My Debt of Gratitude to Vietnam Veterans

Updated 3/2022


All military veterans bear a debt of gratitude to the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen that came before them. History teaches hard lessons and the lessons of combat are the hardest and every generation bears a debt of gratitude to the military personnel that served before their time.


As a post 9/11 Military Veteran and an Iraq war veteran, I personally owe an incredibly strong debt of gratitude to the Vietnam veterans that came before me. Vietnam veterans personify the spirit of service, sacrifice, and valor that most of us strive and even hope to obtain for a brief time during our period of service.  In my opinion, all post 9/11 military veterans owe their thanks to all Vietnam veterans. Here are seven reasons to be grateful for Vietnam Veterans:


  1. Vietnam Veterans showed us how to persevere In a conflict. The Vietnam War was an event that sharply divided the country along political, societal, and economic lines. The US military carried on in the conduct of the war in Vietnam despite the divisions across US society. This incredible perseverance, dedication to duty, and professionalism is a shining example of dedication to duty from the Vietnam generation of military veterans for America.

  2. Vietnam Veterans demonstrated true combat leadership. Vietnam displayed an incredible range of combat operations. Special Operations, ground operations, fixed and rotary wing, intelligence operations, supporting fires, electronic warfare, logistical support, and other ongoing support operations took place on a daily basis all across Vietnam. Vietnam Veterans displayed courage under fire, an unmatched sense of devotion to their comrades, and a desire to minimize the war on the Vietnamese population.  

  3. Vietnam Veterans saved our lives. Vietnam perfected the use of aerial medical evacuation, close in combat surgery, forward staged full service hospitals, and the use of body armor by ground personnel. The thousands of post 9/11 military veterans that were wounded, survived, recovered, or were hit and uninjured owe unwavering gratitude to Vietnam veterans that started and began the long journey to perfect medical evacuation and effective body armor.

  4. Vietnam Veterans led their teams in an era of societal strife. During the Vietnam War, the United States was torn by political, societal, and economic strife that divided the country, citizens, and families. Despite this strife and through the conflict in America, Vietnam Veterans led their teams in training and combat.

  5. Vietnam Veterans set the standard for realistic combat training. The incredibly high levels of training that Post 9/11 Veterans received prior to their deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and across the globe came from the hard lessons learned that Vietnam Veterans experienced first-hand on the vital importance of difficult, challenging, and realistic combat training. The training that propelled Post 9/11 Military Veterans to succeed came from the blood and sweat of Vietnam Veterans.

  6. Vietnam Veterans rebuilt the military. The tanks, armored personnel carriers, radios, medical equipment, personal weapons, artillery, and other equipment that dot the globe during today’s military operations all came from the minds and sketches of Vietnam Veterans. Too often, the Night Vision Devices, laser aiming devices, high capacity magazines, and sights that populate today’s service rifles are taken for granted. Vietnam Veterans helped give us those, too.

  7. Vietnam Veterans showed us how to reenter society. Finally, Vietnam Veterans never stopped giving to the country and society when they left military service. Vietnam Veterans served as educators, politicians, inventors, business people, government officials, serving military members, and family members. This devotion to military service and then do incredible post-military service is a strong reminder to the Post 9/11 military veterans that there is still much to do. 

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This Veteran’s Day seek out as many Vietnam Veterans as you can find, and deeply thank them for their service. The service, dedication, and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans shaped America for the better and we owe them an ongoing sense of gratitude.    



Other Articles of Interest:


  1. The Memory of 9/11 & How I Re-Learned To Appreciate America
  2. Business Lessons from the D-Day Invasion
  3. Business Lessons from the Defense of Little Round Top




Author Biography: Chad Storlie is a Retired US Army Officer, the author of Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and has published over 230 articles in over 145 publications on military veterans, career advancement, business, leadership, strategy, education, financial planning, and national security topics.  Chad excels as an author, mentor, speaker, and teacher showing business leaders and military veterans how military skills make lives, careers, and businesses better.  Chad is an adjunct Professor of Marketing at Creighton University.  Chad has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.