25 Main Street, Newtown, CT 06470. Phone: 203-426-5937.
The Vietnam War was a seminal but dark period of modern American history. The conflict left thousands of troops on both sides dead, maimed, and missing. It polarized the nation and transformed us into a society with lessened respect for authority, and one whose first reaction to anything was to protest. On May 14, at 7.30 PM, in the community room of the Booth Library, 25 Main Street (route 25) the Newtown Historical Society will look at the war through the eyes of David Montgomery, who served as a Marine lieutenant stationed in Vietnam during the height of the conflict. The alliance of WWII began to show cracks almost immediately following the war, and the long era known as the Cold War was in full swing by the late 1940s. American desire to contain the spread of Communism and to prevent the domino effect from striking one small country after another led us to follow the French into Vietnam virtually on their heels as they pulled out of the region. Our troops, still a drafted army rather than the current volunteer force, were built up over the ensuing years to match a full scale war effort. We were faced with a land conflict in Asia, fighting an indigenous force fighting to defend and free their homeland; while the United States forces had all the advantages of conventional war in armament, industrial production and air power, the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong had the advantages of terrain, cause, and the weapons of guerilla war and terror. New weapons such as Agent Orange were designed to combat the difficulties of fighting in a jungle terrain but did little to stem the tide, and left lasting “collateral” damage to both the environment and the troops, including the American forces. Physical illness and mental trauma were to haunt veterans for decades to come. David Montgomery served in the artillery along the borders of North Vietnam and Laos. He will present an overview of Marine involvement in the war, and will give us a unique personal view of his service in the conflict, including the infamous Tet Offensives. Montgomery has spoken on military matters before several groups in the area. The Society will hold its annual meeting before the presentation in order to elect trustees and officers for the coming year. Refreshments will be served following the presentation. Please call 203-426-5937 for further details.