WGNS' Scott Walker recently met with Vietnam Veteran Ralph J. Gervasio, Jr. He was drafted into the military many years ago and talked to me about the carnage he witnessed when his ship was hit with friendly fire while simultaneously being attacked by Vietnamese gunfire. Gervasio served in the U.S. Navy.
The carnage witnessed by Gervasio was grim as he tried to resuscitate a shipmate whom had already died. He talked about how some personnel on the ship were missing limbs, fingers and more.
The following day he was asked to retrieve something out of the ships freezer... next to the food was the body of the man he tried to save the day prior.
When he was released from the military in the early 1970's, he had to wear his civilian clothes on the flight home. The military command he was with actually told him to do so because too many reports of returning war time veterans being spit on or attacked prompted the civilian clothes order.
He never admitted to serving in Vietnam until the 1980's out of fear of not being hired or being fired from his civilian job because he was a U.S. Veteran. Times were much different in the 70's and 80's for those who served out country.
Gervasio said that you never get over the things seen in Vietnam.
Despite the hard times, he now volunteers to help younger veterans returning from war zones.