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From its inception, graduates of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, now Texas A&M University, have marched off to fight in every conflict in which the United States has been involved. The Vietnam War was no different. The Corps of Cadets produced more officers for the conflict in Southeast Asia than any institution other than the US service academies. Michael Lee Lanning, Texas A&M University class of 1968, has now gathered over three dozen recollections from those who served.

As Lanning points out, “anytime Aggie Vietnam veterans get together—whether it is two or two hundred of them—war stories begin.” The tales they relate about the paddies, the jungles, the highlands, the waterways, and the airways provide these veterans with an even greater understanding of the war they survived. They also allow glimpses into the frequent dangers of firefights, the camaraderie of patrol, and often humorous responses to inexplicable situations.

These revelations provide insight not only into the realities of war but also speak to the character of the graduates of Texas A&M University. As Lanning concludes, “these war stories are as much a part of service as is that old green duffle bag, a few rows of colorful ribbons, and a pride that does not diminish. In reality, there is only one story about the Vietnam War. We all just tell it differently.” 

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