KLRU presents a special screening of the documentary On Two Fronts: Latinos & Vietnam on Nov. 10th at the The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (RSVP now to attend).
Prepare for the screening with personal stories from the Vietnam War from the VOCES Oral History Project.
In Fred Castañeda’s Vietnam War photo album, there exists a striking juxtaposition of photographs. In one, Castañeda wears a suit and tie, looking into the distance at a hopeful future. In another, taken after his second mission in Vietnam, he wears his military uniform and looks almost directly at the camera with a blank gaze – what’s called the “thousand-yard stare.” Despite suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and exposure to Agent Orange, Castañeda returned and worked as an army recruiter as the war was dying down. Read his story here.
Richard Brito saw the Vietnam War as a call for him to protect the nation in a time of immense turmoil. Among other sacrifices, Brito missed the birth of his two daughters to fight in the war. Brito eventually made it to the rank of colonel in the Texas Army National Guard. Read his story here.
Juan Carlos Gonzales described himself as a soldier from the start. He and his friends would patrol a local rancher’s fence dressed in camo and armed with BB guns, and try to avoid the rancher’s warning shots fired above their head. A paratrooper to start, Gonzales tricked his way into the Pathfinder unit. He was discharged in 1968 with decorations including the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation, the Vietnam Service Medal with four bronze service stars, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Unit Citation Badge, Master Parachutist wings, the Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachute Rigger Badge and the Pathfinder Badge. Read his story here.