Document Type

Oral History

Interviewee name

Jon Oplinger


Laura Tucker

Interview date


Interview location

Farmington, Maine





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Jon Oplinger, interviewed by Laura Tucker in Farmington, Maine on June 8, 1999. Oplinger tells about enlisting with the Army after receiving his draft notice; being assigned to the infantry; basic training, infantry training; enlisting in Officer Candidate School; going to Primary Helicopter School as executive officer of a headquarters company; receiving his orders to go to Vietnam in January 1968 but not departing until May of 1968; hoping the Tet Offensive may have signaled an end to the war; attending Jungle School for two weeks in Panama to acclimatize to tropical weather; being assigned to the 9th Division before being reassigned to Delta Company, Second Infantry Battalion. He briefly describes how night ambushes and combat assaults were physically staged; being in the field two and a half months before being shot. He responds to questions about living conditions and unit discipline. He speaks about his return home and recovery; returning to college at Kent State; witnessing the shootings, feeling the National Guard was out of control; his sense of social exhaustion at the end of the war in 1975. Text: 52 pp. transcript, 2 pp. administrative. Total time: 01:50:53

Part 1 mfc_na4480_01A
Part 2 mfc_na4480_01B
Part 3 mfc_na4480_02A
Part 4 mfc_na4480_02B


Military History | Oral History | United States History

Birth date

February 7, 1944


Akron, Summit County, Ohio

Nation of origin

United States

Home state/Territory







University Professor

Branch of service

U.S. Army

Service Unit

D Company 2/5th, First Cavalry Division

Dates of service

April 1966-July 1969, Vietnam 1968

Date of entry


Location of Service

Landing Zone (LZ) Jane, Hải Lăng, Vietnam

Awards & Ribbons

Purple Heart

Wars & Conflicts

Vietnam War

Entry Rank

O-1 2nd Lieutenant

Highest Rank

O-2 1st Lieutenant


Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Walters, Texas; Panama; Travis Air Force Base, California; Long Binh; Valley Forge, Pennsylvania; Kent State University, Kent, Ohio


Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Infantry; Military helicopters; Ammunition; Military casualties; Operational rations (Military supplies); Military hospital; Kent State Shootings, Kent, Ohio, 1970

Collection name

Maine Vietnam Veterans Oral History

Collection number


Item number


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Jon Oplinger, interviewed by Laura Tucker, Part 1



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