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This interview was conducted though the internet on October 8 2002 Chuck Burns offered to share his Vietnam thoughts and experiences with us In 1966 I dropped college and joined the Marines under threat of the draft I wasnt sure what I was doing but some of my buddies were going so who was I to stay behind Never thought of running - conservative family roots my country my family my life Run to what run to where I had no opinion My country was fighting communism in a far off land Better there than here I knew nothing about a place called Nam USA should have been involved with a different strategy a better leadership and greater support from the citizens My training consisted of two months of orientation in a branch boot camp two months of basic infantry training and 1 month of staging I arrived at Da Nang on a C-130 as a replacement grunt and summarily I was assigned to a line outfit in Chu Lai I found the country beautiful rainy and green In contrast the economy was inexistent at best It was like shock treatment to what I knew Muddy roads trails and villagers in pajamas I remember when I was first taken to a battalion area The truck passed through villages with women and kids standing on mud and waving a couple of feet away from us My most vivid memories are those of combat and the images of combat from both sides Most notably my brothers in arms The chaos of the moment Other than that the personalities involved were varied and memorable From the black brother from Chicago to the hillbilly from Georgia We all came together and knew each other Very well There were sailors marines soldiers and air men Not to mention chopper pilots and jet pilots medics and corpsmen I was a Marine Life was unbearable
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