Release Date: March 29, 2021
Despite what Hollywood would have us believe, the vast majority of Vietnam veterans came home and, despite their difficulties, led meaningful, productive lives. Quiet lives of service to others, to their communities, and to the nation. Their stories don’t sell a lot of movie tickets, but they are definitely worthy of our attention. In honor of National Vietnam War Veterans Day, we bring you three of those stories.
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[00:00:00] (HOST) There’s a stereotype of the Vietnam veteran. Disaffected, disenfranchised, even disturbed, that apparently sells a lot of movie tickets. In real life, there are many Vietnam vets who have struggled and continue to struggle with life since the war, and the Hollywood stereotype not only makes a caricature of them, it also obscures the fact that the majority of Vietnam veterans, the vast majority, came home and despite their difficulties, led meaningful and productive lives, quiet lives. Lives of service to others, to their communities and to the nation. Their stories don’t fill seats at the multiplex, I guess, but they are definitely worthy of our attention. And today, in honor of National Vietnam War Veterans Day, you’ll hear three of those stories.
(HOST) From the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, this is Echoes of the Vietnam War. I’m your host, Michael Croan, bringing you stories of service, sacrifice and healing from people who still feel the impact of that conflict nearly 50 years later. This is Episode One, Making an Impact at Home. Today, you’ll hear from George Jones, who uses his passion for woodworking to help fellow veterans heal.
[00:01:24] (GEORGE) People tell me I’m nuts. I say I let the wood talk to me.
[00:01:28] (HOST) From Alan Wallace, a Navy medic turned career firefighter who helped dozens of people to safety after the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.
[00:01:37] (ALAN) So then I feel the pressure from the explosion and then I feel the heat from the fireball.
[00:01:42] (HOST) And from Everett Alvarez Jr., a Navy pilot who after eight and a half years as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton, came home and changed the VA from the top.
[00:01:54] (EVERETT) Vietnam vets were camped out in Lafayette Park and the issue was Agent Orange. And they wanted help and they weren’t getting the help.
[00:02:19] (HOST) It’s so exciting to have this new format for sharing stories with you. We plan to publish an episode every two weeks, so if you like it, please share it with a friend who might like it as well. Either way, let us know what you think by leaving a comment on our web page, vvmf.org/echoes, or by emailing [email protected].
(HOST) Not everyone can travel to Washington, D.C. to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. That’s why we created The Wall That Heals an exact replica of The Wall at three quarter scale that travels to communities all across America. The Wall That Heals and the mobile education center that travels with it will be in New Bern, North Carolina, April 8th through the 11th. For more 2021 tour dates and locations, visit vvmf.org.
(HOST) George Jones served two tours as a combat medic in Vietnam. First, he was with the 25th Infantry during the Tet Offensive and in 1970 he volunteered to go back. He later spent 38 years working in medical imaging at Virginia Hospital Center. Along the way, he picked up a new passion.
[00:03:38] (GEORGE) I started doing wood turning about 15, 16 years ago. I went to a show to buy a planer — it’s a thing to smooth wood down — because we were redoing this old Victorian house. And this group, it’s called Capital Area Wood Turners, they were doing a demo, just a woodturning show. So, I watched them for two hours. The guy was turning a little bowl. His name was CA Savoy and he was turning this little ball. He turned it, then they gave it to me and he gave me a card to the club meeting. I went to a club meeting, and they had this 50/50 raffle. And I won a gouge. That’s one of the tools that you use to turn it. So, it’s like, OK, I got this gouge. Now, what am I going to do with it? I bought my first lathe within the first six months of going to this… going to this meeting. These guys just pull you right down the rabbit hole.
(GEORGE) And when I was working, I would go and, most times I’d be at work by 5:00 in the morning and I’d leave sometimes seven thirty, eight o’clock at night. And working in that, in the medical field there, especially my last five years. And I was administrator of the department. You need some place to sort of let your hair down and relax. I’d come home every day and turn sometime an hour. Sometime I made nothing. Sometime I made nothing but shavings, which you could always take that tensions of a day, you could drop them right off on the floor.
[00:05:07] (HOST) So how do we get from Capitol Area Wood Turners to your local VVA chapter?
[00:05:13] (GEORGE) I would say 90 percent of these guys are either retired, been vets, worked for the, you know, government also. It was a whole group of us there. So, we found out about this VVA through a guy I used to work with at the hospital. I joined the group about eight years ago, and I actually, I liked it because it was it was doing stuff for, for vets. One of the sayings that we had, that no vet will be treated like we were. When I heard about this chapter and what they, you know, what they were doing and their purpose, it just drew me right into it.
[00:05:52] (HOST) So take me into that into that head space that you’re in when you’re turning a piece of wood. Like, what are, what are you feeling? What are you smelling? What are you thinking about?
[00:06:02] (GEORGE) Well, it’s… it sort of depends on the piece of wood. A lot of, a lot of my friends, they can hold up a piece of wood and they’ll say this is going to be this exactly. I don’t, I get into the piece. Some people tell me I’m nuts. I say I let the wood talk to me, and it sort of tells me what it wants to be. And that’s how I end up with what I do.
(GEORGE) I like pieces that have imperfections to a lot of pieces that I turn. I like to see the bark and include it in it. I don’t like the perfectly round pieces. I don’t turn a lot of rounds, perfectly round pieces. They call it round and brown. It’s not me. I like the odd shapes, leaving the bark on it. I take a limb and cut them in half, and I’ll turn it and keep the wings on it to where you can see where the limbs come out and where the piece starts. So, different woods have different smells. Some woods you go, wow, this really stinks, but I just have a good time doing it. I like turning green wood like a tree that is just cut down. I like turning that… you get the water which sprays out on you because the wood is full of moisture. So that comes out and it’s just different challenges with the different pieces.
[00:07:23] (GEORGE) And that’s sort of the way I look at it. Every piece I put on has its own unique way of what’s going to actually come out of it. And one thing I learned is that nothing’s perfect. So I sign all my pieces with my name, 25th infantry division, and nothing’s perfect. To me, always call is woodturning, it’s almost like therapy, I can get in there and totally just because you have to be right there, you have to be right in the moment and just forget everything. And we’ll sit around and we’ll talk about, you know, talk about your experiences and how you got through them and the different difficulties. So the woodturning has been a real positive for today because there’s a lot of vets, at least in my club, that are that are currently doing it. And the biggest thing that we’ve been able to do, too, is with, like, the current vets, the guys that are active duty right now, you know we draw them in and we support them. And it’s really great. We had a guy not too long ago who came to our club to talk to speak to Vietnam Vet Club, and he was an amputee. So, it’s not just our Vietnam vets. It’s all, like you say, it’s all of that because nobody really understands unless you’ve done it.
[00:08:34] (HOST) Are veterans finding you mainly through word of mouth, or are you evangelizing this somehow?
[00:08:42] (GEORGE) Well, what we do is we just, Capital Area Wood Turners, we’ll have vets that’ll, that’ll come in and we’ll, we’ll show them how to turn, show them how to safely turn. I’m also on the board of governors at Arrowmont School of the Arts in Tennessee. We have a veterans program there that we give vets scholarships to come there. And, but it can be anything from painting to woodturning. So that’s been a big plus in doing it, doing that, too. And you’re always, I always say that woodturners are sort of like pushers. You always want to get that next person hooked and doing it.
[00:09:20] (HOST) Have you had an experience, you know, sharing this this passion, woodturning, with another veteran where you saw the light go on?
[00:09:32] (GEORGE) I remember once when I was down at Arrowmont, we had these sit-down lathes and they had a double amputee that came in. And turning most of the time, 90 percent of us are standing up to do it, but the school bought a sit-down lathe to where he could turn sitting in his chair. You’re sort of locked in that house thinking, there’s nothing that I can do. And then when you turn it, even if it’s not turning any more than a pin or a small bow, but to see that those shavings come off… I do, I do remember him. And he had just a great time doing it. And I think he’s gone to the school just about every other year after that. Mm hmm.
[00:10:15] (HOST) You still in touch with him at all?
[00:10:16] (GEORGE) Still in touch. Yeah. I got a lot of friends, vets that don’t live here necessarily, but we became basically lifelong friends. I turned would that a lot of times people look at and say, well, you can’t get anything out of it, that it’s beyond its usefulness. Well, that’s where I like to take it, because, you know, so many of us, you look at where we came from, people would say, you’re beyond your usefulness. But if you dig just a little deeper, you’ll be amazed at what you can find out about people and what’s under the wood… what’s under your skin and what you can get out of it. You just give them a chance. You know, we all have something to give. You’ll be just amazed… sometimes you think it’s not much. But I’ve seen people that are down and out, but everybody’s got something to give, and if you just give them the time to do it and just share what you’ve got.
[00:11:13] (HOST) Alan Wallace lives in southern Ohio, not far from where he grew up, but he did leave Ohio in 1966 on a journey that would take him to Vietnam during Tet and to the Pentagon on 9/11. He also spent many years as one of the volunteers down at the wall, known affectionately as Yellow Hats.
[00:11:32] (ALAN) I started checking into the armed forces when I was in high school, I was always kind of interested in bones and nerves and stuff like that. And so I got to check into the Navy Hospital Corps. I volunteered for the Navy. I also volunteered for Vietnam.
[00:11:49] (HOST) So when did you arrive in Vietnam?
[00:11:52] (ALAN) It was right before Christmas 1967. And we flew into Da Nang, it was in the northern part of South Vietnam. We went from there to a place was receiving area, it was called Camp Tien Sha, and it was on the east side of the river that separated Da Nang from the Air Force base there in Da Nang. We were there for probably no more than two nights. The next assignment is the Naval, Naval Support Activity Hospital, Da Nang, and this is about three miles south down, down the coast from the actual Da Nang proper. I used to say to myself, I will never forget this place.
(ALAN) After about six weeks, the Tet Offensive comes along. Actually, not even that long, probably closer to four weeks. It was not uncommon, Michael, for us to work twenty-four hours and be off for twenty-four hours. But when this Tet Offensive thing came along, it was twenty-four hours. And then it was an additional twenty-four hours. And an additional twenty-four hours. There was no stopping. We were absolutely overwhelmed. It got to after about two, two days of this, most of us and not eaten the whole the entire operating room crew is working and we haven’t eaten. And somebody was smart enough to, to send some one of us over to the dining hall and have the guy make us up sandwiches and oranges. And the sandwiches were ah, were salami with mustard.
[00:13:30] (ALAN) I’ll never forget. Or I used to say I’ll never forget the flavor of it. It was good. The bread was the bread is delicious. And then also chocolate milk and fruit… for like, probably at least three weeks, that’s what we ate. And we usually ate around three or four o’clock in the morning. And then you wouldn’t eat again until things slowed down a little bit, three o’clock at four o’clock in the morning.
(ALAN) So when that finally came to came to an end, it was… it’s like, well, what do we do now? So several months would go by, it seemed like every two months after and this Tet Offensive, things started about the end of January 1968. It seemed like about every two months we would have another offensive where there was a lot of aggression. We had a lot of, we were overwhelmed with casualties, but not as bad as the 1968 Tet offensive. And I remember that as months went by and we’d get the new guys in there and we’d be busy and you’d hear one of them say, man, when is this stuff… when is this going to end? And one of us old timers would say, if you think this is bad, you should have been here at Tet. And I’ve heard that…
[00:14:45] (ALAN) I’ve heard that phrase repeated numerous times. And one of the doctors one day said, listen, when they tell you, you don’t know what it was like, I’m telling you, you don’t know what it was like. There was no stopping.
(ALAN) I know there were a lot of casualties that we could have done something more, probably even saved a lot of them. But because of the injuries that some of these guys had, it was just not practical to, to try and save them when we had so many other people that we knew we could save. I don’t ever, I never felt bad about that. That was not our decision. That would have been up to the, up to the up to the surgeons and such. I never felt more valuable than the year that I was in Vietnam.
(HOST) You said you separated from the military, from the Navy in what was 1970, 1970?
(ALAN) Yes, sir. February 2nd.
(HOST) And did you go back home from there?
(ALAN) Well, I drove from the Virginia Beach area to my hometown, lived there from there until 1993.
(ALAN) At that time, the job that I had working as a firefighter at the Air Force Base here in Columbus was coming to an end as far as the Air Force was concerned, because the Air Force was paying the fire bill and the Air Force was leaving. And so because of that, I was a permanent employee and I would be given a job, and it could have been any number of places over one hundred. But when I filled out the suggestion form for this potential job, I pretty much picked everything east of Indianapolis.
[00:16:17] (ALAN) And that was on a Thursday, I’m thinking. I probably won’t have to do anything about this job for six months and probably won’t have to leave for a year. When I came home that Tuesday morning, the phone rang. It was it was the Air Force Base, Rickenbacker Human Resources people. And the lady on the other on the other end of the phone said, we have a job for you. I’m thinking, well, what how much time do I have to make up my mind? And this was Tuesday morning. And she said Friday. And now we get a call from the fire chief down in Arlington, Virginia. Three firefighters from the Air Force base near Columbus, Rickenbacker, that would be given a job in Arlington there at Fort Myer. And again, Fort Myer is the Army post up on top of the hill behind Arlington Cemetery.
(ALAN) So, everything went well there. I became involved in a lot of things there at, at Fort Myer, worked as a volunteer with the National Park Service, worked at the Vietnam War, at the Vietnam Memorial, would get about three hundred hours a year as a volunteer. The tracings that you’ve seen, people volunteers there with the Yellow Hats make, I’ve probably made over 10,000 of them. Would be kind of neat to know how many I have made.
[00:17:41] (HOST) So you’re, you’re working at a fire department in Fort Myer on, on September 11th, 2001. Can you kind of walk me through that day?
[00:17:52] (ALAN) Let’s back up a day. Monday was a day off for me, but I was… our entire fire department, with the exception of six people, had to take a class. Believe it or not, Michael, the class had to do with airfield firefighting. George W. Bush arrived about nine thirty that morning. He’s going to get on the helicopter there at the Pentagon heliport. He’s going up… he’s going to… the helicopter are going to take him over to Andrews Air Force Base, which is over in Maryland, about 12 miles away. He’s going to get on the Air Force One and he’s going to fly from there to Sarasota, Florida. If you recall, he was down there to congratulate this group of second graders or something and compliment them on their reading skills.
(ALAN) Here it is Tuesday morning, everything is up and running. We’ve got everything all set for Bush’s return at noon. We become aware of the other attacks about 9 a.m.. The fire truck is parked outside of the front of the open end of the firehouse and is pointed perpendicular away from the Pentagon, and the back of the fire truck is probably about 10 feet away from the Pentagon. We’re tinkering around the back of the fire truck and there is no warning, Michael, of what’s in front of us or what’s about to happen. No noise, no nothing. And a flash or something. About a 45 degree angle off to my left caught my eye, and when I looked up, there was an airplane.
[00:19:23] (ALAN) The airplane is about 200 yards away from us at this point as it is approaching the Pentagon at about a 45 degree angle. Immediately, as soon as we see the airplane, we are enveloped in this very loud, incredibly loud noise. It was so loud, Michael, that it damn near drowned out the noise of the plane hitting the building. I would say no more than two seconds or one second, maybe from the time we see the airplane until it hits the building and it’s over, there’s nothing there outside the building, whatever, that you’d ever know that there was ever an airplane. There was nothing but a field full of burning trash out around the heliport. You couldn’t put your foot anywhere in any position without touching something. It was just… just thousands and thousands of small pieces of something. Part of it was the building, most of it, I’m sure it was the airplane because of the approach to the airplanes approach to the Pentagon, I would say it’s been documented the right wing was pretty much parallel to the ah, believe it was a left wing. It hit the right, rear, left rear part of the fire truck, crushed it and also tore the left wheel clear off the fire truck. My thoughts are very clear of Michael, I’m thinking, you know, now we we’re, we’re being attacked. I am running pretty much parallel to the Pentagon. So then I feel the pressure from the explosion and then I feel the heat from the fireball.
[00:20:55] (ALAN) So I decided to dive forward, and when I stop sliding on the brand new, smelly new blacktop, I am between the, the driver’s side front rear wheels and I crawl underneath the fire truck. And when I’m completely underneath the fire truck, the trash and everything is falling down. And I crawled out from underneath because it is really hot. I make the radio call Fort Myer. My message was just simply phone six one. That’s us, Fort Myer. We have had a commercial airliner crash into the west side of the Pentagon at the heliport. The Washington Boulevard side come at once. I come back into the firehouse. First thing I noticed is suspenders on my fire pants are on fire. So, I tramped on them with my left foot. Before I had a chance to put my stuff on, some guy comes over and grabs me and he said, if you can help me get in this window, we can get these people out of the building right behind fire truck. His name was Blair Bozek. He was an Air Force Academy graduate, Lieutenant Colonel Air Force, and he flew, flew the FR-71 spyplane. You familiar with that? And I hold this guy responsible for the people that came out of those 10 or so, dozen people to come of the two windows right behind the burning fire truck. This went on. We get done with all the people coming out of the building.
[00:22:21] (ALAN) Now, I give up on that operation. I go in the firehouse to put on my fire pants by this time, what I thought I had tramped, where I thought I had tramped the fire, smoldering suspenders, they had continued to burn. No big deal. Hell, I didn’t need suspenders. My pants fit good, Michael. And so I got that on, I got the sock hood on, and got the fire coat on, no gloves, no helmet, no breathing apparatus, of course the boots are part of the pants.
I grab a fire extinguisher, I grab two fire extinguishers and went around the back of the fire truck, I took the carbon dioxide model and I pulled the trigger on it. And I’m trying to put some fire out underneath the truck. And up on top of the generator was. I go in the building through this and into the fire, into the building I’m in or about maybe crawling, stepping over carefully over top of stuff. Then I get down on the floor. When I thought I would see what appear to me to be fire, I would pull the trigger. I got this big battle lantern in my left hand. I got this fire extinguisher laying on the side in my right hand. And when I thought I would see something, I would pull the trigger and it makes a loud noise. And about the second time I do this, a woman yells, “Hey!” Telling you, Michael, it was the furthest thing from my mind that I would run into somebody in there. And I was so, I was so startled.
[00:23:43] (ALAN) The only thing I could say was, hey, back. And one of us says, I can’t see you. And this girl, this lady claps her hands and we’re yelling back and forth, and her name was Sheila Moody. Now I keep in touch with her and she worked for the Army accounting area, and that’s where she was in the building, so. About this time, another guy, another name appears on this story. His name was Chris [Braman]. I’ll think of it, he was an Army Ranger, great big kid, and he intercepts this woman and he, he and she are going out of the building when I get out of the building. And shortly after, I guess, all of this, here comes our company from Fort Myer and, and I remember almost immediately I helped four or five guys carry this one guy who was unconscious. One of the things while we were covering this guy, I looked down and I see this big yellow fire hose, Fort Myer was the only fire department there in Arlington that had yellow four-inch fire hose. This tells me two things. Number one, Fort Myers on the scene. And number two, I can’t remember what number two was.
(ALAN) Give you an idea of how busy or at least how busy I was, I did not realize that those towers had fallen down until sometime after two o’clock in the morning.
[00:25:14] (HOST) Everett Alvarez Jr. is one of the most well-known and celebrated veterans of the Vietnam War, a Navy fighter pilot. He was the first American aviator shot down there and he spent the remainder of the war as a POW in Hanoi. He was decorated many times, including the Silver Star, two legions of merit, the distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. Since his release, he has completed law school, built two successful businesses, raised a family and written two books about his experiences. During Ronald Reagan’s presidency, Everett was appointed Deputy Administrator of the Veterans Administration, where he found himself not once but twice as the acting head of the agency.
[00:26:01] (EVERETT) When I came, Vietnam vets were camped out in Lafayette Park. They had barricaded the front door of the VA headquarter building and the issue was Agent Orange. And they wanted help and they weren’t getting the help. So initially, the Agent Orange issue was brought. We brought it forward along with the Department of Defense and we formed a group for the defense and which led to the Agent Orange Research Committee that led to medical help for the veterans, plus Congress approving a lot of the disabilities that would be directly linked to Agent Orange. Same time, we wanted, there was a movement afoot to start the to do something about the help that the Vietnam vets needed that and the care that they weren’t getting from the VA medical centers. And there was already a movement started and then we adopted it, implemented these Vietnam veteran counseling centers. The storefront operations that we opened up around the country, eventually about 180 to be walk-in centers for people who are Vietnam vets who are having trouble, and these were manned by Vietnam vets themselves who are qualified and certified counselors. That was a big effort. We also, at the time, felt a need for a need to do something about the bureaucratic way and the veterans claims were being handled everything at the time, Michael was done by paper. Ffiles stacked from floor to ceiling. We introduced actually the first word processors, you couldn’t go directly to the state of the art computers because people doing the work were all at the time still using typewriters.
[00:28:47] (EVERETT) So they transfer to word processors things that we could then gradually lead to electronic handling of claims, the records. This was 1980, early 80s, and these are people that were, had grown up and served in World War II. And Korea and Vietnam vets were just now starting to get into the system. We knew that we were going to have to just push it along. Along with that came the medical records, there was no standard system. We fought, one thing we did push through the first electronic system, it was the mumps system was nomenclature, which basically to standardize certain aspects of the hospital system over the objections of Congress. And a lot of the other critics of the VA, we went with what the doctors wanted. That’s one of the other things that we did. At the time, but the other thing that I I think I take pride in is we established very good relations with the veterans organizations, the American Legion, VFW, DAV at the time with the Vietnam veterans and the AMVETS and other smaller ones. We actually, I think, work very well with them. Having them recognize that we were their advocates, not their enemy. Of course, the veterans wanted more and more. And in many cases, they really deserve their claims for more funding here and there were a realistic and necessary. So, I was there for four years and then I left the government.
[00:30:04] (HOST) Well, that’s an enormous amount to take on over the course of four years, and I would imagine that a lot of the, the metrics of success take longer than four years to materialize, so.
(EVERETT) Oh, yeah.
[00:30:18] (EVERETT) I realize that in order to accomplish something in four years, you have to select two, maybe three major issues, major programs. And that’s about right. You have to deal with the Congress and you have to deal you have to establish support in the Congress as well as administration. I push for things that I thought were really necessary.
[00:30:42] (HOST) Given the, the scale and scope of these initiatives that you, that you started and given that, you know, the indicators of success, were going to come many years down the road. Long after you were gone, what did you look for to signify that you were having the effect on Vietnam veterans, in particular, that you were trying to have?
[00:31:06] (EVERETT) Well, let me say that as a Deputy, of course, I worked for the secretary or the administrator and Harry Walters at the time, he and I worked closely together. We have pretty much an agreement on everything and everything was done with the future in mind. I took a lot of guidance from people in the VA who were also looking to improve things for long, especially the psychiatric. And the care of the addicted people. I wish we were able to move a lot of these initiatives along further than. I mean, it would just slow. Listen, there was a lot of things that were were changing in the country, in the area of health care, mental health care. You had to knockdown and move people’s attitudes. And that took time. I’ll give you an example of what you’re facing. President Reagan had a ceremony at the White House awarding, it was awarding a Medal of Honor to a Vietnam veteran. And that was to Sergeant Roy Benavidez from Texas, who had, had saved many lives by getting shot. And a real heroic like he was saving others and putting them on a helicopter and getting away and carrying people back and forth, and he had many wounds. So, Roy Benavidez came to my office and my office was across the street across Lafayette Park from the White House. He and his family and used my office to change into his uniform. And you can see the scars from the wounds on his arms and a comment I got from the one person was, “I wonder what bar fight he got those in.” I mean, here was the head of a department. I was speechless and it reflected what we were dealing with.
[00:33:13] (HOST) Was there ever a time during your four years there where you had an encounter with a Vietnam veteran or maybe a small group of Vietnam veterans, that gave you a strong sense that you were on the right track, that you were having the impact that you wanted to have on that, on that constituency?
[00:33:31] (EVERETT) Michael, it’s interesting you ask me that question I have to go back to when I was first there and it was Veteran’s Day 1982 as the acting, I went to Arlington ceremonies at Arlington Cemetery. General Westmoreland was one of the speakers. And I was there and in the audience were a lot of Vietnam veterans and their fatigue jackets and I, I spoke to them followed by Westmoreland. And so, at the conclusion of the ceremony, I’m walking down the steps off the stage Vietnam veterans had, a lot of them had gathered. And they were all, you know, talking to me, you know, and thanking me, and they were glad that I was there. And they were patting me on the back, and I had my hand on the rail and this just blew me away. I had my hand on the rail and one guy came and he actually kissed my hand. And I said, wow, and the others were proud of me and good luck. Congratulations and all that, and I thought, hey, wait a minute. And it blew me away. And I’m thinking good God. You know, that’s, that’s not what I am not a God. But it was, I think, for people demonstrating their emotions and appreciation for what I had done. As one of them. And, and I was what I was trying to do for them, I always took my job with that thought in mind.
[00:35:13] (HOST) And that leads me to my, my next question, which is, you know, this book, Code of Conduct is about the military code of conduct and how that code helped you in your life after the war. But what I take from the book is that before you ever got in the military, you had a very strong personal code. And I think people recognize that in you. And I’m curious, how much of that code do you feel like came from your, your Jesuit education? And in what ways did that education inform your approach to your life?
[00:35:50] (EVERETT) I think my Jesuit education had a lot to do with it. It formalized in a way, many things I inherited growing up. I recognized that if I was ever going to do anything in life education would be important. My dad, my mother instilled that in me. They never had the chance for an education, formal education, that I also had a sense of a patriotic duty. And that’s why I joined the volunteer to join the Navy upon my, my graduation. So, when you talk about the values and still. Santa Clara, the Jesuits did bring everything together in a way, and I said and I really value that because when I was shot down by myself. I only, I only had myself to depend on because I had no idea, I mean, I thought they were going to kill me, they could walk in and kill me. And so, but I had to survive in this situation. And I found that all of that training just sort of just melded into who I was. And that’s what helped me develop, helped me sustain my day-to-day survival. And not only applied to that, they applied to the family, they applied to building a company, afterwards. These are just things that you face every day in one form or another.
[00:37:24] (HOST) These interviews were heavily edited for time in order to fit into this podcast format. If you’d like to hear my entire conversation with George or Alan or Everett, you’ll find them on our YouTube channel. Today’s show was produced by me, Michael Croan, with the enormous help of Heidi Zimmerman, Latosha Adams and Adam Arbogast. Our Executive Producer is Jim Knotts. And I have to say the interview with Alan would not have been possible without the tireless, relentless support of Paula Mayer at the Wagnalls Memorial Library in Lithopolis, Ohio. Thank you, Paula. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was founded by this non-profit organization, and our continuing efforts to honor those who served are fueled by donations from people like you. If you’d like to help, donate at VVMF.org. We’ll see you in two weeks for Episode Two, The Sound of Hope.
Full Interview with George Jones
Full Interview with Alan Wallace
Full Interview with Everett Alvarez
- National Vietnam War Veterans Day page – https://www.vvmf.org/topics/National-Vietnam-War-Veterans-Day/
- Capital Area Wood Turners – https://capwoodturners.org/
- VVA Chapter (George Jones is part of?) –
- Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts – https://www.arrowmont.org/
- Fort Myer Fire Department – https://home.army.mil/jbmhh/index.php/my-fort/all-services/fire-emergency-services
- Medal of Honor: Roy Perez Benavidez – https://www.cmohs.org/recipients/roy-p-benavidez
- Code of Conduct, book – https://www.amazon.com/Code-Conduct-Alvarez/dp/1556113102
- The Wall That Heals – https://www.vvmf.org/The-Wall-That-Heals/
- Full Interview with George Jones – https://youtu.be/PcBj094PjTE
- Full Interview with Alan Wallace – https://youtu.be/S6HtGEeOOKE
- Full Interview with Everett Alvarez – https://youtu.be/ouNEZ60Hz3E
- YouTube Echoes of the Vietnam War Interview playlist – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLK63b6Cn53unMMj-yZYEch0RuYy1YN1zl