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Interview with Adolphus A. Stuart [6/18/2019]

Megan Harris:

I am Megan Harris and I am here at the Library of Congress on June 18, 2019 and I'm interviewing Adolphus Stuart for the Veterans History Project here at the Library. Also present in the room are Owen Rogers and Catherine Blood. Mr. Stuart, could you state your full name for the record?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Yes I can, my name is Adolphus Alonzo Stuart.

Megan Harris:

Wonderful, thank you so much - thank you for being here with us today.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

My pleasure.

Megan Harris:

So we'll get into some biographical details - where were you born?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

September 22, 1947 - Staten Island, New York.

Megan Harris:

Staten Island, New York. A New Yorker.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

I'm a New Yorker!

Megan Harris:

And who were your parents, and what were their occupations?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

My father---check this out gang--my father, his name was Adolphus also. My mother is Annie Mack, M-A-C-K - she had a male name, and I was told that she was called "Dude." She was very tomboyish. She was a professional - she was a nurse, and she died when I was about three years old. My father was a laborer - he worked at a place called the Blue and White Laundry on Staten Island, New York for many years, until it shut down. Then he went to work for the State of New York as a culinary steward - he was in charge of the supplies for the kitchen for a state institution.

Megan Harris:

Okay, did you have any brothers or sisters?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

I have a step-sister and a half-brother. As I was saying, my mother had passed when I was three and my father remarried, and my little brother was part of that stuff.

Megan Harris:

Nice. Was there any military service in your family? Any background in that?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Not the immediate family, I had uncles who served in the military during World War II, and I think probably Korea too. But not my immediate family, my dad was too young for World War I and too old for World War II - he missed it.

Megan Harris:

Sure, yeah. And you were in school, you went to elementary school?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Yes, I attended P.S. 18 on Staten Island, New York. And I went to Junior High School 51 - it was a brand-new school, I was one of the first grads--seventh through ninth grade--to go through there. And I went to the New York School of Printing in Manhattan, I would travel from Staten Island to Manhattan every day to go to school. I did that for a year, and then I got tired of it.

Megan Harris:

That's a long trip!

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Yeah! I liked it, I enjoyed it, but I just couldn't handle it. And then I quit school--dropped out--in the tenth grade, to join the service.

Megan Harris:

So that's when you entered the service?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

That's when I entered the service - at 17.

Megan Harris:

At 17? And what made you decide to do that?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Not to make a long story short, let me tell you about my childhood. My mother had passed when I was three years old, and my father remarried. He remarried my baby-sitter. My grandmother wanted to keep me, and my father petitioned for her to let him raise me. And I feel he couldn't do it by himself, so he married the person who was taking care of me. [laughs] And I think she realized, I know she realized that--not that he didn't love her--but he loved me, and he loved my mother. He was still in love with my mother, and I was a reminder of that. And the relationship between my stepmother and I was very, very not good. So I grew up without affection from my mother--my stepmother. Always love though, never wished anything bad on her or anything like that. But she was cruel, she was like the typical stepmother. That was rough - that was the reason I had joined the Marine Corps, to get away from her. At sixteen and seventeen years old, I wasn't going to allow her to--they call it abuse now--kick my ass, and beat me, and shit like that. I thought it was the best thing for me to do, was to leave and go into the Marine Corps--to go into the service--I went into the Marine Corps because my peers had joined the Marine Corps. Well I guess another reason was my stepmother said I'd never be a man, and I said "I'll show her." [laughs] And I had friends who joined the Marine Corps, and I said "I ought to be a Marine." And that's how I got into the Marine Corps.

Megan Harris:

Marines are the strongest, manliest branch, right? [laughs]

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Yeah! Oorah! All that kind of bullshit.

Megan Harris:

Yeah! I see. So you went right into the Marine Corps, you didn't have any jobs beforehand, or anything like that?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Well, I've always worked, I've always had something going on - a little hustle. From my earliest time I can remember, I was running errands for the woman who had a religious curio shop right next door. I would sweep up, and go get her lunch, and that's work. Then when I was in high school, I was a stock man, a stock boy for a department store, in the shoe department. So I was stocking shoes, and bringing shoes, and putting them all up in the back, sizing them up, and I think my salary was like a dollar and a quarter an hour at the time, you know? And I got a new pair of shoes out of the deal. So I've always worked, I've always worked. There is so much--there's no time limit on this, I can just talk right?

Megan Harris:

You can just talk, I can ask you questions to help narrate.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

There is a time limit?

Owen Rogers:

I would ask one thing - I can hear the Velcro from your hat.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Oh, it's picking up? Okay. [puts hat on head, then takes off and places at side]

Megan Harris:

You can just have it at your side there, yeah - that's great.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Oh that's sensitive, wow!

Megan Harris:

Yeah.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

So we're going to start over, right?

Megan Harris:

No, we're good! We're good! [laughs]

Adolphus A. Stuart:

No? [laughs]

Megan Harris:

So I think that you said that you--did you do your basic at Parris Island, is that right? Was that your first duty station?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Yeah. I was on the East Coast, and I went to Parris Island, and that was an experience. Okay, interesting. Let's go back a minute.

Megan Harris:

That'd be great.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

As an adolescent--my teenage years--to stay away from my mother, to keep out of her grasp, I joined a bugle corps, I played trumpet and bugle. It was always kind of like military - I was in for a very short time, and there was the Cadet Air Corps--something like that, CAC--and there was the Junior Marine Corps League, that's when I really got bit by the Marine Corps thing. That was my fifteenth, sixteenth year - I was becoming a man, and that's when I decided to ask my dad to sign me into the Marine Corps, and he did. Now back to Parris Island - I remember going to the recruiter on the corner of Bay Street and Victory Boulevard on Staten Island. It was just a little shack booth thing. He was a nice guy, and he fed me all the bullshit that they feed to the guys that are going to go in, and I fell for it. I said I was ready to go, and then I went and got my dad, he came down and he signed the papers. I dropped out of school in like October and I left in November. I think I signed--I might have signed up on the day before the Marine Corps Birthday. [laughs] But I don't think they--they took me like two or three days later - to fly down to somewhere in South Carolina. First time on a plane - propeller! That was way back in the day, baby. I was scared. I got to Parris Island and it was the regular boot camp stuff that you always hear about - the loud talking, and the bolstering up, and you got to stand at attention, and all that bullshit. But during all of that madness in boot camp, I was thinking how simple and easy this was, because my mother was much rougher than what I was going through in boot camp. And I didn't have a problem in boot camp whatsoever, dealing with the structure and the discipline, and making the beds in the military folds and all that, because I did that at home! Ironing clothes I did--I did all that stuff! They had a routine called the field day - they'd throw everything in the middle of the barracks, and you got to run around and scrape it up and clean it up. I was doing that stuff growing up! Anyway, boot camp was a relief, because I was away from my stepmother, and I was becoming a man.

Megan Harris:

How was it to be in South Carolina versus Staten Island? Was that a big culture shock?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

The culture shock was being in the military, I didn't know anything about South Carolina because I was on a Marine Corps base the whole time. When I had graduated from boot camp, and went to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where I was able to get out and move around - that was a culture shock! It took a little getting used to - dealing with--I can't say, can I say this?--the slower pace, I'm being nice--I'm being real nice. [laughs] There was nothing down there, you know? [shakes head] But joints and whores - it was really rough. [laughs] And I was only like seventeen, eighteen years old, I was "yeah, baby!" [laughs] It was cool! I did--they had Camp Geiger was a training facility at Camp Lejeune, and then I was stationed at Camp Lejeune. I can't remember the unit that I was stationed with, but it was an infantry unit, because I was infantry. We did all of the training stuff - you know, the running and the fitness thing, and it was really boring. It was really boring. Then we got orders to do a Med [Mediterranean] cruise, I was like--I had never been out of the country, I didn't know where the Mediterranean was. I think I had seen it in the Bible one time, I'm like "I'm going there?" We packed up and got aboard ship at Morehead City, I think it was. I was on a personnel carrier - like six bunks of guys on top of one another, in the choppy seas and got [makes vomiting motion and laughs]. It was not a very pleasant experience, but I got to see some of Europe for the first time, that was a good thing. I wasn't very--I didn't follow orders very well--they said "don't go in this area, this is a very dangerous area." You know like the red light district--I said "fuck that man, come on." I just went on to where I thought I wanted to be--out of the tourist area. I've always wanted to be an adventurer, and I always wanted to be independent, and a loner. I wouldn't travel with a bunch of guys to go someplace and get in trouble--I'd get in trouble all by myself, I can't blame it on anybody. Anyway, that's the way--basically--that worked. I visited Italy, Spain, France, Malta, I sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar, and that was a really big thing because my phone number back in the day was "Gibraltar 2" and I said "oh, wow! I'm going through the Straits of Gibraltar!" That was exciting, I got to experience foods that I had never had before. I can remember the best ice cream I ever had in my life--I can taste it to this day--was in Nice, France. I mean I can still taste the ice cream! [makes slurping sound] That was good! I mean, walking down the street and smelling the baked goods, the bread baking - I can still feel that! That was a good thing. I had to leave the Med cruise early because I had a relative who passed, and the Red Cross contacted me and they flew me back to the States to attend the funeral. I got back too late for the funeral, but I left the Mediterranean and I got stationed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire - Marine Corps Barracks, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. And I'm kind of glad I did, because my unit came back and most of those guys transitioned to Vietnam. A lot of the guys in my unit--they all went, and I was up there in New Hampshire eating lobster and acting crazy. I guess I should--I'd have to check--around about this time I was married at eighteen. So my early years as far as the military thing. I met the woman just before I went to boot camp right here in Washington, D.C. at my aunt's house. We took a liking to each other, and I finished boot camp, and I married her right after boot camp--as soon as I turned eighteen, I think it was, I married her. I'm not going to say it was a mistake, because I was young, and she was like a year older than I was. We had issues, she had a child--she was pregnant when I married her. I adopted the child, and it was very good for me--I was okay with it. But she wasn't ready, she really wasn't ready. And we had issues, we had problems. And that's the reason--point--that's the reason I volunteered to go to Vietnam, because of a failed love relationship with my wife. I just wanted to die, and I wasn't going to kill myself. That's the truth. I was in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at the Marine Barracks up there, and it was a good duty station. There was no pressure, you know, I'd raise the flag in the morning, and sometimes I'd play the bugle calls. I'd go home - take the Greyhound bus down to New York City--she was in Jersey City, New Jersey--down to Jersey City, New Jersey, hang out for a couple of days and take the bus back up and go back to duty. And back then, you could check out a pistol - you could check out like, a PISTOL, and take it with you! [laughs] So I would take a pistol with me, just for the hell of it, because I'm a Marine. [laughs] Oh, God! I had the pistol one time, I brought it down. My brother's five years younger than I am, he's on Staten Island. And I go to Staten Island, and I'm "the guy with the gun," and we're going to go out and go shooting--back then, Staten Island was very rural. There was a rock quarry about three blocks from the house, and we walk up to the rock quarry and shoot the gun - that was fun. Anyway, Portsmouth, New Hampshire - I had difficulties dealing with my wife, so I decided to not be around her. And I thought I wanted to die, but I wasn't going to kill myself, so I know what I'll do, I'll let someone else do it and I'll go to Vietnam. And I volunteered to go to Vietnam. Then--this is where it starts to get interesting--we did training at Camp Pendleton. I got my orders for the 'Nam, went to Camp Pendleton, did our training--however long it was, it wasn't all that long. And the stuff that they were teaching us had nothing to do with Vietnam. I mean they were teaching us how to skin a rabbit, and--what kind of crap is this shit? I didn't know this at the time, but in retrospect, looking back, I'm thinking--when I got to Vietnam I realized that the training I was given in Camp Pendleton had so little to do with Vietnam that you went to Vietnam as a total rookie. They were very hard on you, getting you physically fit, and showing you how to shoot these things that you never had in Vietnam. But what it did do, was it disciplined you to authority, and that was very important--that was very important, that was the most crucial thing that I got out of it. Because you didn't question shit from anybody--from anybody! You did what they asked you to do, or did what they told you to do - for the most part. [laughs]

Megan Harris:

When did you get to Vietnam, then?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

I went to--we went to Okinawa first. My unit was stationed in Vietnam--and they went back to Okinawa to regroup, resupply, and refresh with troops--and that was the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines. I can't think of where they were in Vietnam - I think they might have been at Khe Sanh before it blew up, before it got real big - they were there, they came back to Okinawa, and that's when I joined them. Let's get back to California for a second, if we could do that now. There were three guys that I really befriended--became like BUD-DIES--we were inseparable. One guy was from Brooklyn, New York - I could relate to him very well. And one guy was from Bluefield, West Virginia - it took a little getting used to this guy, but we became very tight buddies. We trained together, and went on liberty together, when we were in California. When we got to Okinawa--happenstance--we were put in the same unit, so we had a very tight bond there. We looked out for each other, and we worried about each other during that training period. And one of them was killed in his first operation in Vietnam - and I'll get to that in a second. Anyway, we trained in Okinawa for about a month - I got there in November or December of '66. I think we trained for a couple of weeks. No--we trained for at least five or six weeks--it was November-December, in December we boarded the ships - because it was a Special Landing Force. Boarded the ships, and we were headed out to do battle. We had training exercises on the ship - dealing with the helicopter landing platform ship, the USS Okinawa was the ship that I was assigned to. And we went to Subic Bay, Philippines for training - did a few days training at Subic Bay, and then we on-loaded and went into the Republic of Vietnam. There--unbelievable, I haven't thought of this in a long time, this is a good interview, it's making me think. My first experience in Vietnam was not combat - it was quite the opposite, it was like very pleasurable. They pulled into--I think it was probably Da Nang, the ship went into Da Nang--and we were given liberty, you know time off. And this was the first time that I had ever experienced liberty with a loaded rifle - you carry your rifle and you go drinking, and cavorting, and hanging out. And then you go back to the ship - with a loaded rifle. That was like "I think I'm in for it now." So we had a few days liberty, went back on ship, and stayed at sea for a few days. And we were given orders--we received orders to participate in an operation, this was our first combat operation. This was Operation Beau Charger - Operation Beau Charger started in May 1967, its Tactical Area of Operation was just below Da Nang, and it was on the coast in the sea area. This was my first exposure to combat - oh my God, it was hilarious. How stupid it was--I'm looking back, and how dumb I was, and how stupid I was! I didn't know anything about war, and that it's for real [laughs]. I'm nineteen years old, and I've been playing Marine for almost two years now, but nobody got hurt - nobody dies, there was no blood. It was just like "Cowboys and Indians" on the street back in the 'hood. I can remember--stupid [shakes head and looks up]--I remember getting off a helicopter, getting shot at, and looking around [looks from side to side, laughs] - standing up, looking around. And a Marine in my unit, who had been in combat, grabs me by my ammo belt and he pulls me to the ground [laughs] talking about "don't stand up! What are you - crazy?!" And I'm saying "oh, this is like for real!" My eyes got big and I said "oh shit!" [laughs] Yeah that was--oh God how stupid I was--I haven't thought about that in a long time. Yeah, my first exposure to combat - I stood up and was looking around like "really? This is interesting!" [laughs] That was stupid.

Megan Harris:

And then from there - how did it feel after that?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Hmm - I got serious about staying alive. I realized I didn't want to die [laughs]. When I said "oh shoot, what am I doing here? Why did I leave the States?! [laughs] I could've dealt with that woman!" I'm over here and people are getting shot at, and shot, stepping on stuff and blowing them up, planes dropping bombs real close to you, and you see fire coming out of the--it was madness. And the first operation - I'm nineteen years old, and I'm learning what it's all about, and the fear factor was very high until you understood what was going on. Then after a little bit of time--after that first operation really--during that first operation--it became routine, a matter-of-fact thing to do, you just got accustomed to it, you got used to it. And it was just something to do--it was something to do. My first operation, which was the operation that my friend was killed in - Tommy Dickerson from Bluefield, West Virginia. Oh my God, what a character. It was around about the middle of May 1967, during our first operation. We had been in country a few days, and we were attached to different companies - I was in Headquarters and Headquarters Company - S-2. And they would take the scouts and put them in different companies - he was in Company A, and I was assigned to Company D. His company was ambushed, and--this is stupid, let me tell you this--his captain, his leader, sent him and a few other guys on a water patrol without security. And the water patrol was ambushed, which turned into a major encounter--engagement--which he was killed in. I was in the rear, I was with Headquarters Company--with the Headquarters people--and I'm hearing the interaction between the combat that's going on, and the casualties that are coming in. And I hear--I get his stuff, and he was wounded. And we weren't able to extract the wounded, I think that the encounter lasted all night long, and he died--he died. I was like super fucking pissed off. Oh, I was so angry. I was angry at Vietnam, I was angry at the Viet Cong, I was going to shoot his commander, I was like "it didn't have to happen" and "why am I here?" All this is within the first few weeks of being in combat, and being in Vietnam. I became very--how can I say? Isolated--I shut down. I decided I never wanted to feel like that again, I just can't get close to you, I can't--I don't want to get that bond, I don't want to feel like I'm feeling now. Because you're going to get killed--and you are going to get killed. If I feel--if I get that close to you--something bad is going to happen to you. And that lasted a long time after Vietnam, and after the service, and through relationships, and through kids. When my father died I couldn't cry because I just didn't want to open up like that again--or feel like that again. I've gotten better, I cry at movies and stuff like that now. The first operation was extremely intense - we had about 50 KIA [Killed in Action] friendly in the battalion, and a couple hundred wounded in the battalion. For a rookie--for a new guy--that's like a baptism in blood, for real. It was a rough start--it was a rough start. [Break in recording]

Adolphus A. Stuart:

I was mentioning my friend Tommy Dickerson, who was killed in the first operation, and I'd like to get a little deeper into that because it's very intense, and very soulful. We were in--during training in Okinawa, before we got to Vietnam--we became very, very close. I mean we became so close in fact, that he was going to be the godfather to my child. Imagine that - this guy's a hick from West Virginia, and he's very white. [laughs] And he was going to be the godfather to my child - that's a very close bond, that's extremely close. And like I said earlier, he was shot in his first operation, and I just shut down, I didn't want to feel like that ever again. Since then--I'm jumping a little ahead, but I'll jump back--talking about my friend. I tried to hook up with his family - I never could find them. I never could find them. I go to the wall, got his name off the wall. I still have it to this day. I remember him a lot - I think of him a lot. So he'll never die, but he's not here. Okay, now let's move on to the regular everyday happenings with my unit in Vietnam. Also, the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines - they were Special Landing Force, part of a Task Group that was stationed aboard ship, they were off the coast. They would be assigned operations - search-and-destroy missions up and down the coast of I Corps between Da Nang and the DMZ, and halfway into the country, into the highlands. I did some research on what my unit did in Vietnam, when the [Marine Corps] archives was down at the Navy Yard - it was like a thousand and five years ago. I found that I didn't realize how much combat I had witnessed, until I had saw it on paper. I was trying to find other units that participated in as much combat as we did, and I was hard-pressed. In the thirteen months that I was stationed in Vietnam, my unit had participated--I think--in more operations than any Marine Corps unit that I could find out. I may be wrong - I'm not saying that's for sure. But the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines had participated in this many operations [shows interviewer a document he is holding].

Megan Harris:

Wow!

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Can I put my glasses on? Okay. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen operations - combat operations with somebody got killed. There was so much--there was so much death and destruction. There wasn't an operation where I did not see someone shot, killed, wounded, or had gotten seriously sick, or an animal - like a water buffalo, or a Vietnamese man, woman, or child--there wasn't one that you did not see something happening horrific like that, in the thirteen months I was there in country. That kind of plays on your mind a little bit - after the fact. While you're going through it, it's normal because it's something that you're doing every day. You're exposed to it, and you're witnessing it, and you're experiencing it every day so it's normal. Ha! No it's not - quite to the contrary, it's very abnormal. Kids aren't supposed to be--human beings aren't supposed to be exposed to that kind of stuff. Yeah, we had a lot of combat operations, a lot of contact, and we killed a lot of people. We killed a lot of people. I killed three, I think. And I still see them--I still see them. I don't know what to say now - I need guidance, I need a hook.

Megan Harris:

Alright, sure - what about your other friend from New York, from Brooklyn?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Ah! Oh yes, yes, yes. [laughs] Oh God. Ted - Ted Emanuel, we was in the same unit - the same unit, but he was attached to a different company, I think he was in Bravo Company. We always checked up on each other - he was in the category before I wanted to 'X' everybody out, so he was the original. So I always worried about him, I was always checking up on him. And whenever we were in the same area, we'd search each other out. He was a character - god he was so funny. He made it through - he didn't get wounded or anything, like I didn't get wounded - I was truly blessed. But he had a contusion - a bad bruise. And I had--these were the worst things that happened to us in Vietnam--he had a contusion, it was a bad bruise, and he was limping or something like that for a minute. And I had athlete's foot [laughs]. So I was called "Shower Shoe." [laughs] I don't know what I called him, but we were like--oh God, I was so stupid. [laughs] He had a girlfriend who was--we communicated, I wrote--we would send each other letters. No we didn't send them letters, we sent them postcards made out of C Ration boxes. [laughs] That was our means of communicating out in the field, and the postage was free. Wow - I hadn't thought about that one in a long time, oh shit. [laughs] And I had a couple of pen pals, my wife wasn't writing to me at the time - I think I got one letter from her when I was in Vietnam, which was okay, you just deal with it. But I remember having a pen pal from like Detroit, Michigan - oh my God. She was very into what I was--she cared, I mean she cared! I would send her all kinds of stuff about what I was doing - I'd send the classified pictures. [laughs] I would send the stuff that's marked "Secret" - say "yeah that's what we're doing!" I'd send it to her. [laughs] Oh God, I could've went to jail. Yeah, anyway. Because people wouldn't believe at the time--they still don't believe it--the stuff that we were involved with. The madness of the operations that we had to participate in. Oh my God, the politics of the war! When I realized that there was no rhyme or reason to what we were doing - like operations overlapping each other, and there was no acquisition of territory, it was just a free-for-all and there was no--all you could do was count the bodies, but you couldn't secure the territory. It felt like a losing prospect from a novice [perspective]--I'm a twenty-year-old, nineteen-twenty-year-old. I'm figuring "this don't make any sense." I wrote my Congressman - yeah! [laughs] And he was finally indicted on some bribery or some corruption charge - from Staten Island, I don't remember his name, but look it up. I don't know who he is - from Staten Island back in the 60s. And he wrote back, in essence - "we know what we're doing, and this is the way it has to be done." It was a blanketed, rubber-stamp thing that I feel that a politician--just to get you off his back--would send out. And that's what he did. My letter was censored when I got--it was opened when I got it back from the Congressman. And I realized how deep the state is. I don't know what to say now.

Megan Harris:

Were there other operations that you remember? Specific operations - you talked about the first one.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Wow! That's a good one - yes, indeed. And one I'd like to leave America with is--I believe it is Operation-- let me check my thing here - Operation--I think it's Buffalo--Operation Buffalo and Operation Hickory. And in July of 1967, the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines acquired the name "The Walking Dead." The way they got that name was they were in an area of Vietnam--I think they were near Khe Sanh--and they were out on an operation and they got wiped out. They were hit so bad it was like stupid ridiculous--the amount of men they lost--hence "The Walking Dead." The 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines--my unit--was offshore and were getting ready to go on another operation, but were called back to retrieve the bodies of the "Walking Dead" of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. We helicoptered into the area, which we called "The Trace" - the Trace was the DMZ, and it was a barren, burnt-out area that must have been about 600 meters wide and miles long. It was a barrier - it was the DMZ. We pulled in--we landed south of the DMZ in a tea plantation. Walk a hundred yards or so and it was just a barren--something that looked like what you would imagine the pictures would look like out of World War I. It was very desolate, very imposing, and intimidating. Scary - it was scary! It was scary. And we walk across the Trace, and we set up perimeters, and we get settled in. And we get the orders to start helping retrieve the bodies of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines who were ambushed, and still couldn't retrieve their bodies. That was--outside of my first operation, that was the most memorable operation. We were hit with everything I can imagine we could get hit with - artillery, and mortars, small arms fire, bugles blowing, and people coming at you. It was like--that was scary. Then we had F-4 Phantoms flying like that high above your head [puts hand at eye-level], that's what it felt like - treetop-level and they're shooting at the enemy that were just on the other side of the perimeter, very close combat. And dropping napalm where you could feel the heat from the flame. You had mortars and rockets coming in from North Vietnam landing in your position--landing so close the smell of the sulfur would just float over you. I had--I think on the second or third day--there was a Marine, a sergeant in Weapons Platoon, he just got word that his wife had a child, from California. Sergeant Rodriguez, I think his name was--I think it was Sergeant Rodriguez. I watched a round land in his hole and blow him up, and he just had a baby--we were just talking about it. And a round landed in his hole, and he was killed. I can remember sitting next to his body bag, putting him on a chopper. Just like minutes ago, we were conversating about his child. That was a memorable operation. And on that operation--oh my God--we were ordered to pull back from the DMZ back over--back up a little bit. After we got the bodies out, we left that area, and on the way out of the area there were so many dead things there, that the tracked vehicles--the amtracs and the tanks--they were just running over dead people--Vietnamese. They were squashing them into the ground, and just getting out of the area. We were following behind the amtracs and the tracked vehicles getting back across the DMZ, and I run across this--oh my God, I haven't thought about this in a long time--this squashed human being, squashed flat on the ground body. And I'm going to take my rifle and kind of lift him up, and someone says "don't do that! Don't do that! Don't do that!" I just kind of like [makes lifting motion] just a little bit, and the stench [pulls both hands towards his face]. It was okay when it was down, but just lift it up a little bit, that stench--that death stench! [makes vomiting noise] Oh God, the shit we do. That was a close second in operations in dealing with death and destruction, and the horrors of war, and the close combat. During that operation, we had the F-4 Phantoms coming in and shooting and bombing right across the--right beyond our perimeter. Then we had these C-130s, "Puff" - they called them "Puff the Magic Dragon." They would come in, and they would "ratatatatat" [mimics gun noise] - these big Gatling guns they had on them. You'd look up, and it would look like it was just one string of fire - one string of fire coming down and just doing the ground--it was right in front of you. That was an experience - terrifying. Then it was quiet - after we pulled back from the DMZ it became very peaceful, like nothing ever happened. We stayed there for a few days, and it was like "what did we just go through? For what?" And it was very peaceful. I'm glad! I'm glad that it worked out that way. We went in and we did our job, we retrieved the bodies, and I saw--oh my God, I mean--stuff that you see in the movies. Now that I'm looking back, I'm like "hey, I saw this stuff in the movies." Mel Gibson's "We Were Soldiers" - that kind of crap, for real. That was in July--that was July 4th, that was my 4th of July--fireworks and everything. As a matter of fact, this was the first time that I could remember--or heard of--chemicals being used in war. We were attacked with tear gas, they were--luckily the wind was kind of blowing the other way, but we weren't prepared for that - that they employed a gas, tear gas. I hope--I think--that's what I was told. The routine of being on the SLF was unsettling - we'd go into an operation--I got ten or twelve operations down there--we'd go into an operation for a short period of time, maybe a week or two, then we'd go back to the ship for a few days. And you could take a shower, eat hot food, and then you get used to being normal, and then you're back on the flight deck getting ready to get on a helicopter to go into an unknown area. Then you're in combat for a few days or weeks, you're back on ship for a few days, going to the movies, having celebrities visiting the ship. They had these guys from Hollywood - the "Rat Pack" or some stupid combat series they had on television on the ship, and we were laughing at them like "come on? For real?" I remember that - I'd seen a combat celebrity in combat--please! It felt good to come back to the ship and take a shower and wash your clothes--oh my God, we were so fucking funky! I mean, oh my God! When you're in combat everybody smells the same, it's no problem, everybody stunk! But when you got back to the ship, and you took your clothes off and you washed them and you said "urrrff!" [grimaces] Oh my God - oh my God! And the food was good back on the ship too, eating C Rations wasn't all that. It was nice to have - it was very good when you had it! But when you got back to the ship, you was eating real food - that was a good thing. An experience that I had in Vietnam that I hadn't thought about for a long time, because I don't do this often - never. It might have been the first operation, it was a very bad operation - the one that my friend got killed in, [Operation] Beau Charger--I think it might have been that one. We have landing zones - for tactical areas of operation we have different landing zones and different units or companies would go to a certain area. I think this was--before I was assigned to Delta Company I was with the Headquarters Company. We were getting ready to go to another area, and they were bringing the choppers in, and we were getting fired upon. This was my first experience in being fired directly at, and how I responded was like [whispers] "I'm not moving, I'm not moving, I'm not moving." [claps hands] "Come on Marine! Come on Marine!" I was like "I'm not moving, I'm not moving--I got to go! I got to go!" [laughs] And I'm thinking--how you know that you don't want to do something, but you're ordered to do something that you know could get you killed, but you got to do it anyway. That's very rough to deal with - that was very rough to deal with. I remember a time, also, a little while later on in an operation, where we were separated from everything and we couldn't get supplies in for like three days. It was the first time in my life I had ever been hungry. It was the last time in my life I've ever been hungry. We had no supplies for three days, it was in the mountains. I can remember falling asleep after a break - you know "take a break!" I fell asleep, and my unit left me. I was left all alone in the fucking jungle! [laughs] I was left all alone in the jungle, and I couldn't figure out where the hell I was, so I just--instinct--I just got up and said "well, I think they went that way." And I started walking, I walked for about half an hour before I caught up with the rear of the unit. My unit was in front, so I had to walk through like half a battalion to get to my unit. And they never even missed me! [laughs] And I never even told them I was lost! [laughs] That was the extreme I guess--I haven't thought about that in a long time. I'm going to have nightmares behind this shit, you know? [laughs] There was a time when we were landing helicopters in an operation, and there was a mid-air collision. The choppers fell to the ground, I was right there [claps hands together]. It was in the landing zone - the choppers hit this, they fell to the ground, and they burst into flames. All aboard were killed. There's no way we could get to them - one, because of the fire, and two, the ammunition was hot and it was exploding. And we just couldn't get to them. These guys, it smelled--I mean, they were cooking! Guys were cooking! They were cooking! And to detach yourself from the madness, you always make jokes - bad ones. Well, sometimes not so bad. We were looking at "crispy critters." "Oh, we got crispy critters over there!" I said "oh man, those guys are gone! Crispy critters!" You just--you lighten everything up. You lighten everything up, or you go crazy--er. You know? Crispy critters. I hadn't thought about that one in a long time. There's a lot of shit I'm talking about now I hadn't thought about, and the more I talk about it, the more I'm starting to remember of the little stuff that happens. Like on that same operation there was a big fucking snake in my hole! [laughs] I mean, it was like--well maybe it wasn't that big, it just felt that big. But there was a snake in my foxhole, just running around! [laughs] What else is there?

Megan Harris:

Was there anything else that you did, particularly to cope with the stress of the intensity of these operations?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

There was nothing you could do. You could fantasize. I carried a little pocket book by Kahlil Gibran - "The Prophet." That was my Bible, it was the only way I could, you know, come down [pushes both hands down]. I was very religious--not very religious, but I was raised in the church. My father was a deacon - I went to church on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. [laughs] I was always in church, or doing something positive as a kid. I had a very grounded moral sense. I was doing what I had to do, because I was in the military, but there isn't anything that I could have done that was immoral. I'm very proud of that, because I've seen some shit that people do that was very bad--very bad. My unit was so active dealing with combat, and the combat operations--the search and destroy operations--that they never had, to my knowledge, any access to drugs. It was too busy, too much moving around, to get involved with drugs. The same thing goes with the prostitution thing, they just couldn't do it, too busy--damn it. [laughs] But the intensity of what my unit went through is almost unbelievable. There are units that I know of, like the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, who got everybody killed, but generally there weren't--that I know of--too many units that saw as much as we did, or participated in as much as we did. No, there wasn't--there wasn't.

Megan Harris:

So you were there for thirteen months?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Yes, thirteen months, and I think twelve of those months were with the Special Landing Force. I think it was the last month--November, no December--I think the Special Landing Force operations ended in December, and we offloaded and became a land-based unit in Quang Tri province at the Quang Tri airfield in December of '67. So we did security around the airfield, I think I went into Quang Tri a couple of times - a couple jeep rides into Quang Tri. That's when I smoked my first joint. [laughs] We were too busy during any other time, and I didn't know what marijuana--I'd never even had the stuff before! Yeah, okay--enough of that right now. In September--before we had off-loaded--in September 1967, this is what I'd like to share with America - there was an operation called Shelbyville. It was a very low-key operation, it was one of the smoothest operations we had - I think maybe--I don't know--a few people got killed, it was very light combat, very little contact. But it was the operation that started on my twentieth birthday. The operation started on my twentieth birthday, and it just so happens--my good fortune--there was a UPI photographer at the landing site, and he took my picture on my birthday at the start of this operation, which became--it was posted all over the world. A week later, I saw the picture while I was in Vietnam, and didn't believe it was me. And it was in like Parade magazine, the New York Times, I was the "unidentified Marine," I wasn't assigned a name, but it was me. Then--I'm jumping back and forth--years later, when I was in New York for the--I was born in New York, I went back home--they were building the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial in downtown Manhattan, and I was involved with trying to deal with all that madness. And an author was interested in me--my story--he was going to write about, and take an oral history of what I did in Vietnam. [Stuart is referring to the book "To Bear any Burden" by Al Santoli] I told him that he could only have my story if--if--he took that photograph and put it in the book. And that's how that photograph was assigned to my story, so I am now the "identified Marine" in that photograph. Okay, back to the gory stuff. In December we offloaded from the Special Landing Force, and we became a land-based unit in the Quang Tri province, at the Quang Tri air station, right outside the city of Quang Tri - there's a lot of "Quang Tris" going on there. That was a beautiful city - it was very nice, I'd take a jeep ride in there and view the structures, and the university, and across the river was beautiful. Some of the most beautiful scenery I've seen in my life was in Vietnam. It's a beautiful country, it really is. Quang Tri was one of the hardest-hit areas during the Tet Offensive, which I participated in. You don't--I didn't think too much of the Chinese New Year, and what it entailed and all that sort of stuff, except I knew that there was going to be a truce - that didn't happen. The unit wasn't really prepared - we were prepared to stand down, we were going to chill out and take it easy. And then it just didn't work out that way. My unit was at the airfield, we weren't in the city of Quang Tri so I didn't see the intensity of the fighting in the city. I was spared - thank you [clasps hands and looks upwards]. But the operations outside of the city, and at the air station, and on the river - Cua Viet, was spotty but intense. And we participated in that, and a few people got killed. I didn't think anything of that action because of the actions that I had been dealing with all year long. This was just some more stuff that happened. I remember--this is the good part, y'all--wake up America! Wake up! I smoked my first joint. [laughs] At Quang Tri air station, Vietnam, December 1967. I had no idea what this was, a guy says "here, smoke it." I took it--peer pressure--I lit it up, and I smoked this shit and oh my God, I was drunk! I mean shit started like [sways body side to side] moving, and I couldn't believe the intensity of the feeling of the high that I was getting. This was my first joint--this is the first joint of Vietnam shit! [laughs] I smoked the joint, and I was trying to lay back. I was going to rest it off - it didn't work. The shit was like moving around and I'm laying down, "oh my God, please make this go away! I don't want to feel like this!" And the unit was hit with artillery rounds--it was an artillery barrage--and I couldn't move! I couldn't--I couldn't coordinate or anything, I'm trying to get my shit together and get out of the tent, and get into the bunker, and I was like fucked up! And by the time I got myself together, got to the rear of the tent to get to the bunker for safety, guys were coming back in. It was over! [laughs] And I lived through that, I woke up the next morning and I'd seen the destruction to the base, and I'm trying to figure out why I wasn't killed. I never smoked a joint in Vietnam again, and that's the truth. Well that's my drug story in Vietnam! [laughs] I mean, you hear people--and I've heard stories of "oh, the heroin use in Vietnam!" and "this was the drug age!"--and I didn't see none of that shit. None of it - I can't say it didn't happen because people say it did, and it did. But I was saying earlier that my unit was too busy doing battle to do drugs. And as soon as we stopped doing battle, and settled in to a serene situation, drugs were available. And I smoked my first joint, got fucking hiiiggggghhh! Lord have mercy! [laughs]

Megan Harris:

So you were there for about a month or so, is that right? That was right before you came back home?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Let's see - Tet was in January-February, I came home in March, I think it is. Yeah. Oh, I went on R and R. Oh yeah! Can I talk about this?

Megan Harris:

Of course, of course.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

God's going to get me for this! [laughs] I went on R and R after all of the battles and combat we had been in, and it was just before Tet. I went on R and R to Taipei, Taiwan - Free China. Lord have mercy. It was a good experience, it was very good. I was very cultural, I was very respectful and everything like that. Then this woman got hold of me. It was terrible, the things that she did to me. I couldn't help myself, she just--it was terrible! I tell you! Terrible! [laughs] And she--this was very inexpensive--but I was very respectful. She had a child, and I supported that child, and she just wanted to be all friendly, and I said "okay. Okay!" So that was like a week of bliss--bliss. And it was very cultural too - went to the museums with her, we did cultural stuff. We went to the museum, and this was so amazing--I haven't thought about this in a long time--she was reading thousand-year-old poems that were in the museum. Thousand-year-old stuff! I was like "get the fuck out of here! You kidding me?" She says "yes, this is ____." I said "oh shit, really?!" That's one of the things that I've learned to respect about culture - is the culture, how stable it is. America doesn't have a culture yet, hasn't been around long enough to have a culture. When I was in Europe, in Naples--in Naples! I mean, you've got the Roman culture--the Romans built this shit! It was during my Med cruise. Malta - I was on the island of Malta, where they had medieval shit going on there. Then I go to Taipei, Taiwan, and I have this woman read me a thousand-year-old poem, that was heavy, that was heavy. And the food, oh my God! It was very interesting. Okay, I just had to get that off my chest. That came along with the drugs. [laughs]

Megan Harris:

When was that in your first tour that you did R and R? Was it towards the end?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

This was my first tour of duty in Vietnam, and it was towards the end of my first tour - just before Tet, and before I went home. I went home like right after Tet, and came back to the States.

Megan Harris:

So I definitely want to hear about your second tour, can you take us from your first to your second? What happened - you came back from your first tour, and then what happened?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Yes, I came back from my first tour of duty, and I reenlisted in the Marine Corps--I don't know, stupid. And I was in--the reason I re-enlisted was stupid. I was trying to re-establish a relationship with my wife, and I was sent to--stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and they were going to send me to Guantanamo. I had just got back, so I says "no, if I re-enlist I don't have to go." So I re-enlisted for--I think it was a three-year reenlistment, I don't know, it might have been--okay, I reenlisted on a four-year reenlistment but I only did three and some months - they let me out an "early out." But I reenlisted because I didn't want to go to Guantanamo, I wanted to try and work on my relationship and I would have that time of security--being in the military--and I could have my wife and my child with me. It didn't work. It didn't work - I was going to leave the East Coast and get a duty station at-- a nuclear bomb facility? [laughs] Seal Beach - it was a depository for nuclear weapons. And you had to get a Secret clearance and all that kind of stuff to be in there. It wasn't a good fit for me, and I was transferred to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Santa Ana, California. I was a military police, and that was a very interesting duty station. [laughs] This is 1969-1970 California, "Purple Haze," "Free Love" - it was a wild, wild place, it was a wild place. Anyway, what can I say about California? I knew that I did not want to go back to Vietnam, and I got orders. It was military police, I was really secure, and I had authority - I was a Sergeant E-5 now, I was a little bit in rank. And the orders came in for me to go to Vietnam. As E-5 at the time, I had the option of turning them down, so I turned them down--so I thought. My commander, the commander of the base, the Colonel whatever-he-was took issue with me refusing to go back to Vietnam. I told him I wasn't going to do it - one reason was that a Black man in Vietnam who was killed couldn't get buried in the cemetery that his parents had wanted him buried in, because he was Black. And I didn't feel comfortable fighting under those circumstances. We had a long conversation - he said he was going to _____+ - he said "you're good material - Sergeant E-5, we can put you in OCS." I said "this sounds good, but I don't--no thank you! No thank you, I don't want to be an officer, I don't want to do that!" And he said "we can send you to a unit that won't go into combat." "Okay." Which he did, he sent me to a unit--I think it was the 9th Marines, which were the "Walking Dead." They were on Okinawa, and they were on ship, and we didn't go in-country, but we were off the coast of the country, we were on call all the time, so my stress was not alleviated one bit. Because I knew that at any second I would be back in Vietnam. But my second tour of duty in Vietnam was uneventful - none whatsoever. First tour was enough.

Megan Harris:

How long were you there on your second tour?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

About eight months - it was about eight months, then I got out of the service. [Break in filming]

Megan Harris:

So before the break, you had taken us up into--you had come back from your second tour, which you said was uneventful, and now you're back State-side and you've gotten out of the Marine Corps.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Okay. And before I get out of the Marine Corps I'd like to go back to my first tour.

Megan Harris:

Of course.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

I was reminded of--I guess I have a lot of stories, and I don't have enough time, there's not enough tape in this sitting to tell you those stories. But there is one thing I would like to bring out, and that's the inhumanity that has happened in Vietnam, and not necessarily by our troops. In years past--recent years past--there's been a thing about torture, and waterboarding, and treatment of enemies of the state. When I was in Vietnam, there were instances where I witnessed those war crimes, atrocities committed by the Vietnamese--the South Vietnamese in particular--in trying to obtain information from suspects and people that they had captured, or soldiers, by waterboarding. And I'm not--I knew that it was wrong, I didn't have to be told that this wrong - this was wrong. I had the good fortune to have been present to stop that practice on a few people. I'm very proud that I did, but then again I don't know - if I hadn't maybe some more lives would have been saved, it's a--. [moves hands to mimic balancing scales] I don't know, but I felt good, and I still feel good that I didn't allow that to happen. From my experience in dealing--and seeing that practice--the victim, the one being tortured will tell you anything you want to hear. So it wasn't a very effective way of getting information--and that's that. Let's move on to--my second tour was uneventful, and I'm about ready to get out of the service--. How did that work? Oh yeah, my second tour of duty--. I had wanted to stay in the Marine Corps for life, I had wanted to reenlist again, and I was ready to do this. But during my second tour in the Far East, I was on Okinawa, I had run into--I'm a sergeant E-5 now, I'm a sergeant--and I had run into an immediate superior, he was a staff sergeant from North Carolina, who was very difficult to get along with. I got along with my troops very well, I wasn't the gung-ho, hard leader, but I was effective - I got things done, and they followed me, and we communicated and we liked each other. And we understood that the job had to be done, but you don't have to be hard-ass to get people to do the stuff that you want to do. And the staff sergeant didn't like my methods, and he was really on my ass, and he turned out to be--well, I can't say it was prejudiced or anything like that--but he was very difficult to get along with. And I had reported him to my captain, and nothing was done, so I was stuck with him. I was going to reenlist - I left the unit, went back to California, and they said "do you want to get out?" I said "no, I want to stay in." And they said "well, you reenlist, you have to go back to your unit." And I said "I can't do that, because I will kill him-- I will kill him." So I got out of the service to save a man's life. Anyway, I got out of the service in 1971. In the interim, by the way--oh let's go back! Let's rewind, let's go back a few years. I had separated from my wife when I was in California, we were separated, and my childhood girlfriend, who I ran into when I was back on Staten Island--this was after I had reenlisted--she resurfaced in my life. I was very happy and excited, and this was going to be a good thing - it was a good thing for a while, and it was a great thing because she was a mother to my children, that's the most beautiful thing that happened out of that relationship. I did not ask her, or insinuate in any kind of way, that she come to California - I was like [shakes head], I wasn't ready. There she is! She just gets on a plane, and comes to California, and there she is! And my son was born in Santa Ana Hospital. I went--this is getting back to Vietnam--I sent her back, I drove across the country with her and the baby. [laughs] I drove from California to New York in a '56 Oldsmobile. Wow! Anyway, I got the family back to Staten Island where they would be cared for and looked after, and I went to Vietnam for my second tour. And I came back in July, back to Staten Island--and it took some getting used to. The military wasn't there, I didn't have the structure anymore, I was all by myself. There's no captain, there's no reveille - just all by yourself. But once I'm out of the service, I also didn't have the safety, I didn't have the familiarity around me that kept me sane. I didn't have to go through change with dealing with the combat issues, because I was around a bunch of guys that dealt with the combat issues - we were all the same. The analogy I use was stinking in combat - everybody smelled the same, so it was normal. In dealing with issues related to combat as a civilian - I didn't have that camaraderie around me, that familiarity, to allow me to be crazy and be okay. I was in denial for a long time about issues that I was experiencing, my behaviors that I was exhibiting, that it's normal to get up every two hours in the middle of the night - "So what if I do that?" And the exaggerated startle reflexes, and not trusting people - "but that's just the way it is!" That's the way it's not supposed to be. It was pretty intense for a while, and then I'd learned to mask it - I'd feel it inside but I wouldn't respond to it, the reflexes. I'd be all jumpy inside, but I'd be like "okay, it's cool." [laughs] You know, just shuck it off. I didn't speak of anything combat-related to anybody for years, and years, and years. Because I didn't want to be called a liar, I didn't want to have to defend something I couldn't prove. I just kept all of that in, and wouldn't say anything to anybody. I just went out and I started working - doing all kinds of crazy labor stuff, social work stuff, community-related stuff, just work. And not a career, I wasn't set for a career, I didn't want to do anything for the rest of my life - I didn't want to be a lawyer, or a doctor, I didn't want to settle in. I didn't want to conform. I got a job at General Motors, in Edison, New Jersey - I think it is. They had a manufacturing plant--I was putting Cadillacs together or something like that, I don't know what it was--and I was on the line. We had the oil embargo in the mid-70s - you know, it was the odd plates-even plates to get your gas, it was real drastic shit. And they cut the production, and they cut my shift out, and for the first time I was unemployed. And I had a child--as a matter of fact, I had two children then--and I was very angry with what had happened because I didn't understand it. I was like "why am I not working?" So I was going to learn about, I was going to understand economics and business, I was going to go to school to do this. So I went to school, and when I figured out there wasn't anything any one individual can do to make things better, or to change things, I changed my curriculum from business to liberal arts. [laughs] And I said "I'm going to learn about everything in general - I'm going to be a philosopher, an artist, and a reader, and all that kind of stuff - and satisfy myself." It was during that time that I started to express myself in art - I was painting, I was writing poetry, and all kinds of weird shit. But I wasn't dealing with the stresses - the stress of the combat and what it was doing to me and my relationships. I was masking a lot of behavior, I was masking a lot of feelings in acceptable behavior. I wanted to know more about what I was going through psychologically, so I said "well, I'll take a couple of Psych classes and see what's going on, maybe I'll figure it out or maybe I won't." What I figured out was that my step-mother was really sick, and I couldn't hold anything against her because she was ill. I found that out, and I was glad for that. And as for myself, I remained in denial, because I was functioning. I ran across a woman who was a psychiatric nurse, and since I was taking psychology and in that realm, I was working at a psychiatric institute as a therapy aide, and she was my supervisor - my boss. And she found me interesting - weird. We started a relationship, we started communicating - she was in school at the same time I was. And she acknowledged that I was an artist, but I had a lot of trouble - she said "but you're an artist!" I said "you're fucking crazy." She said "no, no - you are an artist!" I said "really?" And then she started to explain to me my behavior, or lack thereof. She was the one that got me to realize "I may have a few issues going on here, that need to be addressed." I thank her, and I attribute my getting help to her - this dealing with this PTSD stuff. When she realized that I had issues, and when I started to look into my behaviors and my avoidance, it was before they had a diagnosis for PTSD - it was before it was in the books, they didn't know what to call the syndrome. The research goes back to the beginning of time--it was shell-shock, and all kinds of things that they labeled it--for the stresses of combat - back to the Greeks. But it's PTSD. I masked a lot of my emotions, or memories, through the use of drugs. I started escaping - I escaped! I was totally oblivious to anything in my past, I was immersed in the present, I wouldn't think about my past. I was always functional, I always worked, you know. But I would get fucked up, just not to remember. I provided - I went to work every day, and when I knew that it was becoming a financial problem I became innovative and started retailing to keep my supply going. It became very profitable, and it worked out very well, and I was very fortunate to not have gotten busted, or had gone to jail, or arrested or anything. I came to my senses and realized that retailing in cocaine was not--it wasn't me, it wasn't me. It felt like I was part of a movie - it wasn't real. It worked for a while, but it wasn't real--it wasn't who I was, so I stopped. I left New York about '77 or '78 and relocated to Washington, DC for a while, to get away from the drug culture. I brought my muse with me - the woman who said that I was an artist, and helped me up as an artist. I brought her with me, and I stayed with--we had our own place, she was a nurse so she had a job, and I became a nursing assistant so I had a job. But I was here where all the records are, and that's when I started to do some research down at the Navy Yard, and it wasn't until then that I started speaking about what I did in Vietnam. Because you can't call me a liar, because I can prove every fucking thing I'm saying. And it was at that point I started opening up about what I had seen, and done, and experienced in Vietnam. But I was an artist too, I was really creative, and I've gotten back into the creativity thing. I was very creative, and I was writing poetry, and reciting poetry in the clubs, and I was very bohemian - like really. That was when I was down here in DC in the '70s - '77, '78, '79. Then I went back to New York around '80. And when I went back to New York, Reagan was president, and I was getting involved with veterans' issues. When I was in college, we had an organization called the Veterans Advisement Center, where guys would come in and deal with scholastic issues, that they had to deal with the school. We would guide them into the right area, and tell them what to do, or suggest to them what to do. But the Veterans Advisement Center was very active outside of academics, in the community. When the core of the unit had left school, we kept the acronym--the Veterans Advisement Center--and changed it to the Veterans Action Committee. We became a pack, and we became incorporated, and started changing things around Staten Island - changing bus routes to get to the VA, and a lot of good things. And we were able to endorse candidates, so we were a political entity. It was about that time I started writing political editorials. Oh my God [shakes head]. It was always veteran subject or issue-related editorials that I wrote. There was one editorial--and I've never been edited, they've changed the title but the body has never been edited--God, how stupid can they be? The Marines were killed in Beirut--the bombing of the barracks--it crushed me, I was very mad about that. I wrote an editorial that was very scathing of the administration's handling of that, and the reasons why we were there, the whole political bullshit thing. That was published, and picked up by my Congressman, who happened to be Republican. I didn't think anything of it, I just did it, and then I was told that I was a "person of interest" in Capitol Hill because of my activism and my writing. And I stopped writing editorials at that very moment. [laughs] I stopped, I got scared. I knew what could happen, so I stopped writing editorials, and I stopped writing everything. But I was still very active in the veterans' movement that we had, and I would come down here, I'd give testimony in Congress, and try to get bills passed, and stuff like that. They would call for me to be an advocate, and I'd go down there and I'd act like I knew what I was talking about - I faked them all. I did that on the state level too. I was offered a job--this is where it starts to get interesting--I was offered a job with the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs. It was the Veterans Affairs for the state - you would write up the claims, and then send them in to the Feds for the guys to get their benefits, and I was writing claims for PTSD. I don't have a claim myself now, I'm getting these guys their claims, the help that they need--and not only the Vietnam vets, I had PTSD from World War II veterans. [laughs] Once I figured out what it was that I was doing with the paperwork--and I'm a writer--guys would come in about something totally unrelated, and I'd ask them the PTSD questions that they'd respond to. I'm kind of leading them on, I'd say "you have trouble sleeping at night, don't you?" [nods head] "You get up sometimes and you look around, don't you?" [nods head] They would say "yeah, yeah." I just had to write that down. [laughs] And I'd submit it, and they'd wind up getting their compensation. I'm doing this for the Vietnam vets in particular - sitting across the desk, and asking the questions related to getting their claims, and I'm the one affected by it. I got the PTSD. I'm fucked up, I'm doing drugs, and I'm smoking cocaine - like I think I became a good friend of Pablo Escobar's, so I'm really doing drugs. [laughs] I'm not needing to remember, I don't want to remember, I don't want to live this stuff, but I got a job of getting your benefits by you telling me about what I went through. So I'm writing these claims up like "oh man, you got it - you're getting 30 percent," and then it just goes up from there. I was very good - I was very good at getting these claims - making sure that they had all the paperwork, and the documentation, and where to get the documentation if they need it to file the claim so that they could get on with their lives, and get the clinical help that they needed. Me? Pssh. [laughs] I'll get the check, I'll go home and sell drugs, and get high, and go to work on Monday, and just ignore myself and how I'm going to get through this. Until one day, a vet comes in - PTSD, really fucked up, one hundred percent. He's getting money from the federal government, he's a teacher, so he's getting money from the union, because he's out of work, because he's got this issue - he was getting all kinds of money - that he was supposed to get. And he comes in, and he wants to know if he would qualify for HUD, which is a needs-based entitlement, and he was like way fucking overqualified to get HUD. And I looked at him, "wait, you know that you're making too much money for this." This is like an epiphany moment. He looked at me and he says "do you need the name of my lawyer?" It's like a lightbulb went off - "bing!" Why the fuck am I sitting here getting these guys everything that they need, including the help that they need, and I'm not taking advantage of this? It was very soon after that that I--I couldn't take it anymore, I could not deal with the stress of talking to these veterans every day at the Brooklyn VA on a psych ward floor--getting them their benefits, and me going crazy and doing drugs, and not helping myself. I just "I can't handle it no more!" I told my secretary "I need to file my own claim." So I filed my claim, and I got 30 percent - that was cool, but I'm still fucked up. Then I--and I'm still working--but I started the process. It got so bad for me dealing with that environment, and those issues, that I had to do something else. I told my secretary "I can't handle this no more, I can't do this no more, I have to quit." I quit, like right that minute - I walked out, I said "I can't do it anymore, get somebody else." But the state didn't look too kindly at that, because they didn't have anybody to fill the billet, so I just didn't care, I couldn't do it anymore. About my disability--a little story about that--I was awarded 30 percent my first year, then you go back for evaluation every year. So the second year I was awarded 50 percent. And the third year, I went back for evaluation--and all I'm doing is being truthful to the shrink--the normal progression is 30, 50, 70 [percent] unemployability to 100. This is how fucked up I was - I go 30, 50, third year - 100 percent. I had issues, I mean I really had issues. And I had to have a fiduciary! [laughs] I was like really messed up. I was awarded 100 percent disability, and I still had to go back for evaluation. I did the evaluation for maybe two years. I moved to West Virginia the third evaluation I had - "there ain't no hope for you, it's total and permanent." [laughs] So in five years I went from zero percent to "total and permanent" - that's PTSD. I had issues, and I was just being truthful in telling the shrink what was going on, plus having documentation of my service, plus being in the book - they know that "he's seen some stuff, and he has issues, and he can't save his money because he's just fucked up." And yeah, anyway - that was enlightening, that was enlightening. And America - now you know! The guy is crazy, he's really sick! [laughs] But I feel okay, having gone through all of that, and having survived it, and I can't say--I survived it. I still have issues - I still get up three or four times a night, and although I say I'm not looking out for anything, I'll go to the kitchen and I'll open the refrigerator and I'll get a bite, like a grape or something to justify my being up. I don't do drugs anymore - damn it. And I think marijuana is legal in DC too, right? Oh my! [laughs] That's not really a drug. I don't feel the need to escape, I don't feel the need to escape, I would like to recreate every now and then, if I could. But I don't need to escape anymore, I live with the memory and I've accepted it. That's a very good thing for me, and I guess for everybody else, too. I'm a laid-back, chilled-out guy, I found a purpose in my life. Okay.

Megan Harris:

So about when was that, that you got the diagnosis of 100 percent disabled - PTSD.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Oh, that was many years ago. Oh my God, that was many years ago. That was twelve, thirteen, fourteen years ago - I was in West Virginia. I had gone to culinary school when I was in New York, I quit my job as a veterans benefit counselor, and I was just awarded the 100 percent. And I quit my job, and I was not going to do anything ever again in my life that I did not want to do. That was it, "I'm not going to do it." Within reason - I'll never be a benefit counselor again, and I'll never do hard labor again, I'll never do anything that I don't want to do. And I had wanted to go to culinary school - and I went to culinary school, and the government paid for it as a vocational rehab thing. I went to culinary school in Manhattan, and I started--I was like an old man by then, so I couldn't deal with the bullshit of coming up from the very bottom and taking orders from people who didn't know what they were doing. So I started mid-level, dealing with people who could deal with an old person. I started working for temp agencies when I was in New York. I worked with a couple famous chefs in New York for fundraisers--just short gigs, I didn't want to work for anybody--but short-term gigs, a catering thing or two, with some very well-known chefs. Then I went to West Virginia--and I'm still a rookie in the cooking field--I went to West Virginia, and I hooked up with Chef Robert Wong, he was like God. [laughs] He was like God. And I worked with him, and I'm still 100 percent but I'm not "total and permanent." I became "total and permanent" in West Virginia when I was working for this guy, so I still had to report to the pscyh every so often, I was going to the vet center for counseling, and I got the job working with Chef Wong. It was during that period that I grew as a cook, and also it was the first year under his tutelage that they had initiated a culinary program in Mountain State University in West Virginia, so I was in that class, and I get the BA thing going. The VA was going to pay for it anyway, so I was working, I was going to school, and I was doing what I wanted to do - I was learning culinary on the job and in the school. And the shrink said I was super crazy, there's no hope for me, so "you're 100 percent, 'total and permanent,' you don't need to come back here anymore, forget about your medicine, you're fucked up." So I said "okay, cool." The meds that they were giving me were really fucking me up, I could not--it was really bad. But I was going to take them, and try to be okay, and do drugs too--it didn't work out too good, so I stopped taking their meds and started medicating myself. Then I was in West Virginia, I was still doing drugs, smoking cocaine. I got tired--well my chef died--he left the place that I was working at, and I think I stayed on for a little while. Interesting story about the chef thing - I went to West Virginia, and I heard that this guy was there, and I was an admirer of his, and I started cooking with him. I had no way of getting to work - I had someone take me to his job, and I relied someone on the job to bring me home, I did that for a while. Then I got a car, and I was able to work with him with ease. I worked for him about a year, and I was ready to go on vacation. I approached him, and I told him I wanted to go on vacation, and he tells me "you're not hired for full-time, you don't have vacation rights." I said "okay, no problem" - I gave him my resignation right there. Hurt me to my soul. A few months later, he was having issues with the kitchen I heard about, I went back and he hired me back, so we had a different relationship then. I worked with him for about another year, and he gave up that position, he went and got his own restaurant. I stayed there for a couple months, and then I left. [laughs] This other chef comes in and takes over his position, and I like what this other chef is doing - I heard about him, so I go up to him "hey, maybe I can learn something from you." I go up there and apply for the job, and I get the job with him. I get hired at this one facility three times - it's like unheard of. I work for him for a little while, then I decided that I can't grow anymore here, and I'm getting old, and I don't feel like doing anything anyway, I'm going to go to New Orleans where the food really is. I go to New Orleans--I get on a Greyhound bus, a suitcase and I'm in New Orleans--I'm an adventurer. And I get to New Orleans, and I started--oh my God! I was homeless for like two weeks in New Orleans. I thought I had money in the bank, and I didn't--drug related. I had to wait for my entitlement to come in, my check to come in, before I was able to settle in. For a couple weeks I was in a shelter - a very humbling experience, humbling. I had my knife kit, and my uniform, and I started applying at places, and I ended up being accepted. I worked in the French Quarter, end up in a couple of restaurants on Canal Street. Then I ran into a fabulous chef - he's Filipino, Cris Pasia. He worked with Paul Prudhomme - he's Prudhomme's protege. So I was working with the best of the best. Then Hurricane Katrina comes, knocked all that out. Then I moved to Dallas - well, I re-located to Dallas. Chef Pasia got me out of New Orleans with his family, so I'm indebted to him. We're still--I cooked with him this year, I went down there and cooked with him for an Asian festival in Shreveport. After Katrina, Chef Pasia got me out of New Orleans with his family, and I had no idea what I was going to do. First stop was Houston. I couldn't go back to New Orleans, it was devastated. So I got a bus ticket - a Greyhound bus ticket, it was one of those "Excursion" 30-day tickets, you can get a bus ticket and go anywhere in the United States for 30 days. So I got the bus ticket in Houston, my first stop was in Dallas, Texas, and I was in need of freshening up. I found out that at the convention center in Dallas, Texas they have aid for persons who were hooked up with Hurricane Katrina. So I go to the convention center, and I'm going through the different--the bullshit that you have to go through. I got an apartment, I got furniture, I got food - in three days, in three days! I got all that hooked up, I got back on a Greyhound bus, and went to Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Colorado, and then I went to Kansas City, and a few stops in between, then back up to New York, and back down to Dallas. When I got back to Dallas I had everything set up for me, but I'm still kind of fucked up because of the situation in New Orleans. I'm dealing with stress again, so I decided to not want to remember that, either. [laughs] So I started doing drugs in Dallas, Texas, and I found a church. It was a little house church, a little church that dealt with--that ministered to the kind of people that Jesus would minister to--the drug addicts, the prostitutes, the down-and-outs, they would gather. And I became part of that congregation, and I wasn't judging, but they were fucked up! I'm so fortunate that I--he would say "I almost cried because I have no shoes, until I met the man who had no feet." He goes "there's always someone who has it worse off than you do, no matter how bad you have it." And it was through that experience of dealing in that environment, that church, that I was able to say "oh shit, I'm not so bad after all," which caused me to want to do better. And I stayed with that church - I'm still part of that church. Mercy House - Mercy House in Dallas, Texas. The use of drugs decreased when I started accepting more of who I was, and became less selfish. I started cooking with--cooking for organizations, I was always independent--I would cook for charity, or cook for a special event. It felt good, because I didn't need the money, because I had the government paying me. So I was altruistic, I was a philanthropist - I would just give things away. That gave me great joy and satisfaction. Then I started international travel, then I started getting involved--culinary saved my life, bottom line. Because it was culinary that was the beginning of the good stuff in my life - that became my drug. That became the thing that I wanted to do more than anything else, and it became the thing that I had to be sober to function in. I can't fuck this up, because I'd be messing up other people. So that was a big help in me not wanting to do drugs, and being able to refocus my attention on something other than myself. I went to Paris on a whim, someone said they wanted to go to do a chocolate show, I said "I like chocolate, I'll go." They didn't go, they backed out. I already had my ticket, and I had never traveled outside of America by myself, I said "fuck it, I'm going." I went to Paris, spent a week in Paris, I enjoyed it, loved it, loved being by myself - an adventurer all alone. I could not do the tourist thing, I could not do the group thing. It was wonderful, I learned a lot and experienced, and I got to see the Notre Dame Cathedral before it burnt down, it was a beautiful, beautiful edifice. I come back to the States, and I'm cooking in Dallas, and now I have a publicist, and I've got people working with me. I became a LLC, so I was doing personal chef-ing stuff. Then I was working for charities, doing special events. Then I go to Lisbon, just because I met a chef online who was doing fantastic stuff, and we got a relationship going. I went and spent some time with him and his family in his restaurant - that was a very good experience. Where did I go after that? I don't know, I just traveled the world. I teach in the Philippines, I remarried a Filipina, and I teach in the Philippines when I go - culinary at the college in north Negros. I cooked for one of the premiere wine makers in the world, for a launching of her brand in South Africa. Just a lot of little bullshit, you know? Sitting here talking to you about it, and it makes me realize the stuff that I did - "yeah, yeah I did that." But I understand that the people around here have been doing some investigating themselves, so it's not really all that.

Megan Harris:

I hadn't heard any of this. One thing that I--when I was listening to you talk about your first Med cruise, and then when you went on R and R in Taiwan, you mentioned the food. You mentioned the food, and that you'd been exposed to it.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

So it kind of brings it right around, right.

Megan Harris:

Yeah, so I'm curious - was food something that you were always interested in, or had an eye for, or maybe a taste for, or was--

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Okay, here's how that works. Going back to childhood, way back then - my father is from Virginia, and my stepmother is from Alabama. My father was always a good country cook, a good home country cook. Oh man, his shit was like really off the chain. And my stepmother was working as a domestic in Staten Island, and she was cooking for people who didn't eat my kind of food. I was exposed to artichokes, and asparagus, and stuff that I didn't get in my community, through my stepmother. So I was exposed to food forever, and then when I went in the service and made the Med cruise I was exposed to more. When I got back, and in particular when I got out of the service after having been in the Med, and Vietnam and the Far East - I wanted those things, those flavors, that stuff in my face again, but I couldn't afford to go to the restaurant to buy it. [laughs] So I started going to the libraries, and I'd be fucking up dishes like you wouldn't believe, thinking "I'm a cook." [laughs] But you mess up enough, you get it right. And after I--in the beginning of coming to my senses--I knew that I wanted to deal with food. Because this is something I would never--I would never do anything in my life again that I did not want to do. I wanted to cook, and that's it - that's how that came about.

Megan Harris:

Well, I have some sort of reflective types of questions - things like what are some of the lessons you learned from your service - if any?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

[laughs] Oh, lessons from the service--. What have I learned from my military experience? I learned you have to be able to trust people, or give them the chance to be trusted. I learned that, as a Marine, there is no tighter bond, and in combat there is nothing tighter than a Marine--a brother--in combat. And that was something that I'll take to my grave. I learned during my Marine Corps training, during the "Marine Corps manual" phase of my time in the Marine Corps--the very beginning--they had acronyms for doing everything. There was--in combat you have, I can't think of it now--a sequence of procedures that were applicable to civilian life. You have your mission, you have your enemy--which would be whatever you're trying to accomplish--and you have your logistics, and those basic things I've been able to incorporate, or to transfer into civilian life. And they fit very well, it's like a corporate model. I've learned to be able to do that. I've learned through my military experience in combat that the next breath ain't promised. I learned that I could be talking with someone in their face--which I have seen this happen, and it's happened to me--and they drop dead, they were shot dead in mid-sentence. So I've learned and I've accepted that the next breath ain't promised to nobody, under no circumstance. I learned that words are very powerful - what you say carries a lot of weight. Because one time, going back to a Marine Corps combat thing, my job in S-2 partially was to care for prisoners of war, people that we'd take in custody, and identify them, put the tags on them, to send them back to the rear to be interrogated by professionals at a higher level. At my level in the field, on a battalion level, we would get the prisoners, or the VC suspects--or the Viet Cong--and write the paperwork on them, and put tags on them. There was one Marine from Pennsylvania--I think Philadelphia, a real badass motherfucker [shakes head]--and he would come by and he would bang the VC in the head, hit them with a rifle butt - he was abusing my prisoners, people I had charge of. And me being the type of person I was, I wasn't going to allow that - one, it was my job, two, it was wrong for that to happen. We had words in one incident, and I said something that I wish I hadn't said to this day. I said "I hope you fucking get killed!" And he got killed. It was based upon that experience that I have never wished bad on anybody ever again in life, no matter what - words matter, they're very powerful. I think they say--there's nothing more powerful than words--like "in the beginning was the Word." I said "oh shit!" Some heavy-duty shit. It's little things like that that I take away from my training, and my exposure, that have guided me all through my life--some consciously and some unconsciously--I have to sit back and think about why I didn't do something - "oh shit, now I know."

Megan Harris:

I think--keeping in mind the idea that words are powerful--the words on this recording that you're making for us today are powerful. What would you say to people listening to this in the future?

Adolphus A. Stuart:

It's all a lie! It's all a lie! [laughs]

Megan Harris:

[laughs] Well--.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

No, I'm joking - I'm joking folks, I'm only kidding, I've got to lighten it up a little bit. What would I like for y'all to take away from this? It would be real cool if people will listen to this and understand that the struggle is real, that guys who have been in the service and seen any combat - they suffer. If you've seen combat, you're fucked up. My heart really goes out to the guys in the last couple of conflicts - Iraq and Afghanistan, and those conflicts, and their PTSD issues, and their stressors. I can't imagine having a stressor of a parked car, or a pile of garbage on the side of the street - that's unbelievable. I still go through--I hear a helicopter, and I hear them in DC all the time--I hear a helicopter and I'm like [grimaces and flinches] - there's a remembrance, there's a feeling. It's uncomfortable, like when I see a military jet, I'm looking for something to happen - kind of, the feeling is really subsided, but I still get an inkling of "I remember this." The public really should understand that your loved ones--the people that went into service to protect you and your way of life--have issues that they may not be willing or able to talk to you about. But if you're watching this, watch out for some of the signs and symptoms, and approach them--gently. There is help, and there is hope - I am a witness of that, oh my God! I am an example of that - I was very, very fucked up, and I've been through so much shit. By the grace of God I am alive, and I'm able to sit here and tell you what I went through, hoping that you'll understand that there are people out there who really could use the compassion and understanding that you can offer them. That's what I would like to have people take away from this. I got something else I want to say too - on a bright note! I'm writing a book about what we're talking about, and sitting here talking to you makes it easier for me to get started--to really get started, and get for real with it. This has been a very good experience for me to expand. I was contacted a little while ago by people in Hollywood who want to do the same thing that you're doing. They want to do a documentary on me - yeah, I'm telling you! Crazy motherfuckers, boy. I get a call--Facebook is fabulous--I get a message and it says "oh yeah, we want to do this, and we're coming there in August to do some shooting." I said "okay." "Do you mind if we go through some preliminary stuff?" I said "okay cool, what do you want to know?" They said "we'll be there in August." They're coming here in August, and they're going to do some stuff. If these people can sell it to Netflix, I'm taking you to dinner! [laughs]

Megan Harris:

That's fantastic news! That's wonderful! Wow, so cool! You will definitely have to keep us posted about that.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Most definitely, most definitely. One of the things I didn't include in this thing is that I got involved with cooking for a cause. I am starting a feeding program in the Philippines for undernourished preschool kids - it's one of the goals that I'm trying to hook up. I'm also working with a Virginia-based charity for grandmothers in Africa who are taking care of their grandchildren who are infected or affected by the AIDS pandemic. So I've got my hands in--I'm not overwhelmed but I'm just active--it keeps me free from the drugs. [laughs]

Megan Harris:

Sounds like you're pretty active, I would say! Sounds like you've accomplished a lot more than most people have!

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Eh, but there's so much to--life is so short, there's so much to do--I'm 72 fucking years old this year. I've got issues--not serious issues, but I'm old--and there's so much more I want to do, and I know I'm not going to have time. The next breath isn't promised, but realistically, you don't have time to do all that there is to do, or that you could do, or that you want to do. I'm truly blessed to have been able to do as much as I did--not get in trouble, not go to jail. Check this shit out - I'm a 72-year-old Black man in American, no warrants [laughs], never spent a day in jail, that's an accomplishment. I never got caught! [laughs] I was a good businessman, it isn't that I did not do things that would warrant--not warrant me being in jail today--but I was lucky. I was lucky. Okay, anything else?

Megan Harris:

I want to do a quick time check here, to see how we're doing on time.

Owen Rogers:

It's a quarter after four.

Megan Harris:

Okay, yeah. I think you've given us so much, and I'm so thrilled with how this interview has gone.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

For real, for real?

Megan Harris:

For real, for real - a hundred percent.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

For real, for real? [points at Owen Rogers]

Owen Rogers:

For real, for real. This was a great one.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

For real, for real? [points at Catherine Blood]

Catherine Blood:

No question.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Okay, alright.

Megan Harris:

So I think unless there's anything else you'd like to share that you didn't talk about, I think probably this will about do it. But I definitely want to give you the space to share anything else.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

No, I think that's pretty much it. I got through my childhood, I got through my Vietnam experience for the most part--not for the most part, skated through it. I had wanted to--I had a plan, but the reception is bad [points to his tablet and then the ceiling]--to really get detailed, but I'll save that for my book. This is a very general experience, and I didn't even need tissues, because I kept it light. It can get very, very intense, but I kept it light. You're a great interviewer, a great host, even though you say you don't do this - it's really good. I don't know how the geek is doing over there, because we have to find out if I get a tape or not. [laughs]

Megan Harris:

[laughs] You will get a tape, he delivers.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

We might have to do this over again, but I've got faith in him! [laughs]

Megan Harris:

I do too, I do too. And thank you so much for sitting down with us today - it was an honor to hear your story, and I'm so glad that we can preserve it here at the Library.

Adolphus A. Stuart:

Thank you, my pleasure.

Megan Harris:

Great, alright.

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