Minnesota is home to a large number of Lao and Hmong warriors. In their homeland, they were recruited and trained by the CIA as part of its secret war and resettled in Minnesota after the war. Despite being credited with aiding the US, they are still pushing for recognition and veterans benefits
Trudell Guerue, a Lakota who grew up on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, speaks about how military service is part of a rich cultural tradition, and how he barely escaped being a combat casualty, after being wounded in Vietnam.
Fifty years after his service, veteran Michael Medina returned to Vietnam as a tourist. Medina shares how the journey helped him come to terms with his experiences as a Navy Seabee, after many years of grappling with PTSD before anyone had a name for it.
Valerie Buchan tells about being recruited by the Army, and serving as the head nurse in an emergency room in Vietnam, caring for soldiers who endured life threatening injuries. After coming home, Buchan became an early supporter of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, devoted to the contributions of military nurses.
Peter Molenda talks about his assignment in Vietnam as a motion picture photographer, for the Department of Defense’s photo team. His job was to document the positive actions of the US military in the country, but what he saw through his camera’s lens changed his attitude about the war.
Former Marine infantry soldier Fletcher Hinds speaks about his own struggles with reintegrating after returning from the war zone. As part of his healing, he’s returned to southeast Asia on humanitarian missions and co-founded a charity that rebuilds the country that was once the enemy.
Retired Army Veteran Lee Walker sustained multiple injuries when his squad walked into an ambush in Vietnam. He explains how he has learned to live with the pain.
And, Kevyn explores a terse and tough “four word catch phrase” that bubbled up and stuck as a coping mechanism and mantra.
Post-traumatic stress disorder was not recognized as a psychiatric disorder until 1980, years after many Vietnam veteran had returned home. St Paul veteran Ron Kane believes his PTSD may be the result of the split second decisions he had to make in the field that had fatal consequences for men he led.
Some 300,000 American servicemen were injured in Southeast Asia. Army veteran Truedell Guerue is one of them, hospitalized for more than a year after suffering maiming injuries. Army nurse Valerie Buchan was on duty to treat the wounded and recalls the special hell that burn victims endured.