By Stanley Campbell
I was in Vietnam, stationed with the 67th Medical Group, just south of Da Nang, from October of 1970 to Oct. '71.
In late October of 1970, shortly after arriving, I visited the Red Cross drop-in center in China Beach, Da Nang, and saw these patches being sold by the American volunteers there. Most were sown peace sign patches, with the statement, "Southeast Asia War Games" or "I served my time in Hell."
But one set of patches showed the VVAW insignia and spelled out their name. I lit into those poor Red Cross volunteers, called them commie supporters, and stormed out.
After three months, I came back, apologized and purchased all the patches they had. I'd changed my mind about the war, and saw it as destructive, not only of the bodies of so many young men, but of their souls as well. The mission had been to stop the commies. The mission became: killing all the Vietnamese and letting God sort them out.
This one patch of VVAW had been on my cap that I wore around the compound (I operated behind a LMD - large metal desk), at Team C's MedCom Headquarters, really a Quonset hut in the middle of a large supply depot.
I still have one of the patches in excellent condition among my collection, but this one was given to me by my sister, who, out of kindness, de-stitched it off my old cap. The cap was in bad condition, but...
Anyway, I sold this on eBay just to get it out of my sight. They're worth $50! But I'm still glad I served. If I hadn't, I'd probably be raising money for Ollie North.
Stanley Campbell is presently the director of the Rockford Urban Ministries in Rockford, Illinois. He recently shut down a pornographic bookstore, turned it into a fair trade gift shop, and put a wind generator on the roof.