Vietnam Vets Speak to Students about Their Experiences


Left: Richard ‘Coco’ Hanes, Harry ‘Bambi’ Peterson, Larry Fulton, Mike Micknis(Teacher), Steve ‘Tongue’ Gerg and Rick Taylor.

Students were quiet and attentive as they listened to the members of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 720, of Dagus Mines, PA share their stories.  They learned about many different types of service and that all of the ways these men served made a difference.  The veterans reminded them that during the time of the Vietnam War, many Americans did not treat veterans with respect.  They said that in the past they rarely talked about their experiences, but because of their group of veterans they now feel comfortable talking to each other and to groups.

The students heard about the Army and Navy, but probably were most excited about Harry Peterson who worked in the K-9 unit.  He talked about his German Shepherd, Brandy, and how they worked together as sentries walking a post.  He told a story of how the dog “alerted” and gave them a very early warning to incoming danger.  He also shared pictures and newspaper clippings which the students passed around.

One of the vets told of his experience on board ship when the food ran out and they had to eat very old rations that had been stored in the ship.

Another told of the challenges of procuring and getting food out to the various military groups in his area.

The Tet Offensive was the background for a story that Larry Fulton shared that reminded everyone of the tremendous loss of life in this military conflict.

The students asked a few questions and received great answers often by more than one of the veterans.

At the end of the assembly, the students showed their thanks and respect with a standing ovation.