Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans


John Reed | 101st Airborne Division - Army

11:47   |   After running low on men and ammunition during his mission by the river, Reed and his men were in a very bad place. In addition, the VC had just blown up a bridge, and soon after Reed was caught in the explosion of another bomb from a jet. Immediately, he took shelter as best he could, but was still ultimately affected by the blast. He also recalls a time when he rescued one of his own men, named Robinson, from death. Part 2 of 4.

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Videos ( 8 )
  • John Reed  |  Vietnam  |  101st Airborne Division  |  7:08

    In his early years, John Reed had a bit of a difficult time with his family. His brother was very aggressive, but luckily that showed Reed how to stick up for himself at a very young age. His father was also at war while he was growing up, so he had a bit of exposure to the nature of the military before joining himself.

  • John Reed  |  Vietnam  |  101st Airborne Division  |  6:41

    After joining the army, Reed had no idea what was in store for him next. At this point, no one had even heard of Vietnam. Here he remembers what it was like to be part of the first division to be sent there, and tells of many important men he remembers from his unit.

  • John Reed  |  Vietnam  |  101st Airborne Division  |  5:25

    As John Reed documents a mission in which he and his men had to move into new territory along a river in Vietnam, he also remembers a machine gun opening fire on them and one man in particular who almost met death as a result. One person Reed remembers from his unit is a man named Sammy, who was his team's medic. Part 1 of 2.

  • John Reed  |  Vietnam  |  101st Airborne Division  |  9:06

    After witnessing a close call for one of his fellow soldiers, Reed remembers it was Sammy that helped that very same soldier get back on his feet after the injury. He was very close to Sammy growing up, so he was especially impacted seeing him serve in the line of duty. Part 2 of 2.

  • John Reed  |  Vietnam  |  101st Airborne Division  |  7:47

    Upon going into battle, Reed and the rest of the men from his division were told to expect many casualties. Luckily they had been to this very same river spot beforehand and at least knew the terrain somewhat, but were still prompted to write letters to loved ones back home. Part 1 of 4.

  • John Reed  |  Vietnam  |  101st Airborne Division  |  7:32

    After saving him, Reed remembers that Robinson said he would name his son after him if he ever had one. Because of this, he's always looking to see if he's at any of the veteran reunions. He also remembers another casualty he was directly involved in that took place in a grenade pit. Part 3 of 4.

  • John Reed  |  Vietnam  |  101st Airborne Division  |  5:57

    One of the men that Reed was with had a .45 Auto handgun, which was one of the only guns left that had any ammunition in it. Reed remembers that he had to know how to use his gun like it was second nature, and how that helped him in his Viet Cong approach. Part 4 of 4.

  • John Reed  |  Vietnam  |  101st Airborne Division  |  3:36

    To conclude, John Reed gives advice to future generations and to the public regarding the Vietnam war and future wars. He also speaks to present day veterans and soldiers in the military.

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