Document Type

Oral History

Interviewee name

Wayland Magoon


John Springer

Interview date


Interview location

Lewiston, Maine





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Wayland Magoon, interviewed by John Springer at the Muskie Archives, Bates College, Lewiston, Maine on June 22, 1999. Magoon discusses his early years growing up in Skowhegan, Maine and when he first learned about Vietnam, attending Thomas College and receiving a deferment, playing in a garage band, dropping out, and being drafted into the Army, feeling that serving was something he had to do. He tells of receiving his draft notice and being sent to Fort Bragg the next day, being hassled by drill instructors for being a draftee instead of a volunteer, going through basic training and combat engineer training, being assigned to the 31st Engineer Battalion, qualifying for officer candidate school, regretting that he didn't choose flight school, going home for Christmas prior to his deployment and seeing body counts on the news, traveling by ship from San Francisco to Okinawa and then Vietnam, arriving at Black Horse Base Camp, the smell of diesel and human waste, duty as a driver for officers, volunteering to run the Officers' Club, and his feelings looking back on the war. Text: 36 pp. transcript, 2 pp. administrative. Total time: 01:44:34

Part 1: mfc_na4479_01A
Part 2: mfc_na4479_01B
Part 3: mfc_na4479_02A


Military History | Oral History | United States History

Birth date

March 28, 1947


Skowhegan, Somerset County, Maine

Nation of origin

United States

Home state/Territory






Branch of service

U.S. Army

Service Unit

31st Engineer Battalion, 159th Combat Engineers in support of 11th Armored Cavalry

Dates of service

July 1967 – April 1969, Vietnam, 1969

Date of entry

July 1967

Service entry


Location of Service

Black Horse Base Camp, Xuan Loc, Vietnam

Wars & Conflicts

Vietnam War

Entry Rank

E-1 Private


SP-5 Specialist 5th Class (discontinued in 1985)


SP-5 Specialist 5th Class (discontinued in 1985)


Skowhegan, Maine; Bangor, Maine; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Leonardwood, Missouri; Pope Air Force Base; Fort Bliss, Texas; San Francisco; Okinawa, Japan; Vung Tau, Vietnam; Xuan Loc, Vietnam; Lai Khe, Vietnam; Phuoc Vinh, Vietnam; Long Binh, Vietnam; Bien Hua, Vietnam; Los Angeles; Hollywood; Boston; New Hampshire; Amherst, Massachusetts; Loas


Vietnam War, 1961-1975; Enlisted Man’s Club; Officer’s Club; Booby Traps; Communism; Relationships

Collection name

Maine Vietnam Veterans Oral History Project

Collection number


Item number


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Wayland Magoon, interviewed by John Springer, Part 1



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