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Meet the Maker: Do Viet Dung

Meet the Maker: Do Viet Dung

by Andy DePaule

Originally published in American Lutherie #74, 2003 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Seven, 2015

Christmas eve, 1965. I arrived in Saigon, age eighteen years plus one week. I had joined the Army on my seventeenth birthday after dreaming of it for two years. I felt lucky when the Vietnam War started to get serious, because it was my chance to be a hero. But the rule was that you had to be eighteen years old to go. OK, I was the classic stupid kid.

I ended up doing two tours of duty in Vietnam, by my own choice. I don’t know why, but I loved that place from the first day. That has never changed for me.

I did become disenchanted with what we were doing there. These were the “light at the end of the tunnel” days, and those of us on the ground were already starting to realize that this was the first war we would not win. But even when things were rough, there was no other place I wanted to be.

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