We were soldiers: Nobody likes mistakes. I talked with Alan Prendergast about an error in "Badge Happy," in the March 14 issue. I am not a Vietnam veteran; I am a Vietnam-era veteran.
The error is easily explained. Alan had previously interviewed me and local folk artist Bill Potts, who is a friend and occupies one of my rental houses. Prendergast thought Potts and I knew one another from a Vietnam connection. Although Potts is a Vietnam veteran, he and I met at a Denver flea market in 1987.
The distinction between "Vietnam veteran" and "Vietnam-era veteran" is important to me and to most veterans of that difficult time. My Air Force tour of duty included basic training in Texas and technical school in Mississippi. Previous "ground radio" airmen went to Vietnam, but my "flight" split, and half entered telecommunications. My assignment was to Strategic Air Command (SAC) HQ, near Omaha, Nebraska (1969-1973).
It is important for me to respect those who actually went to Vietnam. I believe in correcting mistakes swiftly to move forward.