Bill Laumann ’66 Posted on April 10th, 2018 by

Bill writes, “I am the Communications Chair for the class of 66 and received this communications from classmate Les Kroeger, a Vietnam veteran. I thought it was a very unique and moving experience and something Gustavus Alumni would like to read,. so I’m, sending it your way in case you are interested for publishing in a future Quarterly..“My wife Bonnie (Calhoun, class of 68) and I like to travel and recently made our 3rd trip to Vietnam, this time visiting the Hanoi region in what was once called North Vietnam. The previous 2 trips were to Central/ South Vietnam, plus I got an additional free trip in 67-68! On this trip we were able to do some biking enabling us to interact with the local population. While biking through a village, we visited a home owned by an older Vietnamese couple. In discussion, through our guide as a translator, we discovered that the host and I both served in the military during what he termed as the ‘American war.’ He was an infantry officer for the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) at the same time I was a US Marine Corps Officer. Not only that, but we discovered we had been fighting this war in the same area-of-operation, south of Danang (An Hoa, Thong Duc, Dia Loc, Go Noi Island) during Tet 1968. Upon that realization we spent a long time just looking at each other with an unstated understanding of what each experienced as front liners during Tet 68. Tears formed because we knew 50 years ago to the day, we were “hunting” each other. Now we were sharing a cup of tea with great respect to each other as warriors. Adding to the moment, his wife had served with the Viet Cong local guerrilla force during the war and Bonnie, while serving state-side, had served as a Marine Corps Officer during this same time period. Very surreal moment for all, emotions were high. Unfortunately, time did not allow for lengthy discussions. I still have many questions I would have liked to ask as I’m sure he did also. They invited us to stay for the Feb 14th TET New Year celebrations, which we considered quite an honor, because TET is a major family holiday in Viet Nam. How ironic if we could have accepted because we would have been celebrating TET 2018 under much different conditions. This is a story that you cannot make up.”

If you need to contact Les about anything his email is;

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