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Posted: 10/14/2004 1:58:46 PM EDT
I have a great uncle who was a Green Beret in Vietnam. And me naturally am very curious about his training, tactics, etc.

He had a bad experience during some combat raid/mission[I've never got the balls to ask anyone who knows about it].

He did come to my 4-H club once and talked a little bit, but you know that was a while ago and he didn't give much interesting[at least to a 16 year old] info.

So.......what is the best way to approach politely enterregate him without turning him off.

He's a real nice guy[having given me and my brothers lots of "toys" and always showing interest in our jobs, achievements etc.] I don't want to remind him of something he doesn't want to remember.

Just need a little advice from you-alwaysveryhelpful-guys.

Thanks a million
Link Posted: 10/14/2004 2:10:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/14/2004 2:12:30 PM EDT by Palo_Duro]
Ahh... a manipulation thread. One of my favorite topics.

It's a positive reflection on yourself to want to learn of the sacrifices that your uncle made for our country. And almost equally self complimentary that you wish to pursue this knowledge using tact.

One of your best bets is to gain a general interest in the missions that people like him did during that specific conflict. Learn much. Using that knowledge, ask him what he thinks about other people's opinions (authors, etc.) and stories pertaining to that war.

Things to know before you start your research: His MOS (job) and what conflict he was involved with.

Armed with that, seek out websites and books dealing with that specifically.

Take your time. Ask him little by little / week to week, etc.

Keep a journal of his statements. Within a year I bet you'll know everything there is to know about his activities.

THAT'S the manipulative way.

Or...you could simply say to him, "I really don't want to be offensive or cause undue stress to you, but I am curious about your time in the service."

The drawback of the above statement is either a yes or a no. If you get a "no" then it will double your efforts when you try to manipulate the information.

One of the good things about learning his history is that it can be past on to future generations. That's a big deal to some folks.

Good luck.
Link Posted: 10/14/2004 2:27:29 PM EDT
This probably isn't the answer you're after, but this is how a Vietnam veteran I work with opened up a little about his service.

When I picked up my Colt AR LE rifle at lunchtime a few weeks ago, I brought it into the shop to show it off before I put it in my car.

When I let John (the veteran) inspect it, he said something along the lines of "come out here, I wanna show you something) and we walked out to his work truck.

He opened up the laptop he had in the truck and showed me a whole bunch of scanned photos from his time at a place called "Marble Mountain" back when he served in 'Nam.

He was a side door gunner on some kind of dual-rotor copter...can't remember the name of it right now.

Anyway, It was neat that he was willing to share the photos with me, since he doesn't talk about his personal life that much. He's one of the coolest guys I've ever worked with, though.

Anyway, the mere presense of an AR rifle got a Vietnam veteran to talk to me.


Link Posted: 10/14/2004 2:34:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Bullitt3401:
He was a side door gunner on some kind of dual-rotor copter...can't remember the name of it right now.

Maybe a CH-47 Chinook?
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 11:54:19 AM EDT
thanks a load guys I really apreiciate your advice!!!!
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 1:24:40 PM EDT
Dude just buy him a beer and thank him for his service.
Some want to talk.....get it of the chest as it were....and some don't.
Don't press.

I've actually been asked outright,"Did you kill anybody?" The height of rudeness.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 1:41:25 PM EDT
i just ask about any weird things they saw, the weather, general weapons questions. the rest is up to them. i've had a few guys tell me some neat things. i wish my grandfather would have told me more than 'zeros [japanese] flying all over' about his time in New Guinea 43-44'. Major Bong flew fighter cover for my grandfathers bomb group too!!!

Link Posted: 10/15/2004 1:41:31 PM EDT

Originally Posted by Palo_Duro: "..Maybe a CH-47 Chinook?"

We called it a Shithook.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 2:00:35 PM EDT
Just about anyone in the service will probably want to share stories, I would just bring it up. Worst comes to worst he takes about basic training his buddies, that question doesn't ask him about combat just how did he like the Army.
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