The Navy Gave a Gay Man a Home—And a ‘Bad Paper’ Discharge That Haunted Him for Decades

A Vietnam War Veteran Reflects on 50 Years of Fighting for People Like Himself and The Group He Loved

I was 17 when I joined the Navy in 1965. My family was poor, and I was failing out of high school. Four years in the Navy felt like my only option.

I’d hoped to avoid ground combat by enlisting in the Navy, but within nine months of joining, I found myself in Vietnam.

During those long 13 months at war, the one good thing was the circle of friends I made, first as a hospital corpsman in an aid station in the jungle, and then onboard the hospital ship Repose.

The first …

How the Cold War Fused Exile and American Identity

In California's Orange County, Vietnamese Refugees Rewrote a Tragic Defeat by Finding a Home in the U.S.

Thirty years ago, the small city of Westminster, California, held a grand yet understated indoor ceremony at the Asian Garden Mall to unveil the Little Saigon freeway sign. Governor George …

I Never Dreamed I Would End up Homeless

Isolated, Anxious, and Distrustful, I Fell Out of Sync With Society

In my training to go fight in Vietnam, we lived and breathed these mottos: “Once a Marine, always a Marine” and “Marines never quit.”

Intensive therapy at the Veterans Affairs …

Gaining Ground in the Battle with My Memories of Vietnam

Baseball, Faith, and Helping Others Gave Me Hope and Control Over My Life

In the mid- to late-1980s, I spent a lot of time at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus. I used to watch the sunsets from a sixth floor balcony …

The Town I Loved, the Protestor I Became

My Wonderful 1950s Childhood Inspired Me to Oppose the Vietnam War

If you want a classic portrait of middle Americana in the middle of the 20th century, you had to look no farther than my hometown of Rialto, in inland Southern …

My Uncle’s Years of Living Dangerously

Serving as Translator and Tour Guide for a Veteran Battling Schizophrenia

My 69-year-old uncle Henry gazed into the jaws of the Natural History Museum’s biggest celebrity, Thomas the T. rex, who was frozen in a silent roar.

I asked Henry, “How do …