Master of Arts in History & Political Thought, History Concentration (MA)
Olivas, Aaron A.
The Vietnam War remains one of the most unpopular wars in United States History. Unfortunately, veterans from this time period are beginning to fade into history without telling their stories. Although abundant stories are available on the experiences of Vietnam veterans, there are few works on Hispanic veterans from the Vietnam War Era. Why is that? The contributions made by the Hispanic community in the armed services continue to strengthen our military. This research focuses on the stories of four Laredo veterans who served during the Vietnam War Era. Three men served overseas in the Vietnam conflict prior to 1965 while one veteran remained in the continental United States. The stories of these four men, representing the Army, Marines, and Air Force, will help to fill the gap of missing recollections of Hispanic veterans from Laredo, Texas. Little is known as to the role and duties of Hispanics in the armed forces during Vietnam. One might speculate that Hispanics served low-level entry positions such as cooks or cleaners and never aspired to officers. That is simply not true. A member of the Army handled classified documents, earned the title of Master Jumper and earned the rank of Chief Warrant Officer in his career. One of the Marines in this study was a combat engineer who advances to first lieutenant while serving in Vietnam in 1965. Another Marine served a tour in Vietnam and then became a drill instructor. Although not at the same rank as an officer, drill instructors serve a vital role in the armed forces. As for the Air Force veteran, he became a jet engine mechanic. All of the men featured in this study did a lot more than cook and clean. Their stories will open a door to future studies on the Laredo veterans and their recollection of the Vietnam War.
Sauceda, Enrique Javier, "Laredo Veterans And Their Recollections of the Early Years of the War in Vietnam, 1960-1965" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 135.