“No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. It was misreported then, and it is misremembered now.”President Richard Nixon
The Vietnam War was the longest and most unpopular war in which Americans ever fought. The first combat troops arrived in 1965 and fought the war until the cease-fire of January 1973, America’s involvement in Vietnam actually lasted from 1957 until 1975. For many of the American Veterans of the war, the wounds of Vietnam will never heal.
Approximately 2,700,000 American men and women served in Vietnam and it was the first war in which the US failed to meet its objectives. It was also the first time America failed to welcome its Veterans back as heroes. Many Veterans were attacked personally by their fellow countrymen, who opposed the war. This situation magnified the stress associated with their combat experiences.
Also contributing to the stress many Veterans experienced was the lack of unit cohesiveness as many soldiers were sent to Vietnam as individuals and left when their year’s tour was completed. They often traveled to and from Vietnam by air, being an active combatant one day and a Veteran returning to a hostile civilian environment the next. They reported being spat upon as they disembarked at the airport and being uncomfortable wearing their uniform in public. Following the war, Veterans experienced many readjustment problems and adverse health effects, many of the latter attributed to Agent Orange.