Segment 5


In Vietnam, Barfoot found the news different from the perspective he got from it in the United States. He saw and heard the actions of college students towards the people going to Vietnam. He got a different perspective when he got there. He anticipated it would have been entirely different from World War II when the whole nation was behind you and troops were willing to do anything to get the job done. People were nervous and young replacement troops were very nervous. People that had been there fighting had a rotation time and were anxious to do their time and come home. But, the troops over there did a wonderful job even though there were difficult situations. The American soldiers fought the war as if everything was all right back home. Barfoot feels that the American soldier tried to forget about what was going on in the US and fight the war. But, it was an entirely different situation. Barfoot states that it would be like playing professional football with teams fighting from all over the country to win the game, where in Vietnam you have teams that are from certain parts of the country that don't have full backing of their supporting area.In his analogy, no matter where you were from, everybody was pulling for you. Barfoot feels the same thing as Vietnam is going on in Iraq.Barfoot flew most of his combat missions in the "delta" and in the highlands and around Saigon and Bien Hoa. When flying these missions one had to be very alert and know thier area. You'd seek a target and deliver your ammunition. It wasn't a difficult situation, but you didn't want to hang around and let the enemy fire on you. BarfootÂ’s missions involved firing at ground targets instead of air-to-air. He flew a helicopter gunship. He flew all over the country and flew other types of aircraft on other types of missions. His job was primarily administrative, though. Barfoot became an aviator when he was 40 years old because he felt he needed to get into a position where he could help the Army. They needed close air support and the only way they could get it was when they took the Air Force out of the Army and made it a force to protect all the troops and get air superiority. The only way they could get it after they took the Air Force out of the Army, was to enable the Army to get flying capability for ground support.Barfoot retired from the Army in September of 1974 at the rank of Colonel. He was wounded three times in World War II. Once he was shot in the hand and leg. The next he got a couple of wounds in his side and his leg. He got a Purple Heart too for getting his helmet and his head shot. He received one wound in France and two in Italy.Barfoot feels that it is important for people to study history, no matter what war or subject matter it is so that we can know what we have gone through in the past and see the problems they had then. Technology has changed the techniques, but from a human point, we have to do what we can to stay alive and be successful. He feels studying the Civil War, World War I, and the actions between those wars is an important thing. People didn't have the same weapons, but they have the same responsibilities. How they handled a situation may be somewhat related to modern or future topics. Barfoot feels the human factor and how people stood up to the challenges is important. He reads history and likes it a lot. He feels there are some good examples in history that could be applied to situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He feels it is good to have discipline and cohesiveness within units. He feels there are people put in positions where they might do something they might not normally do.Barfoot has nothing against any man and woman fighting the war. He feels that they are doing a marvelous job and are doing the best that they can under the circumstances. He feels completely disturbed by accusations some people are making about others and the pressure that troops are under. He feels that if you haven't been there and haven't served and don't know the situation, the best you can do is to not talk about it. He hopes in history, and says on the History Channel, that we'll have confidence in the people we send to do the job and continue to do so until the job is done. Then, we can critique it after it is finished. He notes that you don't critique a football game or basketball game before it is finished, you wait until it is finished and try to see what you can do better.


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