1015 – Vietnam Vet Tom Richards came home a better man

Tom Richards, vietnam veteran news, mack payne

Tom Richards holds a photograph of a swift boat; he served on one during the Vietnam War. Credit Emily Hunt/WXXI

Episode 1015 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature another tremendous representative of the great Vietnam Veteran Generation. This podcast and its producer is a strong backer of the proposition the Vietnam Veteran Generation is as great as any that ever heeded the call of duty from its country. The featured veteran in this episode is Tom Richards of Rochester, New York. Recently he was interviewed by Evan Bourtis and Denise Young of WXXI News. The story about the interview was titled: Tom Richards: ‘When I finished … I was better for it.’

Many times the writer of this piece has stated that when Vietnam Veterans came home they were older, wiser, stronger and better able to deal with adversity. Richards echoed that sentiment when he said “They say the military makes men, and it does. When I finished, I was better for it.” His father had served in the Army Air Forces during World War II. That apparently instilled in him a strong spirit of duty and service to his country.

When he finished college in 1965, the Vietnam War was just beginning to heat up and he could have easily opted to attend graduate school and avoid service in the military. The patriotic spirit his father’s service had given to him would not allow him to sidestep duty to his country.  He chose to serve in the US Navy.

After going through training, Richards was assigned to a ship, the USS Eldorado, working out of Subic Bay in the Philippines. Duty on that ship soon became boring and he wanted to do something more adventurous. He violated the most basic of all tenets of military service and volunteered for the swift boat program. There he joined other notable alumni of swift boat service like Dave Roever and John Kerry.

Listen to the entire episode 1015 and get the full story about Tom Richards and how he served his country both in Vietnam and Rochester, NY.

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