Holmes USAF-Retired

If you have been awarded the Vietnam Service Medal, you are a "Vietnam Vet." The current trend is to also coin the term "Vietnam Era Veteran," I suppose for those who did not serve in the AOR.


If you have been awarded the Vietnam Service Medal, you re a "Vietnam Vet." Lately they have coined the term, "Vietnam Era Vet," I suppose for those who did not serve in the AOR.


I was USAF InActive Reserves(DEP)Dec 27, 1973-Jun 19, 1974. I was Active Service Jun 20, 1974-Jun19, 1980.
I received the National Defense Medal after basic training. My first duty station was Travis AFB(1974-1977).

The people at the San Francisco Airport Nov 1974 did not care if I was a Vietnam Veteran or Vietnam Era Veteran. I was proud to wear my United States of America Air Force uniform. I got spit on and sworn at. I did not though, try to explain that I was or was not a Vietnam Combat Veteran. I don't feel bad or think badly if I say I am a Vietnam Veteran.
I did carry a m-16 for eight hrs a day during flight line duty around corded off aircraft checking line badges for craft access. I thought to myself, hey this M-16 is light weight. I quickly changed that thought after an hour or so.
I am Not A Combat Veteran. I have no qualms in admitting that. I have a in-service connected compensation disability(None Combat).
What I don't get is......someone pretending to be a Veteran, or a Combat Veteran, especially from the Vietnam Era. Remember, there were no parades or welcome home or job well done and thanks for your service conveyed to us back then. Who would go as far as pretending to be anything connected to that and feel good about it.
Any ways, we got enough crap handed out to us back then.

Well, I was and am proud of my service and I thank my service buddies who helped me make the best of my tour of service.
I no way in my comments posted here direct any disrespect to anyone. That is and was not my intention.

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