The President’s View – Winter 2015
From September 1969 through March 1970 I served aboard the USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716) in the Gulf of Thailand off the southwest coast of South Vietnam. Our mission was threefold: provide indirect gunfire support for the United States Navy; intercept and inspect junks being sent down to South Vietnam to resupply the Viet Cong; and provide intermediary medical support for wounded soldiers being transported to hospitals via helicopter.
As a 24-year-old gunnery officer, I was doing what I had been trained to do; and although some of it was dangerous, leading and serving alongside my shipmates was an honor and a privilege, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
My generation—many of whom did not volunteer but were drafted—was deeply affected by Vietnam. The conflicts in Southeast Asia took a toll on individuals, families, and our society, and should never be forgotten. As George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
To our alumni who served in Southeast Asia: You performed your job honorably. You did not give up on the mission—you did what you were asked to do.
Since its founding, Norwich University has been a source of men and women who serve our military—leaders who advance the priorities of our government and make the republic better. The Norwich family takes great pride in our graduates who willingly choose the path of military service. They enter into harm’s way to defend the republic and stand strong for democratic principles. Their commitment, sacrifice, and service continue the tradition of the citizen-soldier that began with Captain Alden Partridge.
As your president, I am eternally grateful to all Norwich alumni who have answered the call to serve our country in the name of freedom and democracy. And to all of you who wore the uniform in Vietnam, may I say, “You did us proud. Welcome home!”
Richard W. Schneider
RADM, USCGR (Ret.)