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See and Hear Veterans' Stories (Veterans History Project)
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Staff Favorites

A showcase of our most treasured collections selected by VHP staff members. The written descriptions of these veterans’ stories highlight the diversity and dramatic content of our holdings. View additional staff favorites.

Image of James A. SawvellJames A. Sawvell

Go to James A. Sawvell's Collection

James Sawvell enlisted in the Army to get out of going to Vietnam. His recruiter promised him Germany; his orders said Germany. The needs of the Army, however, called him to Vietnam, where he met his new unit, wounded and bloodied after just being ambushed by the North Vietnamese Army. Sawvell took his duties as sergeant head on. Even after partially losing his hearing when he drove his tank over two land mines, he was eager for more action. Sawvell joined an ambush team as a platoon sergeant, going on mission after dangerous mission, many times skirting death. Not once did he lose a soldier under him. And when his tour in Vietnam was up, he tried to extend six months in Saigon but was turned down due to his hearing loss. Sawvell returned to the States, making the tough transition from life in the jungle to having a McDonald’s down the street. He felt the effects of his wartime experiences but he would not let them consume him.

Chosen by Stephanie A. Weaver, Processing Technician. Stephanie received her B.A. degree in History from the University of Dayton and her M.A. degree in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. She came to the Veterans History Project in November 2005.

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  The Library of Congress >> American Folklife Center
  April 3, 2009
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