Feb. 28, 2008
Ralph Swain, a Vietnam veteran, will present “The Vietnam Experience: Sights, Sounds and Smells” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, at Morningside College in the UPS Auditorium in Lincoln Center, 3627 Peters Ave.
The public is invited to the free event, which is sponsored by Morningside’s Academic and Cultural Arts Series (ACAS) and the office of diversity affairs.
“The Vietnam Experience: Sights, Sounds and Smells” is a multimedia presentation produced by Swain. The one-hour production utilizes three screens and takes the viewer from basic training to Vietnam at war and back to the United States during one of the most turbulent eras of the 20th century. Images are from the military, the media and the personal collection of the producer. An open discussion will follow.
Swain enlisted in the Army in 1967 and served for three years, including a year-long tour in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. During his tour in Vietnam, among other duties, Swain was the only soldier of enlisted rank assigned to work with a team of seven lieutenant colonels sent to Vietnam to investigate the black market and other illegal activities. Swain spent his tour in Cam Rahn Bay, Tan Son Nhut, Long Binh, Bien Hoa, and Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City). Swain says that although he was “shot at by an enemy sniper, had a hand grenade thrown at me, was targeted by a Viet Cong riding a motorbike with a .45 automatic, and was in a unit rocketed and bombed with satchel charges, I was never able to ‘engage the enemy,’ as they would hit and run.”
Swain was honorably discharged and received nine decorations, including the Army Commendation Medal. He is currently the chair of the humanities division at Western Iowa Tech Community College.