5:11 | Having learned the Thai language and mastered radio school, Allen Robinson deployed to Vietnam where he was stationed on an intelligence ship, monitoring and transcribing broadcasts. When he was ashore, the Thai people were delighted to find a Westerner who could speak their language.
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His dad told him to join the Navy if he wanted be in the military because he'd always have a dry bed and a warm meal. That sounded better to Allen Robinson than slogging through the jungle, so with the draft looming, he enlisted and put his foreign language skills to work.
One of the first things you learn when serving on a ship is the terminology. Everything has a new name. Allen Robinson recalls those days, and also the beautiful Pacific sunsets and a miserable Pacific typhoon.
They left on charters and returned individually, alone or in small groups on commercial flights. Only Mom and Dad were there to provide a homecoming. That's how Vietnam veterans like Allen Robinson went to war and returned.
Allen Robinson reflects on the divisions in the country and the unpopularity of the Vietnam War. He is grateful that the incivility he felt as a returning veteran has turned to respect. And he feels blessed to have his health when so many from that war were affected by Agent Orange.