Terry A. Williamson

Interviewed by Joseph Alejandro and Andrew Linden

Served in Vietnam from 1968-1969

Terry A. Williamson, now residing in the Philadelphia area, served in Viet Nam war from 1968-1969 as a platoon leader with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. During his time in Viet Nam, Mr. Williamson earned a Bronze Star (V) medal for this actions serving in the Quang Nam Province of the coutry. Since returning from Viet Nam, he has remained very active in the veterans community, and currently serves as the president of the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, overseeing the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Reflections on the interview from Andrew Linden:

It was a great experience overall. Going into the interview I was extremely nervous as I had never interviewed anyone properly before let alone someone like Terry who was a longtime successful reporter and former Marine. However, there was nothing to be worried about. We had plenty of questions to go through which seemed to be very helpful to the discussion. Even better, we were able to improvise our own questions which made the interview feel more like a dialogue. There were several times when Terry said something that was very interesting to me and I would try to go into this topic more deeply. After we went through our questions, we asked if Terry had any memorabilia and he showed us various artifacts including his boots from Vietnam, combat helmet, and a Chinese grenade (disarmed thankfully) all of which was extremely interesting.

Then disaster struck, as we were leaving I remember telling Joseph how I had this irrational fear that we had recorded nothing. It turned out to not to be so irrational because that is what happened. I was devastated. It was my fault in the end since I had only pressed the record button once despite previously testing it successfully.

Reflections from Joesph Alejandro:

The interview project has been in many ways a learning experience for me. I had been familiar with the Vietnam War and some of the stories of those who has been a part of it, considering that my father had been drafted into the army, but hearing about the experiences of another person in the intimate space that the interview offered was certainly eye-opening. The stories that Mr. Terry Williamson, the man that my partner and I had been assigned to work with, were quite frankly amazing. His role as Marine platoon commander during the war was fascinating to hear about, as well as his experience returning home from the war and reintegrating back into civilian life.            

Having never really spoken to my father much about his experience during the war, speaking with Mr. Williamson was a great way for to learn about the individual experiences of U.S. soldiers in Vietnam. I believe the experience has granted me the confidence to speak to my father about his own personal experiences, and his willingness to participate in the interview project itself leads me to believe that such a conversation would be fruitful.

Full research and reflection papers: