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"You depended on the very people who were stealing from you." (Audio Interview, 3:58)

   Walter L. Washington
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War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Army
Unit: 2nd Corps Support Command
Service Location: Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Holland; Philippines; Germany; Thailand; Laos
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
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Walter Washington saw many of his boyhood friends serve in the infantry, some of them not coming home from the Vietnam War. But he had chosen an ROTC-oriented college education and went into the officer corps. He was stationed in Germany when he volunteered for duty in Vietnam in the closing days of the American presence there. He had the unenviable task of shutting down or transferring control of facilities to the Vietnamese, accounting for inventory, some of which was being stolen. Even though he thinks the war inflicted deep wounds on the U.S. Army, he still believes in the ideal of serving something bigger than yourself.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (44 min.)
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»AAHM: Next Generation
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
Problems with closing down facilities in Vietnam. (02:18) Parents opposed to joining ROTC; father thought he had sent his son to college to stay out of the war, mother didn't want him serving at all. (00:58) Theft of material he was trying to account for. (00:32)
War's effect on his community back home, his family, and the U.S. Army. (01:02) Views on the war changing in light of his experiences. (00:46) The ways war can mature a person; need for country to support their men in uniform; the calling of military service. (03:06)

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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