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Vietnam vet shares war experiences with Liberty Warriors

  • Published
  • By Jill Fuson
  • 48 FW Public Affairs
The Vietnam War, the longest war in U.S. history, stretched from 1957 to 1975. The war claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American men and women and wounded nearly 365,000.

One of the Airmen who served in Vietnam shared his trials and tribulations of his war experience with Lakenheath Airmen Dec. 4.

"Young people today need to know the story of the Vietnam War," said retired Lt. Col. Barry Bridger.

When asked what his motivation was in traveling the world to share his story he said, "It is a story that is part of our history which not only reveals the tragedies of war, but also the true sense of camaraderie, leadership and teamwork. We need to keep this history in the forefront and not just in history books. It allows our young people to reflect on the war and comprehend underlying lessons which will assist them in their everyday life and pass on to future generations."

Through a video presentation and slide presentation, Colonel Bridger gave a powerful account of the Vietnam war and the many atrocities he and his fellow comrades experienced during his six years as a prisoner of war at the Hanoi Hilton. At the close of his presentation, he shared a video of his homecoming in his small hometown, with a population of less than 500. More than 8,000 people were in attendance to welcome him home and present him the key to the town.

Before ending his presentation, Colonel Bridger shared his formula for success with the members of the audience, "You can persist when you are knocked down, or you can walk away. It is your choice. I continually choose to persist."

He encouraged Airmen become inspirational leaders, sharing his story, and their own, of brotherhood, perseverance and love of country.