Interview with Charles Booth, May 20, 1985

Project: American Veterans: Vietnam War Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Charles Booth describes his educational background and his reason for joining the Air Force at age nineteen in January of 1969. He shares about his experience in basic training then attending technical school for missile maintenance at Chanute Air Force Base. He remembers his family's reaction to his being sent to Vietnam, the flight over to Vietnam, and his first impressions. He discusses his assignment to Tan Son Nhut Air Base and nightlife in Saigon. He explains his work producing liquid oxygen. He remembers the morale at Tan Son Nhut, and their reaction to being protected by ARVN (South Vietnamese) troops. Booth discusses his understanding of the war effort while at Tan Son Nhut.

He describes the black market activity in Saigon, military scrip, and the attitude of the South Vietnamese to the American presence. He recalls being afraid to leave the airbase alone, sexual relationships between American servicemen and South Vietnamese women, and the children born through these relationships that he met in Saigon. Booth describes his opinion of his commanding officers, the frequency of rocket attacks at Tan Son Nhut, and the drug abuse and alcoholism among American troops at Tan Son Nhut. He tells about sex work in Saigon.

He recalls writing to his family back home, his reaction to the war protesters back home, and emotions on board the flight home. He remembers having "the shakes" while in Vietnam and at home. He discusses his rebellion against the military after returning stateside and his refusal to attend NCO Training School. He opens up about the difficulty of Vietnam veterans finding employment and his involvement with the Vietnam Veterans of America organization.

Interview Accession

1985oh127_vvk009

Interviewee Name

Charles Booth

Interviewer Name

Terry L. Birdwhistell

Interview Date

1985-05-20

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Booth, Charles Interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. 20 May. 1985. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Booth, C. (1985, May 20). Interview by T. L. Birdwhistell. American Veterans: Vietnam War Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Booth, Charles, interview by Terry L. Birdwhistell. May 20, 1985, American Veterans: Vietnam War Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt79057cv634