The War in Vietnam: 50 Years Later

Amit Shah
5 min readAug 28, 2017

The following introduction was developed by Amit Shah, Managing Director of Green Comma, as a prologue to the chronological middle and high school text by Tom Barber. Tom is a veteran in education publishing and has been the publisher and editorial director for social studies at the nation’s leading US textbook publishing companies.

The material is being offered, free, as a teaching and discussion resource in middle, high school, and freshman college classrooms. WE REQUEST THAT CREDIT IS CITED FOR ANY REUSE.

All opinions are the writers‘ own.


This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, and although their new works must also acknowledge you and be non-commercial, they don’t have to license their derivative works on the same terms.



In August 1967, Guy Ulinskas, age 23, was drafted by the US Army but elected to join the air force to stall or avoid going to Vietnam. The irony! He became one of the nine-plus million who served in Vietnam between 1964–1975. Guy was one of the 648, 500 draftees during that war. The escalation of the war in 1967 was pivotal. From 1967 to 1975, the war, fought by people like Guy, in their twenties, ground on. 58, 307 (the 2015 number at the Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC of all who died during and from injuries and illnesses attributed to the war) never made it back.

Guy Ulinskas, Binh Thuy, Vietnam, 1969–70. “Please note the spoon in my pocket for Spam or pineapple.”

2017 is the 50th anniversary. A few generations have grown up since then. The details of the war are receding in public memory. For Guy and the millions who served, it’s fresh and immediate. All wars are fought by young men (and now women) and commanded by old men (and now women). We are supposed to learn from history but…



Amit Shah

Fearless reader, fearful writer, optimistic traveler