40 years after the Vietnam war - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

40 years after the Vietnam war

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40 years ago, the last American troops left Vietnam to return home, bringing with them battle wounds, both physical and mental,  but also memories and experiences.

Like many Vietnam Veterans, Loren Salzman will never forget the events he witnessed, and the faces of the men who served along side him.  

Salzman was part of what was called the Mobile River Rain Force, a joint operation between the army and the navy.

"And the navy would take us out up and down the canals of south Vietnam in the delta area, and then we would conduct operations through the rice patties and jungles," says Salzman.  

He spent one year in Vietnam before coming home to the United States. Salzman took a job as a hotel controller at a resort in Colorado, and began a family. But not all his fellow veterans found adjusting to civilian life to be so easy.

"Now it's very common, the PTSD has become very common, people seem to understand that now," says Salzman. "But back when we came home nobody really understood that, the trauma we had been through and the effect that it had on us and a lot of us still struggle today, carry that trauma with us."

Many soldiers went their separate ways after coming home.

Salzman says joining the Vietnam veterans group VietNow was a great way for him to give and receive some personal closure to the war.

"And to be able to get back together and compare how our lives have turned out, and how we are all enjoying retirement now, it's very beneficial and it's very rewarding. Especially with other veterans, we have a bond that goes on and on. Once you've been in a foxhole with somebody you become brothers for life after that," says Salzman.  

Salzman was drafted into the war in May of 1967, he was only 19 year old. He left for Vietnam in December of that same year.

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