Questions to Ask a Vietnam Veteran

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A war that many people have heard but do not know much about is the Vietnam War. Over 58,000 Americans and over three million Vietnamese people died during this War. The war took place from 1954 to 1975. Many people believed that it was a war that the United States did not need to go into. 

No matter what you believe, it still happened. And, there are still many questions about it all. The best way to get your question answered is to interview someone involved in the war — a Vietnam veteran. If you are interviewing a veteran, here are some questions you can ask. 

Tips for A Successful Interview

Interviewing anyone can be an intimidating task. You do not want to offend anyone or blow the interview. To keep you calm, cool and collected, we created this quick list of tips for a successful interview. 

Prepare yourself well for the interview

Interviewing anyone can be nerve-racking. But the best way to beat your nerves is to prepare for the interview. You can prepare by watching other interviews of Vietnam veterans to get an idea of questions or topics you should discuss or stay away from. 

You should also research the person you are interviewing before the day of the interview. Learn about their background, find out their military ranking, read any biographies they may have, connect with their relatives or close friends or do anything that will give you more information about them. 

Other ways you can prepare are to dress casually yet appropriately, deep breathing, gathering your supplies ahead of time, sending your interview questions to the interviewee a few days before the meeting or anything else that will help you get in the right mindset. 

Consider the feelings of the person you are interviewing

At the end of the day, you are interviewing a person who went through a hard time in their life, especially when they were young. They saw many people die and experienced things you would never want to experience just to keep our country safe. Whenever you are conducting the interview or preparing the questions, you should always consider the other person’s feelings. You do not want to offend or cause them to have a PTSD moment. 

Relax and remember to smile

You are most likely interviewing a person you just met or barely know. You do not want to come off as rude or intimidated. Instead, you want to give off a confident yet inviting vibe. Therefore, you need to relax and smile. Let your interviewee feel comfortable and ready to dig into their service during the Vietnam War.

Provide a copy of the sample questions to the interviewee ahead of time, if possible

Not every person feels comfortable doing an impromptu interview. Many interviewees like to know what they are getting themselves into before fully committing. And, when you are asking questions about sensitive topics like war, it is always good to provide a copy of sample questions to your interviewee. This way they can let you know if there is anything that may trigger PTSD or other issues. Plus, provided the questions ahead of time allows your guest to think deeply about their answers. 

Courtesy is very important

Anytime you interview any person, courtesy should be a top priority for you. And as a protector of your nation, you should be even more courteous. Do not go into topics or questions that may offend them, and always be respectful. 

Questions to Ask a Vietnam Veteran

There is a load of questions you can ask a Vietnam veteran. Here are some to help guide you on your interview. 

  1. How old were you during most of the Vietnam War era?
  2. What were you doing during this period (school, job, etc.)?
  3. What was your attitude initially regarding American involvement in this military conflict?
  4. What motivated you to join the military?
  5. Tell me a little about your time in boot camp.
  6. What was (is) your primary job after training (MOS)?
  7. Where did you serve the majority of time in service?
  8. What rank are you most proud to have earned, and why?
  9. In what ways (if any) did this military conflict affect your life?
  10. What is your most vivid memory of the Vietnam War?
  11. How did you feel when Saigon fell in April 1975?
  12. Today, what are your feelings about the Vietnam War? About the War on Terror?
  13. In your opinion, what should we teach today’s students about the Vietnam era?

These were just some of the questions you can ask. You should add or change questions that pertain to your interviewee. Finding out your questions plays a huge role when you are prepping for the interview. Therefore, remember to properly research anyone you are talking to. 

By asking these questions and following these tips, you will have a successful interview where you learn many new things. If you want to learn more about different lifestyle topics, subscribe to our blog today.

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