Document Type

Oral History

Interviewee name

Henry Fuller


Craig Day

Interview date


Interview location

Lisbon Falls, Maine





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Henry “Hank” Fuller, interviewed by Craig Day at Lisbon Falls, Maine, June 10, 1999. Fuller discusses his youth in Connecticut and moving to Maine, growing up feeling patriotic and anticipating the day he would join the service, feeling “duped by the system” after serving in Vietnam, now questions authority, the divisiveness of the war, attending college for the deferment, graduating and qualifying for a commission in the Marines. He talks about his experience in Basic School, the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King while in Basic School, being assigned to the Third Marine Division infantry located in the northwest corner of South Vietnam a little over four months before reassignment to his tank unit, his belief that the service was just looking for bodies resulting in weak Marine Corps leaders, dealing with soldiers from McNamara’s Project 100,000, recruits with developmental delays who received low scores in cognitive aptitude, the soldiers in his platoon, losing four men at Hill 162, and the guilt he continues to feel about the eight men who were killed. Fuller speaks about arriving in Vietnam, feeling a blast of heat when the airplane door was opened, the smell of the place, the White Elephant in Da Nang, war correspondents, his first exposure to combat, leading by example to earn respect, his pride in fulfilling his duty without cracking, knowing the exact dates he knew the war was wrong, the importance of Hill 162, the physical demands of going on patrol, the U.S, strategy to only wound VC soldiers to specifically create a burden for the North Vietnamese to manage, the Vietnamese culture valuing age over youth opposed to American culture, incidents of theft from U.S. soldiers by ARVN non-coms, the Army being issued higher quality, newer weapons than the Marines who received WWII era weapons and gear, receiving outdated maps of the DMZ and stumbling across a bunker complex as a result. He talks about contracting jungle rot in his arms and the lack of basic hygiene in the field, going on R and R then returning to receive his first lieutenant’s warrant and Purple Heart on the same day, getting wounded by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade, being medevacked on July 13, 1969 from Charlie Two after tearing his knee apart running for a bunker under fire, going to the Third Medical Battalion to be put in a cast and requesting to see his men again to say good-bye before being taken to Da Nang by jeep, his experiences at Yokosuka Naval Hospital and Chelsea Naval Hospital, returning home to recuperate then reporting to Buffalo, New York to spend 16-months as the casualty assistance officer being responsible for death notifications. Fuller explains suppressing his psychological pain until one Christmas season in the early 1980s when he began dreaming about Vietnam, his father’s death occurred two days before Christmas a few years earlier and the four men killed at Hill 162 happened two weeks before Christmas, the treatment he received from civilians after the war, rubbings he made at the Vietnam wall memorial, and his career as an Occupational Therapist working with disabled children. Text: 57 pp. transcript. Time: 02:04:03.


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Part 2. mfc_na4495_01B
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Military History | Oral History | United States History

Birth date

December 14, 1945


Suffield, Hartford County, Connecticut

Nation of origin

United States

Home state/Territory







Occupational Therapist

Branch of service

U.S. Marine Corps

Service Unit

Third Marine Division

Dates of service

1967-1971; Vietnam, September 1968-July 1969

Date of entry

September 8, 1967

Service entry


Location of Service

Quảng Trị

Awards & Ribbons

Purple Heart

Wars & Conflicts

Vietnam War

Battles & Engagements

Tet, 1969

Entry Rank

O-1 2nd Lieutenant

Highest Rank

O-2 1st Lieutenant

Exit Rank

O-2 1st Lieutenant


Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon B. Johnson, Barry Goldwater, John F. Kennedy, Captain Dick Gardiner; Gerhold; Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Reverend Abernathy, Bill Russell, Lt. [Thaddeus] Lesnick, Lt. [Ellsworth] Kramer, Mesque, Smith, Boucher, Don Hoe, Ted Kennedy, Terry Penseneau, Albert Gates, Corp. Chauncy Whiteside, Steve Dowdell, Duncan Sleigh, Eric Barnes, David Schwartz, Corporal Hine, Ron McLean, Mike Wanch, Everett Reepy, John McCain, Reagan, Saddam Hussein, Jean Sanders, Sara Fuller


Washington, D.C.; Quantico; Okinawa; Khe Sanh; Da Nang; The White Elephant; Quang Tri; Dong Ha; Mudder’s Ridge; Con Thien; Ben Hòa River; The Washout; Charlie Two; Hill 162; Leatherneck Square; Cam Lo; DMZ; Laos; Yokosuka Naval Hospital; Chappaquiddick


Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Tanks; Project 100,000; Operational rations (Military supplies); Jungle rot; Combat patrols; Rest and recreation; Military casualties; Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Collection name

Maine Vietnam Veterans Oral History

Collection number


Item number


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Hank Fuller, interviewed by Craig Day, Part 4



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