Instead of dealing only with war’s geopolitics and the great men who conducted campaigns, the center relates the stories of the men and women on the ground. One such story is that of Donald Hahn, who answered his country’s call in 1966. In Vietnam, Hahn would distinguish himself and join the Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrol teams. On these missions, Hahn and his team members frequently engaged vastly superior numbers of enemy and this necessitated them being roped out via helicopter. Upon his return to the United States in 1968, Sgt. Hahn did not talk about his experience in Vietnam until his twilight years because of the public’s aversion to the Vietnam War and the trauma he suffered while in country.
It is stories like Sgt. Hahn’s that the center endeavors to record and make available to Americans. The center has allowed me to contribute to a field that I am extremely passionate about as well as enrich my own experience. Though much of history is lost to us, my experience at the center is one I will not soon forget.
-By Zachary Brooks
Read more about his account of the entire experience.