More and more Vietnam Veterans are returning to Vietnam to revisit places where so many memories were seared into their psyche. Some go for curiosity and others go to confront the demons that have haunted them for decades. One Vietnam Veteran, Skip Nichols of Walla Walla, Washington recently traveled back to Vietnam and his trip was chronicled in a story in The East Oregonian titled: Return to Vietnam by Kathy Aney of the East Oregonian.
Aney describes how Nichols decided to join the US Marines after a recruiter visited his high school in Texas. After he completed radio and Vietnamese language school he found himself in Danang getting equipped for a trip to his home base at Camp Carroll and assignment to the 3rd Marine Regiment. His five month tour with the 3rd Marines was filled with constant patrolling with numerous encounters with the enemy. Once he was nearly killed during a rocket attack at Quang Tri while he was in the middle of taking a shower.
His tour was cut short when he went home on emergency leave due to his mother suffering a near fatal illness and then when he was about to return to Vietnam, his father experienced a stroke. That kept him from returning. While he was away many in his old unit were killed in action. He felt guilty for not being there with his buddies and thinking he might have been able to do something for them. That guilt has stayed with Nichols ever since.
After he left the Marines he got married and settled into a career in journalism. He retired as the editor of the East Oregonian in Pendleton, Oregon. Despite maintaining an easy going demeanor over the years he was still bothered by memories of combat in Vietnam. He decided to return and face his demons. He was accompanied by his wife of 46 years and a small group of fellow Vietnam Veterans. It turned out to be a wonderful experience for all.
If you would like to make a return trip to Vietnam here are a few agencies who can make that happen.