Vietnam voices: Andy McGloughlin
Andy McGloughlin, 60, retired Suffolk County Park Police officer, Calverton
Really, 1969 was a lost year of my life. It was the year I served in the Marines in Vietnam. It started when I graduated Mercy High School in Riverhead in 1967, then spent a year at Southampton College. A buddy and I decided that if we were going into the service anyway, we wanted the best training possible, so we enlisted in the Marine Corps.
I was in Quang Tri, way up in the north. It was a scary place for a 19-year-old whose biggest worry before was where to go party and what kind of beer to drink. Vietnam was the darkest place I have ever seen; you couldn't make out your hand in front of your face. On the other hand, enlisting in the Marines was the best thing I could have done. It gave me discipline and confidence.
When I returned to JFK Airport in uniform after a year and a half, people called me names and spat on me. That was when I saw how much people didn't want the war and how angry they were. I guess it was a reaction to My Lai. I found myself waking everyone at night when I was screaming. Dreams, I guess. They eventually went away but returned almost 25 years later. People might not like wars, but they shouldn't be taking it out on our troops. Thank goodness America is backing our troops now.