It seems everyone has been watching Ken Burns 'Vietnam War,' a stunning look at the war so many try to forget. Forget, we must never do. And we must never forget the brave souls who put their lives on the line in any war. The Vietnam War is a war that tore America apart. No series can ever repair that but it can aid in the healing, which is a life-long process for combat veterans.
Aurence keeps in touch with some Marines who served with him in combat. From time to time, others pop in and out of our lives. Brave souls, all. Keeping in touch is sometimes hard, even in this day and age, and though many veterans can remember nick-names (everyone had them in Vietnam) it is sometimes hard to recall a first name. If you served with the MAG 16 at Marble Mt or Dong Ha 66-67 Aurence, who served as air crew doorgunner, would love to hear from you.
We pulled Aurence's Book of Records, a military book-of-sorts that lists your every step from your induction to the day you received your discharge papers, an interesting read. It also lists all of your "official" combat missions by dates.. If you don't have your DD214, it is also included. Some veterans have lost their DD214's and/or misplaced their medals. Your DD214 lists your medals (see Aurence's ) and the government will make a one-time life replacement for you.
I encourage all to write the military personnel office and request your BOR. I can't
emphasize enough how important it is to get and preserve your records and medals for your children. Aurence will be proud to pass his own to our son and grandson.
Veterans can write to:
NPRC Mailing Address:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
Be sure and include your service # (or social security number if you can't remember), birthdate, birth state, full name, what branch you served in, dates your served, and any other information that can help them identify you. Rather than take a chance at getting a letter requesting more info, give them whatever you think they might need to identify you. And do not forget to sign the letter of request.
Oh, and be sure to state that you want not only your DD214 and replacement medals as well as your Book of Records, along with medical records. Remember, they will only replace your medals once, so put them in safe keeping.
At one point we were helping veterans who wanted their service records and duplicate medals. I remember it took anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks, sometimes longer, before they received their packets. Be patient, but don't forget to do it. Your children will be glad you did.