What a rewarding experience, to interview a Vietnam veteran and to put their words into a story...their story.
I didn't think it could get better, but you see, I can't just write their words without a lot of research. When they tell me a location or a date I need to locate that section and research the conflicts of that time, the manpower on the ground, the artillary usage, etc. All of this research helps the reader understand what the veteran is saying...as they all tend to say, "If you weren't there, you don't know." So with research I hope to at least supply some background for a better understanding of the stories. So when I submit my final draft for approval to the veteran I have interviewed and they are not only amazed at how well I captured their words but also the detailed historical documentation that supports their stories I am, to say the least, thrilled!
One vet told me that he was just trying to live to the next day, he wasn't aware of what was going on just miles from him or what had let up to the fight he became embroiled in. Nor did he even consider where the intel he was receiving had come from...just go forth and fight.