Vietnam veterans welcome home commemoration

| April 26, 2023

U.S. Vietnam War Commemoration calls on Vietnam War veterans, and their families, to a welcome home event. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The United States Vietnam War Commemoration is hosting a “welcome home” event in Washington DC. Vietnam War veterans, and their families, are being invited to this event to be held at the National Mall on May 11, 12, and 13. The event will include displays related to the Vietnam War, a jump by the Golden Knights (Army parachuting team), JROTC drill teams, and high school bands. Stations will also be set up to connect veterans to services they may interested in.

From the military Times:

In this year’s event, starting May 11, the organization will set up “Camp Legacy” along West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., with static helicopter displays and more than 40 exhibit tents featuring museum displays, veterans advocates and allied country participants like South Korea and Australia.

Daily events will include a jump by the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights, speakers, panel discussions, concerts, high school bands and local junior ROTC drill teams.

The VA will also have their mobile veterans assistance unit on site to help connect any participants to services, Chrystal said.

Chrystal, a career National Guardsman and Iraq War veteran, said he hopes the event helps continue to change the culture around how Americans treat veterans.

“Now, we treat our veterans very well. But 50 years ago, we weren’t so good at that,” he said. “And we definitely owe it to our Vietnam veterans and their families, who were he even looked down upon at the time.”

He believes Vietnam veterans themselves started that change.

The military Times has additional information.

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“Now, we treat our veterans very well. But 50 years ago, we weren’t so good at that,” he said. “And we definitely owe it to our Vietnam veterans and their families, who were he even looked down upon at the time.”

We still believe that Vietnam Vets were spit on and called Baby Killers as well as not being treated well is a myth.

The ninja family must have come from a different planet. Both of our Dads served in Vietnam. We have Uncles/Cousins/In Laws/Friends/High School Buddies/Co Workers who also were Boots On The Ground in that AOR.

NONE of them went thru “that experience”. NONE.

We both had SUPER Drill SGTs who were Vietnam Veterans. We both had Bosses in the Army that were Vietnam Veterans. We both had Classmates at West Point and OCS who were Vietnam Veterans.

NONE of them went “that experience”.

We personally feel Hollywood painted a picture of stereotyping Vietnam Veterans depicting them as outcasts in society with mental issues such as addiction, sucidal/murder tendacies/homeless/etc etc.

There is also a trend we discovered when researching news story about Vietnam Vets. Some of the media try to tug at the heartstrings of the public when they write about a “homeless Vietnam Vet” or a “troubled” Vietnam Vet.

Turns out the majority of those “Troubled Vietnam Vets were either kicked out/chaptered of the Army due to addictions, mental issues/ insubordination…some of them WHEN THEY WERE ATTENDING BASIC TRAINING.

We have had the pleasure of meeting and developing a relationship with Vietnam POWs. NONE of them stated they felt unwelcomed or unwanted or spit on because they were Vietnam Vets. We remembered in 1973 when those surviving POWs came home. Our Country was rejoicing. Heck, alot of us wore POW Bracelets before they returned.

Every War/Conflict/Military Component has its share of deadbeats. Beaudry Robert “Bowe” Bergdahl. Timothy McVay. Hasan K. Akbar. Nidal Hasan.

What Are We Missing?



Clarification on this sentence

“We still believe that Vietnam Vets were spit on and called Baby Killers as well as not being treated well is a myth.”

What we are saying and have been saying for years in that we believe there are myths about the way Vietnam Veterans were treated, i.e. “spit on”. Called “Baby Killers”. Not Being Treated Well after they returned to the US.

We believe it is BS. We have Boots On The Ground Vietnam Vets on TAH. We are curious about their own personal experiences when they returned to the US.

USMC Steve

You must not have run up on many hippies or California clowns then. I have talked to a lot of Marines, some of whom I served with, who had idiots get up in their faces on their returns or when wearing their uniforms off base.


We both were Army Brats…and were living at Army Installations.

Saw our share of “hippies”…never was in California.

Must be a Marine Corps thing or California thing because EVERYONE we know who are Vietnam Vets DID NOT EXPERIENCE THAT.



I beg to differ with you about the “baby killers” accusation. In 1973 when I was in the 10th Group, I returned from Germany in Class A’s . My wife and I were walking up the street in Cambridge, MA after a meal at pub there, when some long-haired Harvard loser walked toward us. Once past us and out of reach, he yelled “Vietnam baby killer!” I chose to ignore him, as I didn’t want to have a discussion with my group or battalion commander over some incident with a lefty douchebag.


Thank You for sharing, rgr769!

That is why we asked.

Majority of the items we posted reference Vietnam Vets “being spit on.”

We believe Hollywood created a myth and painted a picture that Vietnam Vets were despised, when in reality, majority of Americans supported the Vets. We feel some folks use the spitting story to hide behind something.

Some did not support the War. Kinda similiar to some of us who do not support US getting involved in Ukraine. We may not support that initiative, but will always support the Serviceman/Veteran.


“We may not support that initiative, but will always support the Serviceman/Veteran.”

Hmmmmm. Sounds familiar. I seem to recall something about “supporting the soldiers, but opposing the war” not too long ago, and a lot of folks saying if you did not support the war you were disrespecting the soldiers; that you could not support one without supporting the other. Some got pretty nasty about such treasonous ideas.


As we all know, Cambridge, MA is to this day only technically in the US due to an accident of geography.


My brother was on the receiving end when he came back from Vietnam in 1970. Got the whole nine yards. Baby killer. Spit on.


What Branch of the Service was your Brother, MustangCryppie?

What is interesting is that some Vietnam Vets who told that story to others about folks spitting on them and calling them “baby killers” confessed later to friends and families that they made up the story/embellished to get symphathy and attention.

Thank You for sharing!


There are those who steal valor, and there are those who only embellish valor. A matter of degree, not intent.


The “homeless vet” is largely a scam. When I worked for state agency that conducted “standowns” for the supposedly homeless veterans, we would see the same bums at multiple locations around the state. For the most part, they didn’t have DD214’s or other proof of service. Men who can’t successfully complete an enlistment usually have unsuccessful civilian lives. The homeless vet stuff was debunked over 20 years ago in B.G. Burkett’s book, “Stolen Valor.


Agree 100% about the Vet Homeless scam. Majority of those we have ran into were kicked out of the Service, had addiction/mental issues and just plain lazy.

Yep. Jug’s book “Stolen Valor”. We have 2 copies of it that are dog-earred…and have shared/encouraged others to read it.


So what you’re saying is that this fine fellow isn’t a homeless veteran?


His codename was Agent Orange, by golly!


There are “Stolen Valor” veterans and there are “Exaggerated
Valor” veterans.

I was never spit on or otherwise bothered either. I did, however, once see a well-dressed woman in a fur coat berating a long-haired “hippy” at an airport once. Some brand new 2nd Lt. defended him and chewed her out. She was a little shocked. I thought that was quite funny. The poor “hippy” looked thoroughly confused.
I was once completely ignored at a cocktail party in DC, however. There I was in my Class A uniform scarfing up free hors doovers and free likker among a buch of DC political hacks. Eventually, one guy came up to me, shook my hand, and wanted to know what brigade (of the 1st Cav. Div.(airmobile) ) I served in. Turns out it was Congressman Dan Flood (D., PA). Turns out he was a bit shady, but he had a great mustache. These days all those hacks, some of whom voted to send me overseas, would probably be falling all over each other trying to “thank you for your service” .


Got stuff thrown at me and called a baby killer at Kent State because the nasty ‘Nam mood there didn’t stop until 9/11.


This event oughta have an
interesting looking bunch show up.



Unfortunately, there will probably be motorcycles and leather vests covered in POSer bling for as far as the eye can see.

And they’ll all be former SEALs, SF, POWs (in a bamboo Tiger Cage and forced to play Russian Roulette), “Airborne Rangers”, Force Recon, or snipers, and many of them will be the “sole survivors” of highly classified “secret missions” during which their “best friends died in their arms”. Of course they’ll all also be tragically afflicted with the debilitating ravages of the dreaded PTS of the D.

And it goes without saying that none of them will have been a C-130 Avionicsman at Da Nang Air Base or a Boatswain’s Mate aboard a fleet oiler underway out in the Gulf of Tonkin. Not a chance. Every one of them will be a high-speed, low-drag, bonafide “War Hero” in the best Rambo tradition.

This event has the potential to be a spectacular POSer Parade, and it will be very sad and disgusting if it turns out that way.


You wanna have a good turnout of Vets for the party? Set up a three (3) seat dunking booth, occupied by Hanoi Jane, DaNang Dick, and John Skeery. They were in Viet of The Nam, right? Oh…wait…well 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

Set up 3 orderly lines…1 to buy tickets for the booth balls, 1 to buy beer, and 1 to fill up the dunking booth with the kidney processed beers. Use the monies raised to provide housing and rehab for all the homeless drug crazed Vets. Win Win!

Too little, too late. Phuque it, don’t mean nothing…Drive on!


I DEROSED throgh Seattle and did not encounter any grief.
Same for my destination, Logan.
Boston area welcomed returning vets for the most part.


Thank You, 26Limabeans.

Again, the ninja family must have lived on another Planet during the Vietnam Era, because EVERYONE we have talked to said they NEVER encountered being spit on or called “Baby Killer”. We attended parades welcoming home units from Vietnam…and even local newspapers wrote articles PRAISING those who came home.

Some of those newspaper articles are from California.

Urban Legend. Most likely started with The Rambo movies or other Vietnam movies Hollywood created.

Have yet to see any new reels or news stories or news pictures from the 60s and 70s showing Anti-War Protestors or “Hippies” spiiting on return Vietnam Vets or calling them “Baby Killers”.

We have caught a few of them telling those stories. After researching and talking to them more, turrns out they made up the story. When asked why on making up the story, most could not give an answer.


BTW…The picture was taken in Seattle, Washington. Folks were WELCOMING The Troops home from Vietnam. Same scene we saw during the Vietnam Era in the USA.

“The Myth of the Spitting Antiwar Protester”

“So where do these stories come from?”

“The reporter was asking about accounts that soldiers returning from Vietnam had been spat on by antiwar activists. I had told her the stories were not true. I told her that, on the contrary, opponents of the war had actually tried to recruit returning veterans. I told her about a 1971 Harris Poll survey that found that 99 percent of veterans said their reception from friends and family had been friendly, and 94 percent said their reception from age-group peers, the population most likely to have included the spitters, was friendly.”

“A follow-up poll, conducted in 1979 for the Veterans Administration (now the Department of Veterans Affairs), reported that former antiwar activists had warmer feelings toward Vietnam veterans than toward congressional leaders or even their erstwhile fellow travelers in the movement.”

“I was glad the reporter was interested in the origin of these stories, because beginning even before the war ended, news organizations had too often simply repeated them — even though some stories had the hallmarks of tall tales all over them. Even The Times once quoted, matter-of-factly, a veteran telling of how he arrived stateside from Vietnam on a stretcher with a bullet in his leg, only to be splattered with rotten vegetables and spat on by antiwar college kids.”

“Whoppers like these go unchallenged by reporters and scholars perhaps because of their memoirist first-person quality, stories told by the men who say it happened to them. I collect the stories, I told the reporter, and have a spreadsheet with about 220 first-person “I was spat on” accounts.”


“But you don’t believe the stories, right? she asked. Acknowledging that I could not prove the negative — that they were not true — I went on to say there is no corroboration or documentary evidence, such as newspaper reports from the time, that they are true. Many of the stories have implausible details, like returning soldiers deplaning at San Francisco Airport, where they were met by groups of spitting hippies. In fact, return flights landed at military air bases like Travis, from which protesters would have been barred.”

“In fact, return flights landed at military air bases like Travis, from which protesters would have been barred. Others include claims that military authorities told them on returning flights to change into civilian clothes upon arrival lest they be attacked by protesters. Trash cans at the Los Angeles airport were piled high with abandoned uniforms, according to one eyewitness, a sight that would surely have been documented by news photographers — if it had existed.”

“And some of the stories have more than a little of a fantasy element: Some claim the spitters were young girls, an image perhaps conjured in the imaginations of veterans suffering the indignities of a lost war.”

“The ‘war at home’ phrase captured the idea that the war had been lost on the home front. It was a story line promulgated by Hollywood within which veteran disparagement became a kind of “war story,” a way of credentialing the warrior bona fides of veterans who may have felt insecure about their service in Vietnam. In “First Blood,” the inaugural Rambo film, the protagonist, John Rambo, flashes back to “those maggots at the airport, spittin’, callin’ us baby killers and all kinds of vile crap.”


Upon return from the RVN in 1971, I did not encounter any derision or harassment at the three air terminals I passed through, McCord AFB, SEATAC, and the Phoenix terminal. The only sign of welcoming I saw was at McCord; it consisted of a two by six foot paper banner with “Welcome Home” on it, posted on a wall next to the terminal entrance from the flight line. That was it. Most of the civilians I encountered on leave did not want to talk about the war.


I returned through Ft. Lewis(?), I think. We had been told we would get a big steak dinner as a part of our “welcome home” thing. Well, after processing I headed over to the food place and actually did get a steak dinner. Quite disappointing, actually. Got bigger and better steaks, better cooked, at Camp Radcliff, An Khe while passing through. Got to drink beer along with it, too. Lobster tails were also available. No tablecloths, but who cares?


Your return flight must have landed at McCord AFB; it is right next to Ft. Lewis. I went to ROTC summer camp there. When I was first in Da Nang, Camp Reasoner was still occupied by the 1st MARDIV. I couldn’t believe the quality of their food. There was steak and lobster tails on the menu every Sunday. Army mess hall steaks were about as tender as a boot sole.


“Spitting on the Troops: Old Myth, New Rumors”

“There is still another layer to the pro-troop rhetoric that has escaped commentary, however. Implicit in it is the assumption that someone doesn’t support the men and women in uniform. Behind that supposition lurk the myths and legends of homefront betrayal that have bedeviled American political culture since the Vietnam War, and which have been resuscitated recently by rumors of hostility toward military personnel.”

“By early April, stories were circulating in several US cities about uniformed military personnel being spat on or otherwise mistreated. In Asheville, North Carolina, two Marines were rumored to have been spat upon, while in Spokane, Washington, a threat to “spit on the troops when they return from Iraq” was reportedly issued. In Burlington, Vermont, a leader of the state National Guard told local television, “We’ve had some spitting incidents,” and then claimed one of his Guardswomen had been stoned by anti-war teenagers.”

“Upon further investigation, none of the stories panned out — the Spokane “threat” stemmed from the misreading of a letter in the local paper promising that opponents of the war would not spit on returning soldiers — and yet, in each case the rumors were used to stoke pro-war rallies.”

“Many of the current stories are accompanied by stories of spat-upon Vietnam veterans. The recent story of spitting in Asheville, for example, was traced to a local businessman who says he is a veteran who was also spat upon and called a “baby killer” when he returned from Vietnam. An Associated Press story of April 9 reported stories of spat-upon Vietnam veterans surfacing in several cities including Spicer, Minnesota whose mayor said he was spat upon in the San Francisco airport while coming home from Vietnam in 1971.”


“Similar stories became quite popular during the Gulf War of 1991 which raised my curiosity about where they came from and why they were believed. There is nothing in the historical record — news or police reports, for example — suggesting they really happened. In fact, the Veterans Administration commissioned a Harris Poll in 1971 that found 94% of Vietnam veterans reporting friendly homecomings from their age-group peers who had not served in the military. Moreover, the historical record is rich with the details of solidarity and mutuality between the anti-war movement and Vietnam veterans. The real truth, in other words, is that anti-war activists reached out to Vietnam veterans and veterans joined the movement in large numbers.”

“Stories of spat-upon Vietnam veterans are bogus. Born out of accusations made by the Nixon administration, they were enlivened in popular culture (recall Rambo saying he was spat on by those maggots at the airport) and enhanced in the imaginations of Vietnam-generation men — some veterans, some not. The stories besmirch the reputation of the anti-war movement and help construct an alibi for why we lost the war: had it not been for the betrayal by liberals in Washington and radicals in the street, we could have defeated the Vietnamese. The stories also erase from public memory the image, discomforting to some Americans, of Vietnam veterans who helped end the carnage they had been part of.”

“The truth is that nobody spat on Vietnam veterans and nobody is spitting on the soldiers today. Attempts to silence opponents of the war with those figments of hostility are dishonest and should, themselves, be banished from our discourse.”


“Obama Takes Sides In The ‘Spitting On Vets’ Debate”

“President Obama has sided with those who argue that returning Vietnam veterans were spat on by ungrateful opponents of that long-ago war. In a Memorial Day address at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the president didn’t literally endorse the spitting scenario, but he gave it figurative support.”

“Even with the qualifiers “often” and “sometimes,” Obama’s comments ratified a meme that entered the popular consciousness decades ago.”

“As Jack Shafer described it in an article in Slate in 2007:

“As with most urban myths, the details of the spat-upon vets vary slightly from telling to telling, while the basic story remains the same. The protester almost always ambushes the soldier in an airport (not uncommonly the San Francisco airport), after he’s just flown back to the states from Asia. The soiled soldier either slinks away or does nothing.”

“The problem, Shafer said, was that there was no evidence that the iconic humiliation ever occurred. Shafer cited a 1998 book by Jerry Lembcke, himself a Vietnam veteran, in which Lembcke was unable to document reports of spat-upon vets. Lembcke did, however, “uncover ample news stories about antiwar protesters receiving the saliva shower from anti-anti-war types.”

“I remember being suspicious of the spitting accounts long before reading about Lembcke’s book. Like the notion that returning veterans were denounced as “baby killers,” the spitting story fitted too neatly into conservative denunciations of the antiwar movement.”


“Spitting in the Face of U.S. Troops
The myth that anti-Vietnam protesters spit on returning veterans lives on.”

“A persistent narrative about the Vietnam War is that anti-war protesters of the 1960s and 70s vilified the troops, spitting in their faces upon their return to the United States. This storyline was perhaps most memorably presented by veteran John Rambo in the now-classic film First Blood. When he breaks down at the end of the movie, Rambo explains resentfully:

“I come back to the world, and I see all those maggots at the airport, protesting me, spitting. Calling me baby killer and all kinds of crap! Who are they to protest me?! Who are they?! Unless they’ve been me and been there and know what the hell they’re yelling about!”

Historian Jerry Lembcke, author of The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam, has done a very convincing job of debunking the story of spat-upon soldiers. As Jack Shafer summarized:

“…investigated hundreds of news accounts of antiwar activists spitting on vets. But every time he pushed for more evidence or corroboration from a witness, the story collapsed—the actual person who was spat on turned out to be a friend of a friend. Or somebody’s uncle. He writes that he never met anybody who convinced him that any such clash took place.”

“While Lembcke doesn’t prove that nobody ever expectorated on a serviceman—you can’t prove a negative, after all—he reduces the claim to an urban myth. In most urban myths, the details morph slightly from telling to telling….”

“Lembcke uncovered a whole lot of spitting from the war years, but the published accounts always put the antiwar protester on the receiving side of a blast from a pro-Vietnam counterprotester. Surely, he contends, the news pages would have given equal treatment to a story about serviceman getting the treatment. Then why no stories in the newspaper morgues, he asks?”


“Lastly, there are the parts of the spitting story up that don’t add up. Why does it always end with the protester spitting and the serviceman walking off in shame? Most servicemen would have given the spitters a mouthful of bloody Chiclets instead of turning the other cheek like Christ. At the very least, wouldn’t the altercations have resulted in assault and battery charges and produced a paper trail retrievable across the decades?”


“Dispelling folkloric stories of “spitting” soldiers (from the co-author of Dissenting POWs)”

“News pundits were quick to associate the President’s remarks with the most enduring image of veteran mistreatment: that of the spat-upon veteran. The Los Angeles Times editorialized that it was a mythical image—an edifying myth, said editor Michael McGough, but still a myth.”

“Apparently, Wall Street Journal editors did not get the memo. Its January 30, 2023, pages carried Jerry Davis’s “Vietnam War Veterans Deserve an Apology.” In the article, Davis claims that “veterans were often advised not to wear their uniforms lest they become targets for mistreatment. Some were cursed, spat on, and worse.” He goes on to say that “Vietnam veterans often had trouble getting jobs.”

“Little in what Davis says is true. To fly home free on a commercial airline, returnees from Vietnam had to be in uniform. Employers were required to hire-back men drafted for Vietnam upon their return. It is true that plant closings in the auto and steel industries in the late 1970s hit Vietnam veterans hard—but that is not what Davis is writing about.”

“There is no evidence that Vietnam veterans were spat on. Nor could they have been, at least not in the manner described in the most often told stories. Those stories tell of landing at San Francisco Airport and being met by groups of spitters, often hippies. But flights from Vietnam landed at military airbases like Travis outside San Francisco; protesters could not have gotten on the airbase, much less near deplaning troops.”

“The spitting stories are folklore. They didn’t emerge until 1990, when supporters of US efforts in the Persian Gulf wanted to discredit antiwar activists.”


“In his Wall Street Journal piece, Jerry Davis turns Vietnam veterans into victims of the war. Of course, some men returned with terrible life changing wounds, but Davis turns a whole generation of American veterans into victims. That is mythmaking. Let’s not forget that most victims of the war were Vietnamese, including hundreds of thousands of military personnel and civilians. Most American veterans went back to work or to school. Politicized and empowered by their experience in Vietnam, thousands of others joined the antiwar movement and helped end the war. It might be coincidence that the Wall Street Journal ran Davis’s piece just a day after the antiwar group Code Pink and the Massachusetts Peace Action network rallied in support of a negotiated settlement of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and against against more arms for Ukraine. Coincidence or not, it would behoove Americans to bone up on the history of victim-veteran imagery being used to arouse the passions for war.”


Your link is to an “independent socialist” magazine. I wouldn’t put much faith in anything it’s editors would publish.


“Myth Of The Spat-umUpon Vietnam Vet”

“A few days ago I was speaking on the phone with a friend and the subject of the war in Vietnam came up. He asked if anybody ever spit on me and I replied that number one, I never wore the uniform, and number two — that never happened. You would have thought I had punched him in the face. He went from a level two to a level eight and I could tell by the anxiety in his voice that he might break the 10 level.”

“Whoa, man!” I said, “Bring it down. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Don’t tell me that! I saw it on the news. Everybody knows what happened,” he said.”

“He’s seven years younger so I used that and said, “You were just a kid, bud. I was there. I was right in the middle of it.” This brought him down a bit, because it was true and he began to regain his composure, so as he sputtered a bit I continued, “I’m not saying this never happened somewhere, but I can guarantee you there is no documentary evidence. It was never on TV.”

“He calmed down, but I don’t think I convinced him. So after our conversation I did a little research. Guess what? Nada. Bupkis. Did it happen? Did it happen one time? Maybe. But it was never documented. What did happen is “Uncle Bill” told us about a close friend of his named “Marty” — and it happened to “Marty” — according to Uncle Bill. And then the clincher to the myth came in 1982 when “Rambo First Blood” came out. John Rambo became the poster boy for the forgotten soldier. It became part of the American ethos.”


From Australia:

“The Myth Of The Abusive Protesters”


“Vietnam War Protesters have NOTHING to Apologize For”

“To begin with, over the entire course of the war there is not a shred of documentary evidence that any spitting incidents occurred. No articles in newspapers or magazines, no letters to the editor, no television news stories, no FBI reports, no arrests or complaints filed with police. Nothing. Not even Stars and Stripes, voice of the military, reported on any spitting incidents. And in an era that was heavily documented with photographs, including by the GIs themselves (Lembcke points out that Pentax cameras were sold at PXs and were the camera of choice among the troops, not unlike cell phones today), not one photo of a veteran bing spat on exists.”

“The stories that are told almost always happen in public, usually at airports and coming from crowds of demonstrators whose goal is to humiliate the returning troops. We are told that commanding officers warned GIs they’d be spat on when they returned home, that they should throw away their uniform to protect themselves. Yet no one alerted the cops, or military authorities, or the press? We’re talking about assault here. Wouldn’t the FBI, whose goal throughout the nineteen sixties was to thwart and undermine the antiwar movement, have arrested at least one spitter? There were, if the stories are to be believed, hundreds–even thousands of them. And what about the press? Soldiers at airports being routinely abused and spat on would certainly have gotten to the media, who would, as Lembcke points out, “been camping in the lobby of the San Francisco airport, cameras in hand, just waiting for a chance to record the real thing-if, that is, they had any reason to believe that such incidents might occur.”


“The simple fact is that between 1965 and 1975 no one was claiming to have been spat on. Okay, so maybe they were spat on metaphorically, as the increasingly popular expression goes. I have seen several people who initially claim they were spat on, when challenged, change the story to a version of “Well, I wasn’t literally spat on, but I may as well have been.” When the gentleman who claimed on my Facebook post to have been urinated on was challenged by several people, his story became “I ducked into a bar to get away from the jerks.” Who the “jerks” were was never explained.”

“But again, that’s not what vets were saying back in the day. As Lembcke writes, “A U.S. Senate study, based on data collected in August 1971 by Harris Associates, found that 75 percent of Vietnam era veterans polled disagreed with the statement, ‘Those people at home who opposed the Vietnam war often blame veterans for our involvement there.’ Ninety-nine percent of the veterans polled described their reception by close friends and family as friendly, while 94 percent said their reception by people their own age who had not served in the armed forces was friendly. Only 3 percent of returning veterans described their reception as ‘not at all friendly.'” (Emphasis added)”

“And just like the spitting stories, there is no documentary evidence of antiwar activists screaming “baby killer!” at soldiers and veterans. In fact, as every activist who looks honestly at their history can attest, it was the government and military machine that was consistently targeted, not the soldiers. “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?!” was one of the most popular chants, until it was Richard Nixon doing the killing.”


“Hollywood did their part as well, producing a wave of fantasy revenge films starting in the late seventies. Top of the heap was Sylvester Stallone’s wildly popular First Blood (1982) and Rambo: First Blood II (1985), in which a bulked-up, testosterone-filled caricature of a Vietnam vet single-handedly takes out his revenge first on an uncaring America, then on the bloodthirsty Vietnamese. First Blood featured the absurd scenario of Rambo, a former Green Beret and highly trained killer, whining that “hippies” spat on him at an airport. Those hippies sure were a powerful bunch!”


Never cared much for those “Rambo” movies. I can engage in that “suspension of disbelief” as much as anyone, and I like Sylvester Stallone, but that Rambo crap just went too far. I didn’t even like the Richard Crenna character. I was actually rooting for Brian Dennehy. If he had won we would have been spared the sequels.


Unfortunately, Brian Dennehy took a ride on the phony pony by stating he served in Vietnam and was wounded in combat.
To his credit, he set the record straight and apologised.


Ninja, young SSGT Poe returned from his Vietnam tour in December 1966 just when all the fury of the antiwar movement was ramping up. Were there angry demonstrations? Yep, lots of ’em, but never to the point of violence against the troops.

When Poe returned to college six months later, there were occasional sharp disagreements with mostly younger, more outspoken students, but again, nothing that led to any overt displays of disrespect by the peaceniks.

However, to declare arbitrarily that the spitting episodes never took place may be a bridge too far. In the year before Poe PCS’d to Vietnam, he served six months TDY to the US Army Exhibit Unit out of Cameron Station in Alexandria, VA. With a handful of other command-selected junior Airborne NCO’s, he traveled coast to coast with a truck containing a display commemorating the Civil War.

Some of our display sites were on or near university campuses, and there we did encounter some very angry and adamant antiwar demonstrators who had to be warned that we were not an ideal group to engage in physical violence. In those situations, there were instances of contemptuous spitting, but it was directed away from the uniforms after some very sincere warnings of what that behavior would most assuredly earn them.

So, did it happen? Probably, but certainly not to the extent it was portrayed by the sensationalist media.

Last edited 5 months ago by Poetrooper


Thank You!

Appreciate you sharing your personal experience on the “spitting”situation.

Cameron Station. Brings back memories of shopping at the Commissary there.



I spent 1970-74 attending colleges in Florida. Had some interesting class discussions about My Lai and such, but I never saw or heard any abuse of servicemen. Oddly enough, in the class discussions of My Lai I was the one who wanted to hang Calley et al. (literally) while most of the rest of the students were making excuses for him or were just uninterested.


In Vietnam, every infantry officer I discussed My Lai thought Calley deserved the rope


What really depressed me was, morality aside, even the practical argument of denying the enemy excellent recruiting propaganda which probably caused unnecessary US casualties got no traction.


Will Maggie DeSanti show up?
Probably NOT..
IF she has to pay for the flight.

UPDATE: Maggie DeSanti – Media Darling or Stolen Valor Con Artist?
Steve Balm | October 28, 2019

Last edited 5 months ago by MarineDad61

Another little anecdote from my memory book.
Part deux of my DC “welcome home”.
While on leave en route to Ft. Benning after returning from RVN I happened to be in Washington, DC. I had just purchased a spiffy new sport coat, tie, etc. and was doing a bit of a pub crawl. I stumbled into the “lounge” of the Congressional Hotel after politely being denied entrance to another establishment (members only) and got into a conversation with two nicely dressed gentlemen. I suspect they, too, had had a few drinks. The subject of Vietnam came up and I gave them my opinion of the situation and my experiences there. They were not favorably impressed with my negative opinion of the SE Asian clusterfumble (I predicted it would fall in 5 years). They claimed they worked for HUAC (House Unamerican Activities Committee), and after expressing doubt about my bona fides, asked for my name, rank, etc. so they could investigate me. Being a humble and obedient type I gave them my details, showed them my ID card, and even told them my next duty station–What were they going to do, send me to Vietnam (a popular phrase of the time)?

Never heard anything further about it, they may have been bullshitting me, but then again…..I may still have a file of my own in some archive in DC. That’s what I get for hanging around disreputable establishments frequented by disreputable people.


Generals and politicians (I redundanted there) will always have a perverse incentive to believe their own brands of BS.

Listen to someone on the ground that’s gotten dirty?

I can hear the nervous pearl clutching from hundreds of miles and decades away.

Thank you for truly ‘speaking truth to power’ and a heartfelt Welcome Home.