A War on the Outside and a War Within

An American Soldier’s Story of Vietnam

9,087,000 American soldiers fought in the Vietnam War (1955-1975), with a striking 25% of these total forces “in country” being draftees. In other words, men who did not ask to fight.

58,000 of those American soldiers died during this war compared to what we believe to be 2 million civilians from both North and South Vietnam. 1.1 million were North Vietnamese/ Viet Cong and 200,000 to 250,000 were South Vietnamese soldiers.

Mike Somers, retired soldier of the army, was an impressionable young man at the time. He had dropped out of Cal Berkley in 1963, when, as he puts it, “Vietnam was just heating up.” As someone who was ‘at loose ends’ with little to no plan for his future, he enlisted one year ahead of the draft. Today, in 2018, it’s hard to imagine a person willingly joining the fight for a war that was so publicly rejected.

What came next? He spent his “…first year in the army going to school.” They trained him in physical and military skills, preparing him for the combat that lay ahead. The rest of his time there, he learned how to repair the electronics in his army aviation – what would ultimately be his role during his two-year “camping trip” in Vietnam.

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About haringeyunchained

Haringey Unchained is a collective of students aiming to show case the creative talent of Haringey Sixth Form College in Tottenham, London. We think that through the promotion of our creative thoughts, we can educate our community, bringing to the foreground the critical and creative consciousness of a vibrant school in a deprived part of London. We are endeavouring to provide this blog as a platform for our community, giving the space to those whose work otherwise might not be seen or read. Being that the cuffs are off, we are able to express through our photography, art, short fiction and poetry, what’s really on our minds. We are free.

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