|E-5 Larry Edward Carter|
E-5 Larry Edward Carter of Green River, Utah served as a radio dispatch for heavy artillery and forward observer for the 7th 15th Infantry in 1969-1970 in the Vietnam War.
He recalls being stationed in three different locations during his duty Pleiku, Plucat, and LZ (landing zone) up lift at the DMZ. His comment about the war was "sad situation and very weird war." In recalling his return home he said that it took months before he even felt that he was home. Ten years later he said that he still expected to be called back at any time. He never felt like he was discharged from that terrible memory. When he was shipped out of the base in Seattle, Wash., he was told to keep his head down because he should never be sent due to his 0 negative blood type which was so rare that he wouldn't have a chance if he was injured. During this war the United States lost 58,226 soldiers with more than 153, 303 wounded. The other small factor that was over looked was that he would make the third son that was being sent to serve in Vietnam during the same time period. What really was the hardest part of being in Vietnam was that it felt like a waste of time, and no one that he served with had any idea what the reason was for them being there. When the United States pulled out and all those who had served realized that through all the sacrifice nothing had changed many became resentful and felt used and abused. "It is still hard to talk about Vietnam because there was such strange stuff that happened." He recalled the day he observed one of his fellow soldiers unloading a white phosphorus shell and saw him drop it, and when the dust settled it was like he never existed he just disappeared. Now that is tough to forget, and the truth be known you never do.
The other knowledge that comes to one some 37 years later is that Agent Orange is another silent weapon that is destroying lives even today. Some 250,000 soldiers were exposed to Agent Orange, and about 1,800 were actually compensated for the after affects of that chemical. Just lately facts about the degree of problems with those 250,000 are starting to surface. Some 18 years ago he was told that he had symptoms of Agent Orange, but was also told that in his lifetime nothing would be acknowledged or done to help those in need. Lucky for this soldier it has recently been discovered that spina bifida in children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange has been identified as side effect of the herbicide. It is good to report that none of this soldier's children had that illness. The one thing that he said with strong emotion is that he wouldn't want to go back and wouldn't let his kids go fight in a war like Nam. He wanted to share that the people in Vietnam for the most part were very nice and they treated the American soldiers better than those in his own country. The way they treated each other as a people made it even harder to understand the reason for being there. He did witness very small children being killed and that was the hardest thing to see and it is hard to get those memories to go away.
Now some 30 years later he is being told about post traumatic stress disorder which is now much more clearly understood as a complex psychiatric problem that almost all of the veterans from Vietnam are dealing with. He recalls a situation where being in a restaurant with a friend in Vegas and having a table of Vietnamese sitting next to them where they were all speaking Vietnamese and he became deathly sick and had to leave without finishing his meal.
All this time he didn't understand why he would experience these times of break down, and now through gaining better understanding he realizes that he had post traumatic stress which was triggered due to the language being spoken. E-5 Larry Edward Carter served his country well and was honorably discharged in October 1970. Thank you for your service we deeply appreciate your sacrifice and dedication.