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"[Fear] is something that you bury inside of yourself." (Audio interview, 5:48)

   Frederick Oliver McElderry
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War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Navy
Unit: National Security Agency
Service Location: Long Beach, California; Da Nang and Hoa Binh, Vietnam
Rank: E-3
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Arriving in Da Nang, Vietnam in 1966, Navy veteran Frederick McElderry was assigned to a four man river boat, a LCM-8 landing craft, and given orders to cover “logistics.” He spent his days and nights towing supplies, transporting prisoners of war, and engaging in firefights with the enemy, and was told over and over, “Don’t trust anyone.” To cope with the overwhelming paranoia and fear, he shut down emotionally, eventually developing post-traumatic stress disorder. Despite his longtime struggles with PTSD, he has never regretted joining the Navy.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (3 clips)
»Part 1 | Part 2 
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Download: audio(2) (81 min.)
More like this
»Vietnam War: Looking Back
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (3 items)
Enlisting in the Navy; early service aboard the USS Brush which was stationed in the Tonkin Gulf; return to the States; receiving orders to Da Nang; training; instructions not to trust anyone. (11:06) Being issued weapons; transfer to Chu Lai; transferring prisoners of war; first experience with death. (07:15) Firefight that erupts while he is watching a movie; strangeness of war; how war affected him emotionally; roots of post traumatic stress disorder. (02:41)

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