by: CPT Matt Visser, Commander of 40th Public Affairs Detachment
In a hangar at Fort Campbell in May 2019, hundreds of Rakkasans, Screaming Eagles, and local partners gathered to welcome home Vietnam Veterans.
Vietnam veterans were at Fort Campbell to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Hamburger Hill, which occurred at Hill 937, Dong Ap Bia, from May 10th to May 20th, 1969. 3rd Battalion, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment, was the only battalion who fought at Hamburger Hill. As the hangar doors opened, a motley crew of Iron Rakkasans emerged in formation looking sharper, and taller, than ever.
"The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of the New York Times or the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, D.C." – H.R. McMaster
This homecoming ceremony occurred to rewrite and erase the egregious memories of how our country had welcomed returning Vietnam veterans a half-century earlier, to live in isolation, wrestling with the trauma they faced overseas alone. But today, it was a joyous occasion and the veterans were met as they should have been originally, with a Nation grateful they fought the war their country required of them – the audience included Lieutenant General (Retired) Frank Wiercinski, Major General Brian Winski, Mayors of neighboring cities, families, and friends, who all welcomed these veterans with accolades, holding signs high, proud of these veterans’ contributions.