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June 22, 2017

In Country: 22 Candid Snapshots of Everyday Life of U.S Soldiers During the Vietnam War

During the Vietnam War, life for soldiers changed an extreme amount. Not only did their lives change, but they became a significant amount more difficult.

American soldiers were often young men who felt that they were serving their country and had never served in a war before. Because of this, they had no idea what they were fighting against. The Vietnam terrain was full of jungles, covered with booby traps and dense brush. There was constant heat, humidity, torrents of rain, and many different kinds of dangerous animals. The soldiers ended up becoming ill and injured due to the environment before the actual violence of the war even got to them.

In addition to this, soldiers had no idea what sort of enemy they were fighting, as the American Government had underestimated the Vietnamese. The Vietcong had a complex network of underground tunnels. The Vietnamese were very well supplied, and were extremely well prepared to the Americans. This caused even just finding the enemy to be difficult for U.S. forces. In villages, it was hard for American troops to determine who were the enemies, because even women and children could help build traps, or house and feed the Vietcong. Vietnamese mothers would often hand off their baby to an American soldier, or a little boy would walk up to a soldier, and a grenade would explode off the child. For reasons like this, Americans were forced to kill civilians even if they had no proof that they were for sure the enemies, because there was no definite way to tell. Because of this, U.S. soldiers were often yelled at as “baby killers”, causing frustrations with the fighting conditions of the war.

These issues in Vietnam caused soldier to suffer from low morale and become angry. Many fell into a fog of drugs. A majority began to smoke marijuana to try to ignore the horrors of the hell they were living in. The casualties of the men they had become close with hurt them more than they could handle. They fought for their country, yet their country did not support them. Their lives had turned into a nightmare, and the war in Vietnam could never be forgotten.



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