Thurman P. Woodfork

Nui Ba De, the “Black Virgin” Mountain, Tay Ninh Province
Nui Ba De, the “Black Virgin” Mountain, Tay Ninh Province from Det 7, 619th TCS – ‘Penthouse’ 1966-1967: Photo ©Copyright Thurman P. Woodfork

In my seventy-three years on this planet I’ve met Spanish-American War veterans, World War I veterans, World War II vets, and Korean War vets. Now there are Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans. And yet… I’ve rarely met a Vietnam War veteran. I’ve run into a slew of ‘Nam vets and Vietnam veterans, but there seems to be an absolute dearth of men who declare themselves to be Vietnam War veterans. I wonder why that should be. Even the Vietnamese refer to that long, grueling conflict as ‘The American War’, but we Americans seem to shy from the word. Now, I know there appeared to be a lot of battling going on around the local ‘hood’ while I sojourned in the somber shadow of Nui Ba Den. There were tanks, artillery, choppers, jets, a wily and determined adversary – the whole nine yards. And, of course, the grunts. Sure looked, smelled, sounded, and felt like an honest-to-God war to me.