Veteran Heading Back to Vietnam

Bob Daniels
Bob Daniels

by Leland Kim

KANEOHE - (KHNL) It was a bloody war, killing more than fifty-eight thousand U.S. soldiers close to four million civilians.

The Vietnam War left an indelible mark on the world's psyche, and the sounds of the war still echo today.

A different time and place, but what Bob Daniels and his family experienced some forty years ago, many American families with loved ones in Iraq experience now.

Daniels left Vietnam at the height of the war almost 40 years ago, and now, retired Hawai'i marine, Bob Daniels says, he's heading back.

"It's something that just hit my brain and I wanted to go over there and see what it was like after I left 38 years ago," Daniels said.
His wife Jeannie put on a brave face when he shipped out but she was devastated.

"I just worried every single day," she said.  "We all did.  We all worried that Marine Corps car would be knocking on our door."

It was a difficult war and Bob was sometimes in harm's way.

"We spent quite a few hours of each day in a bunker because the rockets would come in," he said.  "When the first rocket or mortar would come in, a siren would go off and, of course, everybody would just hit the bunkers."

During the year he was there, Daniels often thought about Jeannie and their two young daughters.

I, of course, missed the family quite a bit," he said.  "And I really didn't have much time to think about anything.  Of course, I was hoping that I would get out of there alive because a lot didn't."

Bob Daniels is retired now and spends his time traveling with Jeannie and walking his dog Ho Chi.  He says he wants to go back to Vietnam to see how much it has changed in thirty-eight years.

"I just want to see the country," he said.  "I know that when I was over there in Chu-Lai Phu, the place is going to be completely different.  And I know that.  But I still want to go back."

The Daniels have arranged a two-week private tour of Vietnam, visiting the places Bob saw when he was stationed there.