Document Type

Oral History

Interviewee name

Tony Scucci


Kellie Pelletier

Interview date


Interview location

Mt. Vernon, Maine





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Tony Scucci, interviewed by Kellie Pelletier on July 1, 1999, at Mt. Vernon, Maine. Scucci discusses his early life in school and attending trade school where he studied auto mechanics for four years, graduating in 1966; being drafted into the Army in 1968; believing he would serve as a mechanic but being assigned to the infantry after completing his training. He explains his experience training at Fort Polk, Louisiana; using kerosene-filled tin cans to prevent cockroaches from crawling up the legs of the beds; the phases of belief he experienced leading up to his deployment; being assigned to the 9th Infantry Division north of Saigon then being moved to the Mekong Delta. He tells about his typical day-to-day experience being deployed for missions from Navy vessels that operated on the Mekong River and returning to the vessels every couple of weeks and limiting his personal combat equipment to two canteens, ammunition, his weapon and cigarettes; living like an animal; walking in the rice paddies because the dikes were unsafe; always being wet and carrying valued items—toilet paper, matches, cigarettes—in the band of his helmet to attempt to keep them dry. Scucci talks about arriving in Vietnam on his 20th birthday in March 1968, the heat and the smells, having no control in decision making, and the boredom of waiting to be assigned to a unit; ending up in Dong Tam. He explains that walking established paths and trails was unsafe because of booby traps; walking behind a villager on a path was the only assurance that a path was safe; types of booby traps; learning hyper vigilance and living in constant anxiety that remained with him for years. He describes C-rations food drops from helicopters and the ascribed value of certain rations compared to others—such as peanut butter, which could be burned to heat food—fellow soldiers descending into uncivilized, animalistic behavior fighting over limited rations to survive juxtaposed with standing in line, holding a tray in the chow line to receive hot food “and lots of it;” experiencing free-dried rations for the first time; using C-4 explosives to heat canned food one Thanksgiving. He speaks of having limited contact with Vietnamese civilians; enjoying seeing the children and giving them candy; recognizing the people lived a subsistence lifestyle; feeling conflicted about the lack of American respect for the Vietnamese culture; his feelings on being dragged “kicking and screaming into this whole thing” but being too young to know he had choices; the impact on his parents for not helping him identify those choices; his view of Vietnamese scouts assigned to his units and their lack of dependability. Scucci talks about the difference in the perception of danger between sailors stationed aboard ship and soldiers sleeping aboard ship between patrols when alarms sounded; slack discipline in the field; the “whole approach to combat was to…survive;” his leadership approach; leaving the service with “foot rot” but otherwise uninjured; returning home following the premature birth and subsequent death of his son; requesting reassignment stateside and training to become a drill sergeant to stay remain at Fort Dix; using the GI Bill to go to college; becoming involved in Vietnam Veterans Against the War then getting out of it; feeling he didn’t ‘fit in’ with Veteran groups or student groups; seeking social isolation; ending up going into Social Work. Text: 37 pp. transcript, 3 pp. administrative. Audio: mfc_na4501_01A & mfc_na4501_01B, mfc_na4501_02A. Time: 01:51:04. Restrictions: No restrictions


Part 1. mfc_na4501_01A
Part 2. mfc_na4501_01B
Part 3. mfc_na4501_02A


Military History | Oral History | United States History

Birth date



Patterson, Passaic County, New Jersey

Nation of origin

United States

Home state/Territory






Ethnic group



Organizational and clinical consultant

Branch of service

U.S. Army

Service Unit

9th Infantry Division

Dates of service

March 20, 1968-March 19, 1970; Vietnam, August 1968-March 1970

Date of entry


Service entry


Location of Service

Mekong Delta

Wars & Conflicts

Vietnam War

Entry Rank

E-1 Private

Highest Rank

E-5 Sergeant

Exit Rank

E-5 Sergeant


John Wayne; Robin Williams


Fort Dix, New Jersey; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Saigon; Dong Tam; My Tho; Ben Tre; Can Tho; Cam Ranh Bay; Washington State


Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Booby traps; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Operational rations (Military supplies); Jungle rot

Collection name

Maine Vietnam Veterans Oral History

Collection number


Item number


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Tony Scucci, interviewed by Kellie Pelletier, Part 1



Rights Statement

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