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My Grandfather by Mark Tran

My Grandfather (AW)Several times I’ve had conversations with my grandfather about his experience during the Vietnam War.  I’ve come to realize that the details about his experiences became more specific and graphic as I got older.  This became clear as the last time I asked him about his experience he went into full detail. My grandfather spoke of his most vivid memory from the war. He volunteered to join the South Vietnamese Army when they were mustering in early 1967 and the war was quickly escalating. He spent most of his time training recruits near Saigon which was somewhat far from the frontline. However, it all changed when the Tet Offensive took place in early 1968. He told me that the Vietcong heavily shelled their base on several consecutive nights in an attempt to break their morale. My grandfather had lost several close friends from the assault, and many other trainees that he had known. He told me losing several of his friends naturally had forced him to seek reassignment. Luckily since he spoke English well and was able to seek reassignment in the control tower at Saigon Airport for the duration of the war, keeping him and our family safe from any danger. Since this allowed him to have close ties with the Americans, he was able to flee safely from the Communists days before the fall of Saigon. If it wasn’t for my grandfather’s intuition to leave the army then he might not have survived and I wouldn’t be here today.

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