In September 2017, Vietnam War veterans now living in north central Florida will share stories of their time in Southeast Asia. (Photos by Ethan Magoc/WUFT News)
Home / People of Florida / Introducing the Audio Trailer for ‘Florida Voices: Vietnam Veterans’

Introducing the Audio Trailer for ‘Florida Voices: Vietnam Veterans’

By

In September, Vietnam War veterans living in north central Florida have a story to tell.

In conjunction with a 10-part PBS film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick airing on WUFT-TV, more than 20 local Vietnam veterans provided their own oral histories to WUFT News. Their collective perspectives from the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy, span the Southeast Asian conflict — from 1964 aboard a ship in the Gulf of Tonkin to 1971 as American involvement in the ground war neared a close.

WUFT’s series is titled “Florida Voices: Vietnam Veterans.”

Some continue to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. Others battle the health consequences of Agent Orange exposure. More than a few still question whether the war was worth the cost in human lives.

All served their tour (or tours) of duty and came home with stories to tell.

They live in areas from Ocklawaha to Orange Park, from Chiefland to Port Orange. Many made Gainesville their home after the service, taking advantage of the benefits to which they were entitled under the G.I. Bill at Santa Fe College and the University of Florida.

Our intention in September is to share two stories each day as the PBS series begins and continue to present more local voices until its conclusion.

Hear “Florida Voices: Vietnam Veterans” on WUFT-FM throughout September, with full-text transcriptions of each veteran’s story appearing simultaneously on WUFT.org. Below, hear an audio trailer of who a few of them are, what they saw and did, and how they continue to process the effects of this conflict, decades after they returned to the United States and made their way to Florida.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

Check Also

Broadcast Bits: Episode 5

  Tremendous economic power is being consolidated as broadcast corporations continue to merge with one …

  • Mike Yates

    Americans Must Step Up To the Line And Protect Veteran Rights
    Many Americans believe all Vietnam Veterans receive healthcare from VA hospitals. They are wrong! The VA denies health care and lost wage compensation to all Vietnam Veterans whose feet did not touch the ground or who did not patrol the inland waterways of that country.
    Navy and Fleet Marine personnel served in the offshore waters on battle stations providing continuous naval gunfire support, search and rescue, and aircraft carrier support and protection. They also served on submarines in the offshore Vietnam waters.
    In January of 1991, the United States Congress, by unanimous consent of both House and Senate, passed a law acknowledging that components of herbicides (mainly Agent Orange) extensively sprayed over the Vietnamese countryside were the cause of major health problems to all of the men who fought that War.

    In 2002, without consulting Congress, the Department of Veterans Affairs revoked the eligibility of certain Vietnam War veterans to receive VA Benefits for service-connected disabilities granted by that law. Since that time, the list of cancers and other life-threatening illnesses has grown and the number of Vietnam War veterans who have succumbed to these major medical conditions has increased at an alarming rate.
    These offshore Veterans are currently dying in poverty because of medical bills that should have been covered by their VA benefits. They are dying without the dignity and respect they deserve as disabled American veterans and casualties of war.

    This is an issue the American Public needs to know about so they can demand their Congressional representatives to support legislation currently before the House (HR-299) and Senate (S-422) that would restore these lost VA benefits. All Americans should be ashamed of how our government is treating Veterans, from Vietnam to our current conflicts.

    Because of the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 any new law must ensurE that most new spending is offset by spending cuts or added revenue. Congress doesn’t seem to have a problem finding ways to pay for Bills related helping other countries(including Vietnam for the cleanup of Agent Orange (Public Law No: 114-113). so they shouldn’t have a problem finding a way to pay for a Bill that is going to help our Veterans that served our country during a very unpopular “conflict”. Vietnam was a Country we were at war with and we can find the money to clean up up the Toxins in Vietnam but not the funds to help the Veterans that served off the coast of that Country and are now suffering from diseases that may of been caused by Agent Orange, this is very sad.

    Only the American Public can bring about the needed changes by contacting their Senators and Representatives and demanding they take action. Tell them to vote for S-422 and HR-299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017, which will help solve the problem of the offshore Vietnam Veterans while they are still alive.

    Mike Yates
    Blue Water Navy Awareness on Facebook
    WE WERE THERE TOO on Facebook
    thebluewaternavyawareness@gmail.com