Vietnam Veterans Spit On, part 3

(This is a continuation of Vietnam Veterans Spit On, part 2.)

and this final, particularly disgusting story from Bob Greene's 1989 book Homecoming: When the Soldiers Returned from Vietnam.:

  • "I was medically evacuated from Vietnam in November, 1969, to a Naval hospital in Japan where, after my recovery, I was stationed. During my tour there I married a Japanese lady and adopted her son. She became pregnant; in early 1970 I was transferred back to the U.S.A.

    My family and I landed at San Francisco International Airport after a very long flight from Japan. We were going into the cafeteria to eat and, of course, I was in my uniform with all my Vietnam medals, including the Purple Heart {with} the Gold Star {in lieu of second award}.

    My family and I were standing in line, when, out of the blue, this middle-aged lady walked up to me with a bowl of potato salad in her hand. She threw the potato salad smack in the middle of my chest and spat what salad she had in her mouth in my face. Then she proceeded to call me a 'baby killer,' 'war monger,' and a lot of other vile names.

    I became so angry and humiliated that I balled my hands into fists and would have hit this 'lady,' had it not been for two other servicemen who grabbed me and got me out of there. I'm glad they did get me out of there before I'd had the time to react, because I later
    thought about headlines that could have read: 'Crazed Vietnam Vet Assaults Middle-Aged Woman.'

    That is how I was welcomed home. That is how my family was first introduced to America.

    This 'lady' was no hippie. I sort of get the feeling it has been easy to 'blame' hippies for things like this because they were easily identifiable, and because they did dramatically, in many cases, communicate their opposition to the Vietnam war. But the verbal and physical abuse of returning Vietnam veterans took place in all levels of American society."

    -- Frederick H. Giese, Arlington Heights, Illinois

So, Steven, we're just wondering what sort of "documentation" you and Mr. Lembcke want? Just because there was no member of the press who happened to be standing around to snap a photo doesn't mean these events didn't happen. The history of civilization has been recorded through first-person accounts of someone's experiences.

Why should the history of the treatment of Vietnam vets on their return to the U.S. require a different standard?

How about it, readers? I know there are Vietnam vets subscribed to this site. If you have any first-person accounts (it happened to me or I saw it happen) of returning Vietnam vets being spit on, please click below where it says, "Click to submit your own comments," and tell us about it. And give enough detail for it to be credible.

If you don't have a first-person account, but you know someone who does, please forward them a link to this page, and ask them to submit their stories. Thanks.

Comments for Vietnam Veterans Spit On, part 3

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So you're an expert, Mr. Myers?
by: Ken Delfino

I have chosen to wait and let my seething anger pass so I could reply in a calm and controlled manner. Mr Myers must consider himself to be some sort of expert, so I challenge him to go to Texas Tech University the next time the Viet Nam Studies group has a conference and discuss his views in a panel discussion forum.

A lot of what I wanted to say has been stated by some responders, so I'll simply add that if Mr. Myers is a veteran, I'll respect his right to state what he did.

I don't agree with it, and with 490 patrols scattered over 22 months in the Mekong Delta under my belt, I have earned the right to state this opinion.

There is a book that's been published called Whitewash, Blackwash: Myths of the Viet Nam War by R.J. Del Vecchio and Bill Laurie...both Viet Nam combat veterans who can straighten you out on any other myths you may want to publish.

This is Serious Ignorance of Real History
by: MarDivPhoto

The factual reports on spitting are very well registered. No, it wasn't all of us, it was a small fraction of us. But we all heard of it, we all saw nasty antiwar demonstrations on TV, we all experienced various levels of feeling disparaged and rejected.

In a special Vietnam issue of the Holy Cross College magazine some years ago, Lembke (who teaches there) put in his comments about no spitting. Since two vets whose articles appeared in the same magazine wrote specifically about their bad treatment while returning, it was ludicrous then, and it remains ludicrous today.

About mere history... Nguyen Ai Quoc was just one of the names that Ho Chi Minh (born Nguyen Sinh Cung) used in his life, so Steven's reports on "real facts" aren't exactly accurate.

Contending that in the complicated aftermath of WW2 the USA could or should have simply told France and the other colonial powers that we'd support dissidents in those colonies is so simplistic as to be laughable. Steven's entire view of that history is one of total bias and serious ignorance.

Finding good literature on the war is possible, although there are many more inaccurate and biased presentations available than good and accurate ones. Try America in Vietnam by Lewy, or America in Vietnam the Fifteen-year War by John Guilmartin, a slightly dated but useful and concise presentation of real facts.

Spitting on Veterans
by: Anonymous

The book Stolen Valor : How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History includes descriptions of the many veterans who were assaulted upon returning home.

Other veterans tell of being directed to put on "civvies" prior to leaving the airport, so they won't be assaulted.

Liberal idiots today are no different. They still despise our troops and treat them with contempt.

Someone Tried to Spit on Me
by: Combat Medic

I was in San Francisco, and a young man tried to spit on me at the airport.

His nose now turns at a 90 degree angle, so every day when he shaves, I imagine he remembers me.

I was out of the jungle and home in four days.

by: Anonymous

I lucked out - they missed me because I came in at 3:00 AM. God bless the restraint our golden veterans had with these ungodly people. They are scum that was scraped out of the gutters.

When will the American people learn that soldiers have to take orders. Go spit on a Congressman and see what happens - jail time.

I love all my fellow veterans and hate to hear these kinds of dishonor.

We are losing a much greater battle with our money. The Federal Reserve "IS PUTTING US IN DEBT ON PURPOSE", THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN AUDITED BY CONGRESS.

Debt is the new form of slavery. Why would Congress pass a health bill, when the country is in a depression?

I'm getting a sick feeling,so I'll stop.

I think the vast majority of America shares that "sick feeling."

Unfortunately, having Congress audit the Federal Reserve would be sort of like having the fox guard the henhouse.

The problem is Congress and all the irresponsible legislation that has been crammed through (in violation of Congress' own rules and over the objection of vast majorities of Americans) in the past 18 months. This current Congress will bankrupt America to the point where it can never recover if left unchecked. How'd you like for your grandchildren to be speaking Chinese here on American soil? As our debt to China grows, that possibility becomes more real.

So when you get the chance, at the ballot box in November, vote the bums out. Every Congressional representative who has supported irresponsible legislation that stands to bankrupt the country with his or her vote, has forgotten that their employer is the American people. It's time to give them their pink slips via the ballot box, and put new people in Congress who understand that their job is to represent the American people. They are supposed to BE our voice in Congress, not ignore our voices!

Who cares?
by: Terry Baker

The homecoming aspect of military service Vietnam Era? Who the F cares? Certainly I did not. Made not one bit of difference.

The immoral and degenerate war itself, well, that's quite a different matter. As is true now, with TWO (count 'em) TWO such wars ongoing.

The troops refusal on the ground stopped Vietnam, and that, as a matter of history, is quite significant. There's been a good bit of more passive resistance within our military in our current two wars (they got rid of the draft, hence the draftees more active, and militant, resistance). Those fighting our military from within well deserve our active support and respect.

Terry, thanks for joining our conversation.

Apparently you care more than you're willing to admit, since you took the time to submit these comments.

I don't know where you got your "information," but saying it's inaccurate would be polite. If you have any connection with the military, you know that soldiers in a combat zone engaged in the conduct you describe would be court-martialed in a heartbeat.

Today's military is an all-volunteer force, so why would those who would engage in resistance join in the first place? That makes no sense.

As for the rest of your comments, I'll let our Vietnam veterans respond.

So what's your point?
by: Anonymous

It pains me a great deal to hear what you say Bob... But, what is your point?

Do you want a Purple Heart for some lethal potato salad thrown at you? It's not like it was Napalm - U Bic? (Vietnamese for: "do you understand"?)

Maybe you should have had that woman thrown into jail for having the courage of her convictions. Her frustrations became insufferable; the horrible wholesale destruction, wholesale mayhem, wholesale murders, unleashed on millions of humans, by soldiers.

I'm not condoning her behavior - could just have easily been a 9mm as potato salad.

Do you have any idea how much pain and agony was created with the .223 M-16 or Napalm or White Phosphorus (willy peter) Daisy Cutters, arc-light, or Agent Orange?

Without the vivid story, I'd call you a liar. The parade of wanabees /fake killers /pathological liars, often tell a 'spitting' story, but ask them for details and watch them choke!

The "spitting" on returning US Military personnel is an urban legend at best.

Just think of the Potato Salad we dumped on the Vietnamese - visualize the death and destruction after 10 years of illegal invasion and occupation by the USA?

Are you saying they would have been better off if we'd stayed home and let the Communists overrun them sooner?

If it wasn't for the massive Peace demonstrations in the Street we might still be in Viet Nam? oh! We Are - never a peaceful moment when your only solution to every problem is a Hammer; Perpetual War for Perpetual Profits.

I'm wondering do you have nightmares about that Potato Salad? Was she the only one who was there to welcome you or better still Welcome Home Bob! hope you recover from that Potato Salad wound.

I'm a %40 disabled PH vet, wounded during the final days of the Tet Offensive after surviving every battle along the Mekong R, With: A/Co/3rd Btn/47th Inf Reg/ 2nd Bde (Mobile Riverine Force) 9th Inf Div Oct '67 - '68

That's the ONLY reason we're publishing your rude, offensive, and error-filled diatribe. Your hateful comments pain those of us who have respect for our military men and women. No wonder you hide behind the cowardly "Anonymous."

The point is to illustrate the contemptible behavior our returning soldiers were subjected to. It's pointless to take out frustrations with the administration on an individual soldier.

Spitting incidents are well-documented.

It is also well-documented that American troops won the war on the ground. Even General Giap has said the North Vietnamese were ready to surrender.

It's the protesters, aided and abetted by the American Media, who lost the war in Vietnam, and subjected the Vietnamese people to Communism. They (and you) should have to see the suffering that resulted.

The Vietnamese-Americans I know were grateful for help from the Americans. They're just very sad that the American government allowed their country to fall to Communism.

THAT's what we have to be ashamed about with regard to Viet Nam.

by: Anonymous

When I returned from 'Nam, I wasn't spit on at any airport. I think most people would've been too embarrassed to try that.

I wasn't spit on until after I got back to my home town. A lot of other 'Nam vets have told me this also.

The spitting on Viet-Nam veterans DID happen and it happened quite often over many years. More times than most vets will admit to.

Proud Marine Returns from Vietnam
by: Anonymous

When I returned from Vietnam I was a proud Marine. I went to university on the GI Bill to complete my education. In a conversation with fellow students, a pretty girl asked me: how many babies did you kill?

I was startled, cool, and deeply hurt. I guess I was too young to appreciate ignorance back then.

I'm sorry you had to experience that. I hope you had the presence of mind to tell her that you didn't kill any babies, and whoever was spreading that garbage was making a fool of her.

I was in college when the war ended, and I can't imagine asking anyone such a question. It's the height of rudeness.

Thank you for your service, and Welcome Home. Semper Fi.

by: Anonymous

"It's the protesters, aided and abetted by the American Media, who lost the war in Vietnam, and subjected the Vietnamese people to Communism."
This is a joke, right?

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