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  • The Deaf in Vietnam War

    Hello,

    I came across this blogsite, and it had an interesting article on the Deaf in Vietnam War. As some of you may be aware I am Deaf, so naturally looking for any stories about the Deaf in various wars do interest me a lot.

    Now, please take this with a grain of salt, I suspect there are some major holes in this story, but it gives you a pause when considering the fact the Deaf in Vietnam War DID suffer greatly just like a lot of hearing people did.

    However, what makes this story very unusual is that it isn't referring to the Deaf Vietnamese, but to a Deaf American soldier! That's right, you read it correctly -- a Deaf soldier! Imagine that, which is why I would strongly recommend you to take this story with a grain of salt.

    http://deafanthology.blogspot.com/20...thology-8.html
    A Deaf Vietnam War Story,Deaf Anthology #8: Pvt. Smith

    "We've just received a report from our embassy in Saigon that one of our GIs is deaf, a Pvt. Smith."

    "That's impossible. They meant that he's dead, I'll check the casualty report immediately."

    Across the DMZ, on a search and destroy mission, we're being ambushed and we returned fire with our M-16s, Pvt. Smith (recently awarded the Purple Heart for wounds suffered during the Tet offensive) pulled the pin and tossed the grenade to a suspected enemy position, blowing them to hell. We then boarded the Cobra while the Phantoms took care of the rest with sorties.

    Most of us were thinking about the weekend in Bangkok with those prostitutes, but not Pvt. Smith. He had a flashback to his childhood when his Deaf father taught him stalking during deer hunting, as he gestured for a cigarette. The fuel clogged, the rotors ceased to function without warning as we crashed onto an unknown terrain. We waited until dusk, hopefully that we've not be sighted as those Gooks might have learned of our presence.

    our platoon leader, a draftee on LSD, took a trip after stepping on a mine. Pvt. Smith removed the dog tags and was selected as the new Platoon Leader, even though comrades knew he was Deaf.

    There are three major characteristics of Pvt. Smith, most notable were his extensive uses of gestures and eye contact when communicating with us. We understand him better than our Hispanic counterparts. Pvt. Smith also carried a Bowie knife from one of his ancestors.

    we stalked our way back to friendly lines undetected and another Cobra rescued us; we owe our lives to Pvt. Smith.

    Pvt. Smith continued on several more search and destroy missions until his commanders learned of his deafness. However, the files were destroyed and he was allowed to complete his tour of duty. He then study under the GI Bill at Gallaudet and then a career with the Veterans Administration. He and his wife adopted two Deaf children.

    He is now looking forward to a weekend outing when he can pass the Bowie knife to his son and tell the campfire story of those brave Texans who died at the Alamo.

    DMZ? Isn't that a Marine responsibility, not US Army's? What year was this? Boarding Cobra? Isn't that an attack helichopter? I thought it was Hueys. It doesn't give the first name of the Deaf soldier, which begs the next question, is he even a real person? A draftee as a platoon leader? How unusual is that? Voting Pvt. Smith as the new platoon pleader? I thought all units had a clear line of heirarchical command all way down to squad size, therefore voting couldn't have occurred at all. if Smith is in fact a Pvt, isn't that a bit too low rank to be even considered as a platoon leader, because that equals to 30 or so men or 3 squads, if I recall the information correctly.

    There are too many holes in this story, but I do believe the Deaf Vietnamese suffered a lot, many of them did flee on the boats after Siagon fell. I do wonder whether NVA or VC had some Deaf people fighting for them or something like that? I don't know how deafness is viewed by Vietnamese culturally, do they consider deafness to be evil and a judgment from God? It raises some interesting questions on how the Deaf survived the war and what they did during the course of war.

    Dan
    Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

    "Aim small, miss small."

  • #2
    If you want my opinion this story is plain BS. It's written by someone who has only a superficial knowledge of the Vietnam War. How could a deaf person go through basic recruit training without anyone noticing in the first place?

    That said, several Army units operated in the DMZ vicinity after 1968 (101st Airborne Division, Americal, 5th Infantry Division...).

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Boonierat View Post
      If you want my opinion this story is plain BS. It's written by someone who has only a superficial knowledge of the Vietnam War. How could a deaf person go through basic recruit training without anyone noticing in the first place?

      That said, several Army units operated in the DMZ vicinity after 1968 (101st Airborne Division, Americal, 5th Infantry Division...).
      I do agree with you that this story is false.

      But I am genuinely curious as to how and what did the Deaf Vietnamese do to survive the war. As far I am aware, very few stories do come about about the Deaf's survival in Vietnam War. And what I do know comes largely from Hmong groups, many of them had deaf children who fled to America. Most of the Deaf survivors I know usually come from Laos or Thailand, but very few do come from Vietnam itself. Maybe I'm looking in wrong places...

      Dan
      Major James Holden, Georgia Badgers Militia of Rainbow Regiment, American Civil War

      "Aim small, miss small."

      Comment


      • #4
        No offense to any deaf people, but this is simply impossible.
        There were a few loose things in the military, but nothing like that.

        The Hmong were from Laos. There is a big colony of them in Wisconsin, I know guys involved in the project.
        Never heard anything unusual about deafness.
        I spent most of 20 months around Montagnards, similar folks. Never heard it about them, either. They have a successful colony in N Carolina.
        Both of these colonies are significantly supported by the SF community as well as others.
        They are pretty well established now and doing pretty well on their own.
        I don;t think the deaf in Vietnam fared any differently than in any other conflict.

        Comment


        • #5
          Does sound a bit HollyWood.
          Boarding Cobra? Isn't that an attack helichopter?
          The 128th or 129th (correct me plz) used B model as their gunships and a Cobra as their insignia.
          So, yes, you could board a Cobra so to speak but whether they were near the DMZ, I am not sure.
          Though I believe the guns were not supose to lift troops. (correct me plz)
          I am not stuck in the 60's and 70's -I choose to live there :)
          "Vision without action is a daydream. Action with without vision is a nightmare."

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          • #6
            Guns weren't used as lifts, but emergencies created different responses.
            I have a Cobra pilot friend who landed by by his partner's crashed ship.
            He got the survivor out, put him in his own seat and rode the skids back home.
            He is a helicopter crop duster today.

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            • #7
              Another urban myth. Too many holes, could use it as a cauldron to strain spaghetti in.
              "If you are right, then you are right even if everyone says you are wrong. If you are wrong then you are wrong even if everyone says you are right." William Penn.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cheetah772 View Post
                I do agree with you that this story is false.

                But I am genuinely curious as to how and what did the Deaf Vietnamese do to survive the war. As far I am aware, very few stories do come about about the Deaf's survival in Vietnam War. And what I do know comes largely from Hmong groups, many of them had deaf children who fled to America. Most of the Deaf survivors I know usually come from Laos or Thailand, but very few do come from Vietnam itself. Maybe I'm looking in wrong places...

                Dan
                I agree the story must be false. However, you raise an interesting question. I think so many of us were disturbed about the condition of the children we encountered, the fate of those that were "disabled"? never crossed our minds. Life was so tough for so many, I never stopped to realize the plight of those whom carried with them another "cross". I'd like to know what you find from your research.
                My Avatar: Ivan W. Henderson Gunner/navigator B-25-26. 117 combat missions. Both Theaters. 11 confirmed kills. DSC.

                Comment

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