Black History Visionaries

Home of the Brave: Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemorative Project

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DALLAS -- “It's been 50 years since I went to Vietnam as a 23-year-old kid out of Texas. I was just desperate to get there.”

Joe Galloway volunteered to go to Vietnam, not as a soldier, but as a war correspondent. His best-selling book, We Were Soldiers Once, was turned into a movie with Mel Gibson.

“Fifty years since the first major battle of the war was fought, and I was there. People died on my left and my right. I figure that I had a million bullets fired at me, and not one of them touched me. I’m the luckiest man you have ever run across,” Galloway said.

Now, he’s on a different mission, “This project is the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration.”

Galloway is crisscrossing the country interviewing vets who served in Vietnam.

“There is no bull, and there's no bragging," he said. "These are quietly told stories of the reality of war. For many of them, I think it's a catharsis.  For me, it's a duty and an honor."

CW 33 has teamed up with Galloway who is working with the Department of Defense on this project.

“We’re delighted to come to Dallas, line up as many folks as we possibly can interview," he said. "Whether it takes one trip, two, or three, to get the story of Dallas' veterans."

One after another, he’s helping them deliver an oral history of what they lived through in Vietnam. Each interview is about two hours, and they'll all be turned over to the Library of Congress to create a permanent history."

“August 23, 1968, we were under imitate attack. We lost 17 Americans. All I could see was this man on the floor, and all I could see was a big hole on his right side,” said Eugene H. Pugh.

“Another memory is going back and sitting and wondering, 'Why did I not get hit?'" Chuck Chamberlin said.

“We built a wall to protect ourselves from that pain, and those walls were strong,” said John Tuthill.

“Every story is different. Some are routine, almost, but most have some element in there that I never heard before," Galloway told NewsFix. "Some of them are surprising. We’ve got over 130 of these interviews in the can. They resonate with the courage of young men who were drafted. Didn’t ask to go to this war. Didn’t want to go -- were pulled out of a civilian life."

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