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Vietnam War Veterans Give Presentation at Ladue Horton Watkins High School

Michael+Lavin+and+Nick+Ohlman+give+a+presentation+at+Ladue+Horton+Watkins+High+School+about+their+experiences+fighting+in+the+Vietnam+War.+Lavin+remembered+how+things+were+different+back+then%2C+during+his+time+in+Vietnam.+%E2%80%9COne+of+the+guys+got+hurt%2C%E2%80%9D+Lavin+said.+%E2%80%9CBy+the+time+he+dealt+with+it+and+wrote+back%2C+it+might+be+three+weeks+before+the+girl+or+the+family+back+home+got+the+information.%22+Photo+by+Katie+Shaw.
Michael Lavin and Nick Ohlman give a presentation at Ladue Horton Watkins High School about their experiences fighting in the Vietnam War. Lavin remembered how things were different back then, during his time in Vietnam. “One of the guys got hurt,” Lavin said. “By the time he dealt with it and wrote back, it might be three weeks before the girl or the family back home got the information.

Michael Lavin and Nick Ohlman give a presentation at Ladue Horton Watkins High School about their experiences fighting in the Vietnam War. Lavin remembered how things were different back then, during his time in Vietnam. “One of the guys got hurt,” Lavin said. “By the time he dealt with it and wrote back, it might be three weeks before the girl or the family back home got the information." Photo by Katie Shaw.

Michael Lavin and Nick Ohlman give a presentation at Ladue Horton Watkins High School about their experiences fighting in the Vietnam War. Lavin remembered how things were different back then, during his time in Vietnam. “One of the guys got hurt,” Lavin said. “By the time he dealt with it and wrote back, it might be three weeks before the girl or the family back home got the information." Photo by Katie Shaw.

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On April 16, 2018, Michael Lavin and Nick Ohlman gave a presentation about their experiences in the Vietnam War. The presentation was a mix of their personal experiences and a pre-written script, read aloud by Ladue Horton Watkins High School students themselves.

 

When Lavin and Ohlman arrived in Vietman, they were barely in their twenties — not much older than high school students. The soldiers were randomly sorted into groups to work in.

 

“Our group was pretty ragtag, and that was very normal,” Lavin said. “Our hair was long, we did what we wanted with our uniform and [we] wore various hats.”

 

Such conditions were considered to be normal for the soldiers in Vietnam. In fact, many of them experienced things far worse. To this day, such details are engrained in Ohlman’s memory.

 

“The thing is [that] when you remember the things you carry, you remember how much they weigh,” Ohlman said. “We all had helmets on, we all had suits on, we had boots on. Everybody wore a helmet; everybody carried a weapon too.”

 

Ohlman’s speech was then interrupted by an interlude from the scipted portion of the presentation. However, as he began talking again, he continued to describe how the soldiers were forced to live.

 

“We went from one spot to another, carrying everything we had,” Ohlman said. “Because we weren’t in cities [and] we weren’t in towns, we didn’t have tents to sleep in. We were literally put out on fields.”

 

Near the end of the presentation, Lavin commented on how different communication was during the war about 50 years ago and how it is today. Overall, he ended up learning a valuable skill from the war as well.

 

“When we needed to communicate home, we didn’t have a 262 gigabyte phone, we had to write what’s called a letter,” Lavin said. “[But letters took such a long time], so if we had problems in the field, we had to deal with them. The problems we had in our own group had to be resolved by our own means.”

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Vietnam War Veterans Give Presentation at Ladue Horton Watkins High School