Journal Article

Remembering a Vietnam War Firefight: Changing Perspectives over Time

Fred H. Allison

in The Oral History Review

Published on behalf of Oral History Association

Volume 31, issue 2, pages 69-83
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 0094-0798
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1533-8592 | DOI:
Remembering a Vietnam War Firefight: Changing Perspectives over Time

Show Summary Details


Intense, deadly combat is one of the most traumatic of human experiences. How veterans remember it and how they retell it, is explored in this article by Marine Corps Oral Historian Fred H. Allison. Allison compares two interviews of the same Marine talking about the same horrific Vietnam firefight in which five of eight Marines on a reconnaissance patrol were killed. One interview took place in-country two days after the firefight, the other 34 years later. The early interview is an oral snapshot of the world of a combat Marine, while the later interview is a study in how memory reconstructs a combat experience. In comparing the two interviews the reader can begin to understand how veterans' memory works to organize and make comprehensible an event that might not have been orderly or comprehensible in the first place.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Oral History

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