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C 0
As a soldier in Vietnam,
Peter Berres witnessed
brutality he didn’t think
Americans were capable of.

Before his tour was over, he
would unwillingly have a part

in the darker side of the
a I I American occupation.
After returning to America,

Berres went into teaching,
fueled by a passion born from
an unjust war. That passion
would take him back to
Vietnam with UK students,
educating a generation living
during a new American
conflict about the true

toll of war —- and what it
means to forgive.


Stories by Sean Rose ° Photos by Kasha Stevenson




PAGE A2 I Friday, April 25, 2008





Top: Peter
Berres looks at
taken by combat
during the Viet
nam War These
pictures were
part of a specral
exhibit at the
American War

Right In a
Catholic church
in the center of
Hanoi, Vietnam.
on Christmas
night, Peter
Berres reflects
on Operation
Linebacker II, an
11-day bombing
raid on Hanoi in
late December

It was quick.





The young private sat in the back of a helicopter and watched as fellow soldiers

pulled a captured Viet Cong to his feet, shouting at him. Then, as if he were trash,
the soldiers flung the young Vietnamese out into the jungle hundreds of feet below.
Peter Berres, having only been in country for a few weeks, stood and watched as

his comrades pulled a second prisoner to the doors of the helicopter.

“We can’t do this,” Berres told them — then something heavy pressed against his

head: a .45-caliber pistol in the firm grip of another American.
“Back off, new guy,” the soldier said to Berres. “Either that, or you go out the door.”
Berres sat. The second prisoner started talking, and the soldiers kept him in the

helicopter before returning to their firebase in Southern Vietnam. ‘
‘ At a time when many of America’s youth were doing all they could to stay out of



Vietnam, Berres volunteered and signed his commitment papers at age 17 as a senior

in high school. The oldest son of a military family felt a sense of duty to his country

and a call of adventure in his mind.
But this was not the war Berres planned on fighting.

Nearly 40 years after Berres stepped off
a troop cargo plane to start his tour of

duty. the former soldier knelt at a pew in a
(,‘atholic church ll‘. Hanoi. Vietnamese
choirs echoed through the packed (‘hristmas‘
night service with a familiar melody of “0
(‘omc All Ye Faithful."

This December Ztltl7 Visit was Berres~
second time returning to the formerly eni—
battled country since his sersice and his
first time bringing llK students.

Berres. 58. now an assistant dean for ad»

missions and student affairs in the College of

Health Sciences and a political science in—
structor. started teaching a Vietnam War his
tory class as part of the Discovery Seminar
Program a year ago with hopes of bringing
students to Vietnam a place more often
thought of as a war rather than a country.

The United States (lid not learn lessons
from the war. Berres said. Questions that
should haye been examined at the war's end
were stepped m er in Americas rush to dis—
tance itself trom the conflict.

The result. Berres said. is another pre—
empti\e war based on false information.
this time in Iraq.

Berres gained a tragic perspectiye from
witnessing the brutality of combat in Viet—

nam. The majority of the country W includ—
ing the current White House administration
and much of (‘ongress ~ did not.

The lessons overlooked by politicians
and citizens of the Vietnam era are what
Berres hoped students would take to heart
by Visiting the country.

So many matters of foreign policy are
essentially human decisions. Berres said.
and so many Americans are unaware of the
total cost of war.

The (‘hristmas service was spoken in
Vietnamese. but Berres told students the
language barrier made no difference. Grow—
ing tip in a (‘atholic home. Berres consid—
ered being a priest. The same motivations
drove him to join the Army: it was a chance

to serse not only his country. but all of


Two students joined the professor on the
wooden pew. sitting at his left. An older
Vietnamese woman sat on his right. Thirty»
five years earlier US. bombs rained down
on Hanoi for l l straight days and nights. in—
cluding Christmas. as part of one of the last
major American bombing campaigns of the
war. Berres could not help but wonder
about the woman's story , the hardships
she might have faced. whom she lost at the

hands of Americans.

“I think I spent almost the entire time
looking at those beautiful women and chil—
dren and thinking to myself. how could we
have bombed the hell out of these people 35
years ago almost to the day?" Berres said.
“Just looking at them — how innocent and
sweet. gracious. beautiful they are — and
wondering how we could have rained all
those bombs down on them and found some
way to justify it."

A new soldier on an old battlefield

Nothing in the Vietnam of 1968 was as
it seemed.

Berres was trained on how to stay alive
in combat. told of America‘s local allies in
the Army of South Vietnam and indoctrinat-
ed on the evils of communism. as he had
been since childhood. Helping South Viet-
nam fend off the communist North was the
reason for the war. soldiers and the nation
were told.

What the young soldier found in the
country was strikingly different.

(‘ombat was chaos. where luck was


Continued on next page





"I think I spent
almost the entire
time just looking
at them — how
innocent and sweet.
gracious, beautiful
they are —— and
wondering how we
could have rained
all those bombs
down on them
and found some
way to justify it."
Perm Bennrs

UK instructor





Peter Berres,
top right, and
students Jeff
Keith, bottom
right, Amanda
Tate, bottom
left, and Kelly
Arnett settle
into their cabin
on an overnight
train from
Hanoi to Sapa,


View Kasha Stevenson's
multimedia slideshow
on the journey to Vietnam
Peter Berres took with
five students,



G Hanoi

Toured the war prison known
as the "Hanoi Hilton," the
Ho Chi Minh shrine and
mausoleum, and museums,

® Sapa

Went hiking and sightseeing
in this town near the Chinese

@ Ha Long Bay

On Christmas Eve, took an
overnight crurse

(D Hue

Toured tombs of past kings,
major battle sites such as
Khe Sanh and the Battle of
Hue, and toured the former
Demilitarized Zone

@ Hoi An

Traveled to nearby My Lai.
site of the 1968 massacre of
more than 500 civilians.

(9 iio Chi Minh City

Visited the American War
Remnants Museum and
the nearby Cu Chi tunnels.
a massive underground
complex the Viet Cong
used during the war.

6 Con"!!!

Toured the Mekong Delta
and visited the floating




often more valuable than training. The
South Vietnamese had no cause to be-
lieve in ~ like the United States. their
soldiers were drafted. To many Viet-
namese. communism was simply a

The difference between Northern
and Southern Vietnamese was largely
artificial. Until 1954. Vietnam was a
unified country that had been fighting
against foreign invaders nearly its whole
existence: thousands of years against the
Chinese and nearly a hundred years
against the French. The recent decades
since America‘s withdrawal represent
the longest period of peace Vietnam has
ever experienced.

Given the choice of joining the na—
tional army. going to jail or joining the
Viet Cong and putting their families at
risk. the South Vietnamese were simply
”on the wrong side of their own history."

“I thought it was a clean divide."
Berres said. laughing. “The good guys
and the bad guys. the communists and
the non-communists. Nothing is that

"They are victims of circumstances.
and the fact that they wore that uniform
and worked with the United States does
not suggest to me for a second that they
were all about democracy or the Ameri—
cans supporting govemment or us win—
ning or anything like that." Berres said.
“They were simply trying to survive."

The peak of this mountain of contra-
dictions was the Tet Offensive. Berres
arrived in the country at the beginning
of the sweeping. organized communist
attack in South Vietnam. Similar to the
insurgency of lraq today. the enemy
could be anywhere and could be undis-
tinguishable from civilians.

But Berres was a new soldier. He
was still approaching his radicalixation.

He still believed in the cause and
had even opted to skip a year of lan-
guage training to speed his arrival, not
wanting to risk that the war might end
before he experienced it.

One immediate contradiction was ap—
parent to him. however. Leaving Ameri—
ca. Berres was a fully trained Amiy inter—
rogator. To soldiers already in the field.
he was just an FNG. a “f——-ing new guy."
a soldier whose life was worth the least
of anyone‘s. given more dangerous as-
signments and the “s--- jobs."

But of all the realizations Ben'cs





Peter Berres, left, shown here at an outpost near Uiia Diult, Vietnam, ill 1968. voluntec"


for the Army as a senior in high school Initially, he was. so eager to serve in the war mat
he skipped language training to speed his arrival

would have over the next year. the most

lasting would be that much of the war

toll is made up by victims of circum-

Casualties of war

One morning. three or four weeks
after watching the Viet Cong soldier"
thrown to his death. Berres received an
assignment. He was to escort a courier
with information to headquarters in
Saigon. a 45~minute drive from where
he was stationed in the \illagc of (iha

Berres met the courier. a gruff
sergeant with a briefcase handcuffed to
his wrist and a pistol strapped to his hip.
They climbed into a tlirecaquartcr-ton
trtick. BcITes at the wheel. and drove off.

Traffic in Saigon liows more like
water than on American streets. A sea ol
hundreds of scooters free of most traffic
laws. looking for the path of least resis.
tance around cars. against traffic. on
the sidewalk. in 1068 it was worse.
Berres said. with many more bicycles
and pedestrians.

It was his first time di‘iying in Victe

nam. Berres said. and probably the first
time driving a truck that si/c.

As Berres wcayed through the cur
rcnts of pcoplc. the sergeant w ho was
on his second or third tour of duty
urged him to driyc faster. Ainciiciin liycs
depended on these documcnts. and. bc
sides. he said. the people outside the
truck were just "gooks."

An old man carrying a basket in onc
arm and an infant in the other w alkcd
out into the busy Saigon sticct 'l‘licrc
was no time to stop.

People screamed and massed around
the truck. Berres started to get out to
help. The sergeant unholstcrcd his pistol.
pointed it at Bcrrcs and told him to kill
yc. He obeyed.

A few weeks later. Hcrrcs \olun
tccrcd to drive with thrcc other soldiers
down to a mechanics pool that had conic
undcr attack. Scycral wounded soldiers
lay at the other end of thc short driyc
from his fircbasc.

The soldiers w ci'c driy ing when cnc
my firc came from the right. Soldiers
yelled. rifles blasted. and Bci‘i'cs
crotichcd down to protcct hiinscll.

The jccp sped around the bend




PAGEA3 | Friday, April 25, 2008



something was in the road. Two small
children were running from the gunfire.
The jeep hit them head on. Still under
fire. there was no time to stop. The sol-
diers drove on.

Later that day. Berres thought of his
younger brothers and sisters safe in
America. some no more than 5 years
old. Killing civilians was painful
enough: not being able to come to their
aid added to his guilt.

“You don‘t know who they left.
what the rest of their family was like."
Berres said. “And you just don‘t know
the pain that other pcoplc around them
had." ‘

Seeing the carnage America brought
to Vietnam and watching war morph
young Americans like hint into killers
madc Berres start to question and decry
the war he \oluntcei'cd to fight.

“l couldn‘t figure out how these peo—
ple w crc better off. doing what wc were
doing." Bcri'cs said. “And my defense
was any body is bcttci' off in any political
sy stcm no matter how oppr'cssiy'c it is.
than to hay c ltills and tons and ions and
toiis of bombs dropped on thcm and tons
and tons of .\gcnt Orange. and (ils that
shoot you just cause they ”re looking for
entertainment "

llc found a few likc~mindcd sol»
dicrs. and iii their free time they would
\ll and llle‘ll to ttlllla\\‘dr music. If they
klllllkl. they would play The Animals‘
"Sky l’ilot” ill times in a row. Berres
‘~.lltl. And It they were aliyc the next
night and bird thc chance. they would
listen to it it) more times.

.\laiiy soldiers rcfuscd to engage in
thc battle of conscience (‘ombat w as the
worst place to change your mind on the
war bccausc soldiers still had to suryiyc.
Berres said. and most (ils probably
w aitcd until rcttii‘ning to the States he?
tore asking questions.

Hci'i'cs thought about the children
and the old man with the infant cycry
day The children‘s bodies “CFC gone
li‘oin thc road when hc returned to base
limit the firclight. lior a short time. he
held out hope that they might bc aliyc.
lzyciitually. the only comloi't hc allowed
himself was that their deaths must hayc
been much

if mm, ,iaj on. next page

At the Army
Museum in
Hanoi, Vietnam,
Peter Berres and
Do Van Mahn,
one the group's
gurdes. discuss
the Size of U 8
Army tanks




 PAGE A4 | Friday, April 25, 2008


Vietnam tights tor independence from France
The war ends With the french Army's staggering
defeat at Dien Bien F’hu

July 154 Vietnam is divided into two countries
along the 17th parallel as a peacekeeping rnea
sure until the elections scheduled for 1956
They never happen


1959 The war officially starts With increasing
American support of South Vietnam, fighting
against the communist North Vietnam, which
wants to reunify the country

151 Presrdent John F Kennedy begins sending
military egurpment and advisers to Vietnam

Nov. 22, 1%3 President Kennedy is assassinat»
ed lyndon B Johnson assumes office

Aug. 2, 154 Matters escalate when North
Vietnam launches an attack against two U S
ships on call in the. Gulf of Tonkin Congress
passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution to allow
expanding the war effort.


March 2 US starts bombing targets in North
Vietnam as part of Operation Rolling Thunder,
which would continue for almost four years and
drop an average of 630 tons of bombs each day

March 8 America sends its first combat troops
to Vietnam 3,500 Marines

May 3 The first Army (‘Ullllldt troops arrive
3,500 soldiers

184,300 American combat troops
in Vietnam, 1,863 declared dead in 1965


389,000 American combat troops
in Vietnam, 6,143 declared dead in 1966


l April Peter Berres stuns his comrriitment pa
[hrs hijduilbh Ainiyih T/

May 18 for the first time, U S and S iutli Viet-
iiarnese troops enter the Dernilitarizeil [one that
i t‘\ North and South ‘vlietnarri Both sides suf
’ir heavy losses during a series of firefiql‘its With
the North Vietnarriese Army

I August Berres begins Army training soon after
ii'ailiiatinq high school

"463,000 American combat troops
in Vietnam, 11,153 declared dead in 1967


I January Berres arrives in Vietnam

Jan. 21 Serge of Khe Sanh begins In its 77
days it would t'ieconie the longest, bloodiest
tiiiftii: of the war for Americans

Jan. 31 The Noll.“ and the Viet Cong ldl.lll.l‘ tl‘e
let Offensive a highly organized attack on minor
lit»? ii‘ the South Th . offeriSive, meant to ll‘.’
l,llt’ .in ‘llll sing in the ‘iiiitli, would last months
but ultimately tail The tilt ' ive surprised Amer
'ca't' who i'lot ii the Viet Cong were rapahle
of arch organization

I February Berre. watches as a Vietnam ..
or ‘.""i" tliri . turn a helicopter to persuade
another prisoner Tll start talking

I March While loving it truck llr Saloon, Berres
arrirleetally lots rl 'nar‘ tarrying it l’l‘llll A few
weeks cizor riir .drivir’ig a Jeep during a fire
“dbl and hit two asrapino children
March 16 More ‘liar‘i 5110 VitilllrllTlt"‘sl‘t ilians
well by ll ‘3 soldiers in My tai and nearby
i wl the killings would not become
and a half
h 31 President Johnson announces he
"of seek 'i'relertitio
I April Bern‘s tr.insler'eil to .in intelligence
renter after being wounded in a mortar attack on
'i ~llrlSt‘ in Goa l'lir‘ili lle would work as a tensor
il'nl analyst for the res'. ol his time in Vietnam
Nov. 5 Republican Richard NIXlli" narrowly def
‘r .i‘ lieniiii rat lliilier‘ ll irnphrev tor the presi-


495,000 American combat troops
in Vietnam, 16,592 declared dead in 1968


I January Berres leaves Vietnam after his one-
yeal tillir

Jan. 25 Paris peace talks open With the U S,
South Vietnam, North Vietnam and the Viet Cong

March \/iF?T"rW‘ otteran l‘llll‘i Ridenhour sends
ii-ttrirs detaiono too My lai massacre to law
"takers in rm tary ’lllrl iii..s, resulting in an
Ar't‘v vt“iTlllrlTiTlT“ 'if for itciderit

March 18 The U 5 Air Forte be ns Operation
Menu the stirriit lilllT‘l‘i‘l‘ill of Cambodia meant
‘r di-stroy N-irth Vietnamese supply sites
April I) ll S troop levels peak at 543,400
May 10—20 Fii'ty six soldiers the during a 10.
try battle at "Hamburger Hill" near Hue, and
the troops are told to abandon the hill soon af-
ter, allowing the North Vietnamese to retake it
News of the battle creates uproar in the U 8
July 8 Fight hundred men from the 9th Infantry
DiVisinn are sent home as part of the first U S
troop Withdrawal The 14 stage Withdrawal is
scheduled to last through November 1972

Sept. 2 North Vietnam President Ho Chi Minh
dies of a heart attack at age 79 and is succeed-
ed by le Oiian

Nov. 16 U S Army publicly discusses the My Lai
massacre for the. first time

Doc. 1 The first draft lottery since World War ll
is held in New York

380,000 American combat troops
in Vietnam, 11,616 declared dead in 1%9

1 A

Ashamed of his country

Picturcs of suffcring from dccadcs
bclorc hung on thc walls. and Bcrrcs
follow cd l11\ students. cut'ctully walk-
ing tip to ckhibits at tlic Amcricun War
Rcmnunts Muscum in Ho ( 11 Mirth
('ity thc formcr Saigon.

()nc photo showcd an Amcrrciin
soltlicr picking up the rcitiains of what
was a young \"ictnanicsc nothing but a
bundlc ot rippcd flcsh and torn cloth-
ing. An M»l(i prcsscd Ligtunst thc tcm-
plc of an cldcrly Victnumcsc woman
sill in anothcr fruinc. An cxhibit dcdi-
cutcd to America‘s usc of Agcnt ()r-
:ingc hcld Jars of dctormcd l'ctuscs
miscarriages. killcd by tlic poison bc-
forc thcy hud takcn thcir first brcnth.

Thc talkative l'iK students. usually
laughing and rcaching for till thc for-
cignncss surrounding thcm. wcrc quict
lciiy ing tlic muscum. Bcrrcs sat on con»
cr'ctc \tcps. looking down as he lid l *d
with his camera strap. waiting for thcir
di'i\ct‘ to pick thcm tip.

()ncc in tlic \illl. hc slumped in thc
bcnch scat. staring straight ahcad. rc~
spontllllg to qucstions with simplc.
onc-w ord answers.

“You wondcr what all the Euro»
pcans think in thcrc." hc said. looking
away from the \an window. "You alv
most don‘t want to \;l_\ anything. You
don‘t want to bc r'ccog
m/cd its .in .r\mcrican."

militar '. At thc cnd of a Ill-hour day.
Bcrrcs and othcr Army ccnsors would
throw the bags of anything "compro
mising" to the American war cffort -~

a truthful account of the war into an
incinerator. They wotild stand until
cuch scrap of paper w as bttrncd to ash
bctorc rctiring tor tlic day or tcturnrng
to a locked. guardcd rootn to ccnsor
more reports.

Aftcr thrcc months in Vietnam.
Bcrrcs w as woundcd in a mortar ttl-
tuck. ’l'hc blast thrcw him mot'c than Ill
1ch and torc his sciatic ncr\ c. Hc w as
transferred to u dcsk rob in an rntcllr-
gcncc ccntcr and dccidcd hc could li\c
with thc pain of his iniury. Altcr 1i vio-
lcnt allcrgic rcitction to pain mcdica—
tio . Bcrrcs rcsortcd to gctting drtrnk
when he could to full uslccp for his re,
maining seven months in thc country.
thn hc didn‘t drink. hc would bitc
down on a stick of bamboo at night to
hclp deal with shooting pains.

Hc spent his first month bchtnd a
desk reading. burning and censoring
rcports. He had sccit thc violcncc of thc
ficld biit ncvcr kncw it w as so sy stcm-
zitic and widcsprctid across an entire

"Being ruiscd. bcing told in fact.
that thc diffcrcncc bctwccn commit-
nists and frcc countries is that commu—
nists write their own history. tcll thc

,. . . .- pcoplc what they want. hidc
thc truth w‘hcn thcy‘ want to

. V _ II
Thu was thc trullt Ul YOU almost hide it and manipulate pco—

thc war Bcrrcs wishcd

morc .'\|]1L‘I'IL‘2111\ kncw. donlt want to say

plcN minds and hearts that
way to find out that we

'l‘hc upwards of l million anything. YOU d thc cxact same thing was

Victnamcsc dcaitl. (‘iyrlr

very disconcerting. \‘cry dis~

'1‘" lls'illlb CNs'lN‘sl l‘k‘r don't want T0 be illusioning." Berres said.

catisc thcy bccamc so

‘ “What wr“ntzivc if
commonfl‘hc young boy TECOgnlled aian I “ E (

at an old buttlc sitc lcan- American.

ing almost .hori/ontally

truth was destroyed. I would
have no idea at all. But none
the less that's the official

“” 1‘ ““an l‘ll‘hlntl PETER BERRES history. and it‘s not any-

liimscll with frail. twisted
lcgs . Agcnt ()rangc's
lasting lcgacy'. Tintirc vil-
liigcs lcvclcd by tons of bombs. Bill-
boards ncxt to busy highwz 's wanting
children not to pick up anything mctal
found in thc ground because it could be
an uncx'plodcd mrnc or bomb.
Victnamcsc casualties from thc
American War continuc to this day: Thc
US. dropped 8 million tons of bombs
during the war four times as much as
used in World War 11 »— and sprayed an
estimated 1‘) million gallons of A ‘nt
Orange. A 2005 release by the \Tict-
namcsc Ministry of Foreign Affairs esti-
mated that 4.8 million people are vic—
tims of Agent Orange. The American
govcmmcnt has never made any at-
tempt to compensate or help Vietnam
with the clusters of death left behind.
So many people are ignorant of
America‘s destructive history. Berres
said. So much tnith was overlooked or
covered up. and like the land and peo»
plc of Vietnam itself. much of it was

Putting truth in tho incinerator

Garbage bags. Three or four stuffed
with reports of rape. murder or illegal
bombing runs committed by the US

UK ”TSTTUCTT” whcrc close to being the
’ truth." he said.

The patriotic young son
of a lieutenant coloncl had changed his
mind about his country‘s war.

After his month as a censor. Berres
was assigned to collect war statistics
for the Paris Peace Talks. His injury
was now a godsend. and in his mind he
was working to end the war.

”I kind of convinced mysclf that 1
could stay here and I could do good.
positive things with my time and effort
and I might even contribute to cnd-
ing the war by actually being hcrc."
Berres said.

“1 look back now. and it was all

Bcrrcs can't imagine the data be
compiled played a role in the peace
talks -— especially when so much truth
ended as piles of ash in the incinerator.
But the work did get him through the
last leg of his tour. and he came home

He returned unsure of who he was
and hating his country. With no intent
to follow through. Berres used to spend
time fantasizing about shooting then-
Prcsident Richard Nixon in the head.

Once home. Berres tried to re-es-
tablish what was true in his world. For
five months he rarely left the attic of

Above: Peter Berres talks to members of a Hmong tribe, an ethnic minority in the nortfa".
ern mountainsunear Sapa, Vietnam ‘ ‘
Top: Berres and his students stand on Cua _ ,
the sun to rise The group got up before dawn to experience the time of day American 72;;
troops landed at My lai the morning soldiers killed more than 500 civilians there They:

visited the village later that day.

Dai Beach near H0i An, Vietnam, waiting for:


Above: Peter
Berres writes
while relaxing
on a iunk ~ 7 a
large wooden
boat . croisirig
Ha long Bay

loft: UK student
Neil Esser takes
a picture of a
display at the
Cu Chi tunnels
south of Saigon,
Vietnam The
display demon;
strates traps
made by the
Viet Cong that
were hidden in
the tungle, and
the backdrop
shows drawmgs
of American sol
diers who have
come across

Loft: Nguyen Tuan Huy,
the group's guide in Can
tral Vietnam, translates
part 01 a tombstone in
Trung Son Cemetery, the
largest one in Vietnam

Bolow: A woman sits
on a busy street in Hanoi,

his father‘s housc. His father. who in
Vietnam served as a battalion commun-
dcr in an armored division. was sta—
tioncd at Fort Knox after his tour.
When Bcrrcs came downstairs. he
would usually fight with his dad about
the war. Out on the basc. soldicrs ha—
rassed him and called him a hippie bc~
causc of his long hair and bcard. which
had been growing since he left the
Army. So Bcrrcs stayed in thc attic. lis-
tcning to music. smoking pot and read—
ing most anything he could get his
hands on: philosophy. American and
Vietnamese histories. and Kurt Voti—
ncgut novels.

"I didn't bclicvc anything I had
been taught at that point." Berres said.
“You have this belief system. and all
thc sudden the belief system crumbles
in front of the reality that is totally dif-

After his father marchcd into the at—
tic one day and told Berres hc couldn't
stay there forcvcr. hc was givcn thc
choicc of a job or school. Bcrrcs wound
up studying political scicncc at UK.

As one of thc fcw vctcruns on cam»
pus. Bcrrcs often found UK a lonely
placc. Few students wcrc informcd
about Vietnam. and cvcn fcwcr had at
background like Bcrrcs‘. He fell in
with .somc other vctcrztns. discusscd the
war with thcm and participated in sonic
vctcrans for pcacc cvcnts. btit ovcritll
was disappointcd by the lack of :iwurc—
ncss on campus.

But modern aw arcncs‘s about lrziq
is much worsc. Berres said.

"Thc number of people that were
intcrcstcd in the Vietnam War at UK
was minimal but I ccrtztinly rcmcm-
her more discussion in classwork and
classes and just gcncrally around carn-
pus about the war thcn than you hcnr

“You damn well bcttcr bc paying
attention unless they want to sacrificc
their kids and their grandkids for no

This was one of the reasons Bcrrcs
wanted to touch his class. Soon aftcr the
invasion of lraq. pcoplc drcw piirollcls
bctwccn the two wars. But Bcrrcs fclt
few understood how much of Iraq bcgan
with ignoring the lessons from Vietnam.

For the United States. time could
not pass fast enough aftcr its withdraw »
al from Vietnam. Questions that lin-
gcrcd ovcr Vietnam and war in gcncrnl

what constitutes a moral war. what
should be done when soldiers don‘t
agree Wllh a war they ”re lighting. how
should America use its power in the
world. when is a war preemptive
w'cnt unanswered. liven Berres found
himself caught in thc nish to return to
nonnal life and peace.

"1 was very more at the time that
thcs'c are lessons that nccd to bc (li\-
cusscd." Berres said. “We need to ana-
ly/c what happened. why' it happened.
and we need to prepare ourselves for
future decisions. But there weren‘t
enough other people who felt that way
l was trying to move on."

But finding a peaceful lift: can't
heal all war wounds. particularly the
mental scars.

Continued on page A8


PAGEAS | Friday, April 25, 2008


May 4 At Kent State University in Ohio. Nation-
al Guardsmen shoot and kill four students
protesting the Vietnam War and wound nine oth-
ers More than 400 colleges across America shut
down in response to the killings,

May 6 At UK, hundreds of students protesting
the Kent State UniverSity shootings force their
way into a Board of Trustees meeting before
marching around campus and the community
Later that night the students face off with law
enforcement. The Air Force ROTC building burns
down during the demonstration, but the cause is
never determined.

I August Berres is officially honorably dis-
charged from the Army,

I August to Docombor Berres stays with his
father in Fort Knox, spending most of his time
reading in the attic, educating himself after Viet-
nam challenged his worldview.

Nov. 12 The military trial concerning Lt. William
Calley's role in the My Lai massacre begins.

280,000 American combat troops
in Vietnam, 6,081 declared dead in 1970


I January Berres starts geing to school at Eliza-
bethtown Community College.

March 29 Lt. William Calley is found guilty of
the murder of 22 My Lai civilians, but his life
sentence is later reduced to 10 years. Sixteen
military personnel were charged after the My Lai
massacre, but only five were actually court-mar-
tialed, and only Calley was ever found guilty.

April 30 The last US. Marine combat units
leave Vietnam.

I August Berres enrolls at UK.

156,800 American combat troops
in Vietnam, 2,357 declared dead in 1971


March to October North Vietnamese launch
the Eastertide Offensive as 200,000 soldiers
wage an all-out attempt to conquer South Viet-
nam. The offensive is a tremendous gamble but
is attempted because retaliation seems unlikely
given the US. troop withdrawal and the strength
of the anti-war movement in America.

Aug. 23 The last US. combat troops depart

Nov. 30 U S. troop withdrawal from Vietnam IS
completed, although 16,000 Army advisers and
administrators remain to assist South Vietnam's

Doc. 18 The so-called "Christmas bombings,” or
Operation Linebacker ll, begin. American politi-
cians, the media and various world leaders de-
nounce the 11—day bombing campaign of Hanoi.

No American combat troops
in Vietnam, 641 declared dead in 1972


January The Paris Peace Accords are signed by
the U 8., North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the
Viet Cong

The U S agrees to immediately halt all military
activrties and Withdraw all remaining troops
within 60 days

The North Vietnamese agree to an immediate
cease-fire and the release of all American POWs
within 60 days

An estimated 150,000 North Vietnamese soldiers
already in South Vietnam are allowed to remain

Vietnam is still divrded, South Vietnam is conSid-
ered to be one country with two governments
pending future reconciliation

Jan. 27 it Col William B Noide is the last
American soldier to die in combat in Vietnam

Jan 27 Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird an
no ices the end of the draft

March 29 The last remaining U S troops wrth~
draw from Vietnam It marks the end of Amen
ca's longest war and first defeat About 2 T
lion Americans served in Vietnam over 15 v.

No American combat troops
in Vietnam, 168 declared dead in 1973


Aug. 9 President Nixon reSIgns as a result of
the Watergate scandal Gerald Ford is sworn in
as the 38th U S Presrdent

Nov. 19 William Calley is freed after servrng
3 1/2 years under house arrest for the murder of
22 My Lai Civilians

No American combat troops
in Vietnam, 178 declared dead in 1974


April 23 President Ford declares in a speech
that the conflict in Vietnam is "a war that is fin
ished as far as America is concerned " On the
same day, 100000 North Vietnamese soldiers
advance on Saigon, which is now overflowmq
With refugees

April 29 Two U S Marines die when the North
Vietnamese shells Tan Son Nhut air base in
Saigon South Vietnamese rivdians begin looting
the air base, and PreSident Ford orders Operation
Frequent Wind, the helicopter evacuation of 7,000
Americans and South Vietnamese from the CW

As helicopters start to fill the three U S aircraft
carriers off the coast of Vietnam, many of the
aircraft are pushed overboard to make room for
more to land Footage of the choppers being sac
riliced has become iconic of the wars end

April I!) The. US presence in Vietnam oftecially
ends at 8 35 a m when the last Americans , 10
Marines from the embassy 4- leave Saigon