As I wrote Vietnam Combat: Firefights and Writing History I had hoped the experience would help me put many of the horrific experiences behind me. I thought that by writing the stories in detail would be a catharsis and, finally, after 55 years, I would be able to close the chapter on my Vietnam tour. Well, it didn’t work. In fact, just the opposite happened. As I wrote, all the events I had hoped to forget came rushing back into cinematic view as my mind recalled them. I started having dreams again and some of those videos played over and over again in my mind. So, writing about my year in hell didn’t help, but talking about it has.
I have been fortunate to have been a guest on more than 25 podcasts in the past year and it seems that as I answered the host’s questions about my time with the 1st Cavalry Division, the edges of those horrific stories got softer and the videos, thankfully, started to fade.
Perhaps it was the retelling of stories that allowed me to make the experience more educational and informative and less of a war story. All I know is that I became more comfortable in talking about my Vietnam experience and talking about the more unusual events that I describe in my book. Many vets have told me that talking about their tours to friends and other vets have helped them come to terms with horrific events they experienced. These vets have said: it’s good to get the stories out in the open and out of those locked trunks in the backs of our minds.
I’m sure that you don’t want to listen to all 25 of my podcasts, but there are two that stand out because of the skill and perceptivity of the hosts in digging beyond the surface. Although all my podcasts feature their own unique perspectives and focus, here is what might be considered the Best of the Best in 2023:
Echoes of the Vietnam War: Humping the Boonies. Robin talks about the realities of the Vietnam War with host Michael Croan. Michael works for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and his podcast has reached more than 200,000 subscribers. He focuses on bringing out the human side buried stories of the Vietnam war from a wide variety of perspectives and different voices. He’s one of the best military podcasters in the market.
2Tough2Fail. Robin talks about the challenges of his Vietnam wartime service with host Tavi Fulkerson. Tavi is a perceptive, empathetic, and skilled interviewer. She knows how to dig deep and bring forth the color in a story as well as examine its pain and heartbreak.
If you’d like to listen to more podcasts, you can find a full listing here.