The Minnesota Military Museum is seeking photos, stories and artifacts used and worn by Minnesota veterans in Vietnam, from all branches of the service along with Viet Cong and North and South Vietnamese items.
Curator Doug Bekke said, “the intent of the exhibit will be to tell the story of the war through the artifacts, words and photographs of the Minnesotans who served.” The exhibit will give a brief overview of the history of Vietnam and the rise of Ho Chi Minh. Part of the exhibit will be a time line of significant events in the war. The main body of the exhibit will be a series of short veterans’ stories covering our earliest involvement to our ending involvement, to include General John Vessey’s involvement in the 1980s and 90s on MIA recovery.
The exhibit will include stories of Minnesotans who were involved in Vietnam from the end of World War II when a Minnesota member of an OSS Operational Team parachuted into Hanoi, to the son of a Vietnamese officer who as a 9-year-old was evacuated by helicopter from our embassy in 1975 and now teaches in Minnesota.
“The exhibit will focus on more than just combat and will portray the stories of the mechanics, cooks, clerks, logisticians and other support troops from all branches,” said Bekke. “I need vignettes that represent some aspect of your Vietnam experience. No exhibit will tell the entire Vietnam story, but with your help my goal is that the stories placed together chronologically under the time line, will paint a picture of the Minnesota veteran’s experience in Vietnam.”
Minnesota veterans who have written books or stories about their experience are asked to send a copy with good quality hard copy pictures for the Museum’s library and archives and to highlight the story that best represents their service.
“If you have never told or recorded your experiences this is an opportunity to start the process to preserve a memory of this chapter of your life, good or bad, for the military history of Minnesota and perhaps more importantly for your family,” said Bekke.
Those who have questions or items to donate, are asked to contact Bekke at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (612) 729-7651.
People who have stories or pictures they want to share can also contact Bekke or simply write them up and include their name, hometown (where did, or do they live as a Minnesotan), branch of service, unit, dates of service and contact information. Stories should represent a veteran’s service with dates and location. Too many stories or too much information is OK, but staff may need to edit. All information provided will be preserved in the Museum’s archives and in its veterans data base.
Photos and stories should include a note giving the museum permission to edit and use in the exhibit and be mailed to Military Museum, 15000 Hwy. 115, Little Falls, MN 56345.
The Minnesota Military Museum encourages Minnesota’s Vietnam veterans to become a part of this exhibit.