INMAN, S.C. (WSPA) – Many refer to the Vietnam war as a divisive time for the United States.
Army veteran Glenn Chapman said he was deployed by force, not by choice.
“I was a draftee and I was told it if I didn’t go, I’d go to prison,” Chapman said. “So I had two choices. I didn’t want to go to prison, but I didn’t want to go to Vietnam, either.”
From Thanksgiving of 1968 to New Year’s in 1970, Chapman was on the front lines.
He served as a forward observer specialist and called in artillery and ammunition for an infantry company.
“At times, we would receive enemy fire from a village. My job was to protect the guys I was with,” Chapman explained. “My main concern was protecting U.S. lives.”
Which made his job a hard one to compartmentalize.
“If we received gunfire from a small village, if I had to destroy that village with airstrikes or with artillery, I didn’t really think about whether there were women or children there,” Chapman added. “I thought about the lives of the people that I was with.”
He said he was forced to have a kill or be killed mentality, adding it was hard to do when the soldiers were so young with such little training.
“When you go into battle, and you’re looking down the barrel of a gun, and you’ve got to pull the trigger or die, there’s a certain mentality, it goes with it, and some people can’t do it,” Chapman explained. “If you didn’t do that, more than likely, you didn’t come home, except in a box.”
But it wasn’t the war Chapman said was the worst part.
It was the emotional trauma he suffered after the fact, for a war Chapman said he never signed up to be a part of.
“It was probably worse than Vietnam,” he told 7NEWS. “Because I came home to Americans who despised me. The only people that really like me when I got home I think were my mom and daddy.”
Which became a longtime battle for Chapman and for many other Vietnam veterans.
“Everything you want to do you had to fight for it because you were a Vietnam veteran, and you were labeled a killer,” said Chapman.
He said it still affects him to this day.
“Every day when I go out, sometimes I have an episode where I think about, I see, suddenly it reminds me of something that happened in Vietnam and my flashbacks come to me and is something that you can’t get away from,” explained Chapman.
Now dealing with things like diabetes, prostate cancer and more that Chapman said is a result of agent orange he got from the war.
“I’m a totally disabled veteran on account of PTSD, so that means I can’t function in society properly,” Chapman said. “So what how do you deal with that?”
Adding it’s a challenge he faces regularly and is a trial every day.
Chapman told 7NEWS he appreciates those people who thank him, but points out those years of his life were the most difficult he’s lived.
Glenn Chapman, Thank You for Your Service.
If you are a veteran who suffers from PTSD, help is available with just a click of a button. Click here for a link to different resources.