Operation Homecoming Research Paper

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The Vietnam War started on November 1, 1955 and lasted until April 30, 1975. North Vietnam fell to communism and the fear of South Vietnam being taken over by communism spread throughout the United States. During 1965, the United States took military action in Vietnam to protect South Vietnam from the North. Similar to previous wars, Americans were captured by the enemy and taken as prisoners of war. Prisoners of war in Vietnam remained a mystery for the Americans at home; the people had no idea what they were going through. It was until the war was over that the world learned of their experiences in the camps (Lipsman, Doyle). American soldiers that were held as prisoners of war were cruelly treated, unaccounted for, and suffered greatly…show more content…
Operation Homecoming was the procedure used to identify the groups of prisoners coming back home. The Paris peace agreement was signed and on February 12, 1973 was the first release scheduled for the POWs. It consisted of 115 men listed by Hanoi and an additional 27 listed by the Vietcong. The second release took place on March 4 and the third and fourth releases were on March 28 and 29, by then 591 American POWs were finally home. Although there were sometimes complications with the releases, America welcomed their own personal hero home. However, even with the returning men, there were still over 1,300 families of men missing in action. The release of the final prisoners was another blow to their hopes of ever seeing their loved ones again (Morrocco, Lipsman 76). In 1974 when President Nixon announced “that all our troops have returned from Southeast Asia-and they have returned with honor,” several wives of MIAs circled the White House bearing the message “ALL POWs ARE NOT HOME” (Doyle 137). By January 1985, only one U.S. serviceman was still officially classified MIA, all the other ones have been classified as KIA (killed in action). However, the condition of 2,300 MIAs still remained unknown. Several Vietnamese refugees testified that “the remains of 400 Americans were being stored in Hanoi warehouses.” Rumors and reported sightings of MIAs in…show more content…
PTSD is defined as “re-experiencing the trauma by intensive recollections, recurring dreams, or suddenly feeling or acting as if the traumatic event were reoccurring; emotional numbing or withdrawal from the real world; or hyperalertness, sleep disturbance, and survivor guilt” (Doyle 137). In 1980, it was estimated that 700,000 Vietnam veterans suffered from PTSD. Also in 1980, The American Psychiatric Association officially recognized PTSD as a legitimate and separate category as stress disorder and by 1985, awarded 10,000 veterans disability payments for it (137). The recognition of the disease made the war veterans’ lives slightly easier. Another challenged that they faced was the cultural changes that had taken place in the United States while they were gone. They returned to a society that they described as promiscuous, unrestrained, and divided as well as the feminist movement. By June, approximately fifty POWs and their wives were in the process of getting a divorce. The Department of Defense offered the former POWs and their families’ follow-up counseling for a five-year period. The Vietnam veterans were again learning to adapt in the new society and face their challenges with help (Lipsman 77,

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