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“There's nothing glamorous about it…there's no heroes. There's just scared boys with tough sergeants spurring them on.” (audio interview, 56:48)

   Oscar James Gary
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War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Marine Corps
Unit: Company M, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force (FMF); Company D, 1st Battalion and Company H, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, FMF
Service Location: San Diego, Camp Pendleton, and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) El Toro, California; Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa, Japan; Da Nang, Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam
Rank: Corporal
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Oscar James Gary enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1964, thinking it would be a great adventure, and early in his deployment to Vietnam, he described himself as “gung ho, like John Wayne.” But his combat experiences and news of riots in the United States made him rethink his role in a conflict so far from home. Though his service left him with PTSD and questions about the utility of war, in his VHP interview he expresses no regrets, saying, “I didn't even have to go. But I'm kinda glad I did.”

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (5 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (84 min.)
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (5 items)
Describing patrols; Marine killed in a friendly fire incident; Search and destroy mission in a local village; rifle jamming during combat. (16:41) Operation Double Eagle; enemy aimed for machine gun team; Marine injured in a remote location, corpsman killed attempting to rescue him. (06:41) Early warning that the enemy is in the area; attitude towards combat changed; questioning the purpose of the war; role of civilians in war. (10:31)
Declining to reenlist because he didn’t want to go back to Vietnam; becoming a Military Policeman. (05:13) Work after service; becoming a job developer; reception veterans received returning from Vietnam. (04:56) 

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