2 lo­cal Viet­nam vet­er­ans fea­tured in MPT doc­u­men­tary

Record Observer - - Front Page - By JACK SHAUM jshaum@kibay­times.com

Two Viet­nam War vet­er­ans liv­ing in Queen Anne’s County will be among nearly 100 Mary­land vet­er­ans to be fea­tured in a Mary­land Pub­lic Tele­vi­sion doc­u­men­tary ob­serv­ing the 50th an­niver­sary of the war.

Jim Richard­son of Queen­stown and Walt Raul of Church Hill were in­ter­viewed and asked to re­count their war ser­vice and re­flect on their ex­pe­ri­ences. The doc­u­men­tary will air on MPT over three nights — May 24, 25, and 26 — at 8 p.m.

The doc­u­men­tary is part of a multi-year project by MPT called “MPT Salutes Viet­nam Vet­er­ans” to “thank the re­gion’s men and women who served dur­ing that con­flict and re­turned home to an of­ten un­grate­ful na­tion,” ac­cord­ing to an MPT state­ment. The broad­caster is an of­fi­cial part­ner with the Depart­ment of De­fense’s 50th an­niver­sary com­mem­o­ra­tion pro­gram.

The salute will cul­mi­nate with a two-day event called LZ Mary­land at the Mary­land State Fair­grounds on June 18 and 19. LZ is a mil­i­tary acro­nym for land­ing zone, an area where air­craft, es­pe­cially he­li­copters, could land.

It will fea­ture Huey and Chi­nook he­li­copter fly­overs; the dis­play of the Wall That Heals, a trav­el­ing half­size replica of the Viet­nam Vet­er­ans Memo­rial in Washington; dis­plays of mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles and air­craft of the pe­riod; Viet­nam-era mil­i­tary gear; and a cer­e­mony salut­ing Mary­lan­ders killed or miss­ing in the war.

“Their re­mem­brances re­flect courage, sad­ness, de­ter­mi­na­tion, and, at times, hu­mor. Their in­sights are com­pelling,” the MPT state­ment said of the in­ter­views.

“This is go­ing to be heal­ing for lots of folks,” for­mer Ma­rine Richard­son said of the trib­ute. “Many peo­ple have kept it bot­tled up.”

He re­calls that re­turn­ing Viet­nam vet­er­ans didn’t re­ceive the kind of re­cep­tion ac­corded vet­er­ans of other Amer­i­can wars. Richard­son, who is now a lawyer, called Viet­nam “Amer­ica’s for­got­ten war” and hopes peo­ple will watch the doc­u­men­tary be­cause it will show “a side of the war you didn’t know. Some of it will be dif­fi­cult to watch.”

He ar­rived in Viet­nam in Septem­ber 1967 and re­mained there through­out 1968, work­ing with field ar­tillery. He re­called work­ing in Viet­nam at times with Ma­rine Capt. Charles Robb, son-in-law of Pres­i­dent Lyndon John­son who later served as gover­nor and a U.S. se­na­tor from Vir­ginia. To­day, part of Richard­son’s le­gal work in­volves coun­sel­ing Viet­nam vet­er­ans.

“It’s over­due for a lot of peo­ple,” Richard­son said of the 50th an­niver­sary ob­ser­vances. “I think it’ll help a lot of guys and gals.”

A re­tired Mary­land Nat­u­ral Re­sources Po­lice Of­fi­cer, Raul joined the Navy in 1966 and was sent to Viet­nam in De­cem­ber 1967, where he served for a year as a corps­man — a mil­i­tary medic — with an in­fantry unit of the 1st Ma­rine Di­vi­sion. He was wounded twice. His com­mand­ing of­fi­cer in the Ari­zona Ter­ri­tory of Viet­nam was the same Capt. Charles Robb, he said.

“It’s long over­due,” he said of the recog­ni­tion of those who served in Viet­nam. “Of course, World War II (mon­u­ment) was also long over­due.”

Asked if the at­ti­tude to­ward Viet­nam vet­er­ans has changed with the pas­sage of time, he said “I think so.”

“I’m happy about it, no doubt,” he said of the com­mem­o­ra­tion. He said he has re­turned to Viet­nam many times since the war ended and feels there is a strong union between Marines and their Navy corps­man. More than 1,000 Mary­lan­ders died or are miss­ing in ac­tion from the Viet­nam War, ac­cord­ing to MPT.

The pub­lic is in­vited to LZ Mary­land. All vet­er­ans and ac­tive mil­i­tary per­son­nel will be ad­mit­ted free of charge, and a nom­i­nal fee of $5 is be­ing re­quested of all oth­ers over the age of 12, the MPT state­ment said. Tick­ets are avail­able at http://viet­nam.mpt.org/lz­mary­land

In­for­ma­tion on the MPT Viet­nam ini­tia­tive can be found at mpt.org/viet­nam and at MPT’s Face­book page called MPT Salutes Viet­nam Vet­er­ans.


Jim Richard­son was pho­tographed while serv­ing in the Ma­rine Corps in Viet­nam.


U.S. Navy Corps­man Walt Raul, pho­tographed while he was serv­ing in Viet­nam.

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