Veteran’s Interview

Name of Army Member: Ray Cole

Services Branch : Army

Segment 1: Jogging Memory of the Army

Were you drafted or did you enlist?

I was drafted into the army.

Where were you living at that time?

I was living close to the school.

Segment 2: Experience in War

Which wars did you serve in (WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf)?

I served in the Vietnam War. 

Do you remember arriving and what it was like?

When I had arrived in Vietnam on a commercial plane from the plane, I was taken in a bus to the camp where I would be staying for the past couple of months. The tent was a black-out tent, which meant the army could not be seen inside; it was covered, so one could not know if someone was in the tent or not.

What was your job/assignment?

My job/assignment was to be a tank loader, andI also had other jobs, such as a driver, machine gunner, tank commander. I was moved to three different units throughout the course of my service.

Tell me about a couple of your most memorable experiences.

One of the most memorable experiences I had was when I saw a man be killed in front of my own eyes; it was a very tragic moment.

Segment 3: Life in Vietnam

Was there something special you did for “good luck”?

Something I had as a good luck is that I kept a picture of a woman that I loved. It kept me motivated that there was someone waiting for me when the army returned to the United States.

How did people entertain themselves?

To entertain themselves, the army members played cards as well as pets such as a dog and a monkey.

Do you recall any particularly humorous or unusual events?

A humorous moment I recall was when the army came back to the United States, the participants were very excited to see the simplest things, such as seeing the toilet flush.

What was the food like?

The food was served in green boxes, bland, and we never got hot meals.
Segment 4: Last Years Serving

Did you work or go back to school?

After I retired, I drove the school bus for Garnet Valley and became the boy scout troop leader; I also finished my schooling at nearby Widener University.

How did your service and experiences affect your life?

My service had  very dramatic impact on me life in numerous ways; I had PTSD and quickly fell into having a drinking problem because I could not cope with the trauma.

Closing Reflection

Veterans deliver extensive service and protection for the United States; they travel miles away from their family and everyone they love to keep people safe and make sure that they can have a sound sleep there. What do citizens know about these veterans struggles, hardships, and successes?  In this article a veteran connected to Garnet Valley was interviewed to see how and what the members of the military endure during this periods of service. This interview was completed with veteran Ray Coe, and Garnet Valley is so thankful that he shared his experience. Mr. Coe explained that it was hard for him to cope with a normal life when he returned to the United States; the most heartbreaking thing when he came back, landing in Seattle at 2:30 am, was when people threw tomatoes at him as they viewed the army during the Vietnam War in a negative light. There were very vivid effects of mental trauma, and he also was injured twice while in Vietnam. Garnet Valley is so grateful for all the hard work and sacrifice veterans have exerted for the United States, and these men and women truly deserve all of the respect and honor in the world; they are the true heroes of this nation.   


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