Bridging the Warrior Generation Gap: Vietnam Veteran shares experiences with 'Blacksmith'
May 14, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - A company of Soldiers listened as the man in the front of the room shared stories and experiences from his era with them.
The stories were about war and life after in the 1960s and 70s.
Michael Gallaway, a Vietnam War veteran, spoke to Soldiers with Medical Co. C, 215th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, about his experiences during and after the war, May 9.
His stories included times when he was on patrol as a K-9 security policeman with the Air Force's 483rd Combat Support Group, as well as his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder after he returned home from Vietnam, and the effects it had on his wife and family.
"I'm hoping that... the guys and the ladies, I was talking to, will find out that there's help out there, and that there's nothing that you have gone through that you can't get help for," said Gallaway.
Gallaway, who is from Weatherford, Texas, said he was originally going to be drafted into the Army, so he joined the Air Force to avoid going to war. He ended up deploying anyway and returned with several stories to tell.
Those stories fell on receptive ears.
"I thought it was interesting to hear the experiences of somebody that had been in (the Vietnam War) and what their life led to long after the war," said Spc. Jacob Trubey, native of Riverside, Calif.
"I think by having a Vietnam veteran come in, it gave (the Soldiers) the opportunity to see what it was like in Vietnam versus what we do today in Iraq," said 1st Sgt. Leonard Donaldson.
Donaldson explained that the combat veteran's personal war recollections lead Soldiers to understand how much more advanced the equipment we have today is in comparison to what they used back in Vietnam.
"Knowing what I know and what I went through, there is no price too small to pay to help just a little," said Gallaway. "These guys out here are making a difference."
"To see what the young men and women of this Army are doing today is just awesome," said Gallaway, who currently works as a ranch manager at Miracle Farms, a ministry devoted to teaching troubled boys the value of hard work.
Even though the Soldiers he spoke with were younger than him, Gallaway said that they share a unique bond.
"You can say what you want to about our age difference, but we are warriors," he said. "To me it was a privilege to share with a younger generation of warriors."