Welcome Home: The 50-Year Commemoration of the Vietnam War

Highlights – A Sampling of Objects from the Welcome Home Exhibit

71st Evacuation Hospital, Pleiku
 

71st Evacuation Hospital, Pleiku

Joan Furey, a native New Yorker, pictured above, was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps in 1968. She volunteered for duty in Vietnam and served at the 71st Evacuation Hospital in Pleiku from January 1969 to January 1970. Upon completion of her tour of duty, she was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service for her work as a staff nurse in the Post-Op/ICU. Furey went on to a career in public service, working 30 years for the Department of Veterans Affairs in a variety of positions in nursing service, and later the founding Director of the Center for Women Veterans. Photo courtesy of Joan Furey. 

Credit: Courtesy of Joan Furey
USS Sanctuary, photographic print
 

USS Sanctuary, photographic print

Navy nurses and patients aboard the USS Sanctuary hospital ship, assigned duty off South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, c. 1968.

Credit: Department of Defense, courtesy of Robert Allyn
U.S. Army Nurse Comforting a Soldier
Mary Lou Sorrin
 

U.S. Army Nurse Comforting a Soldier Artist:Mary Lou Sorrin

Mary Lou Sorrin served in Vietnam as a nurse in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Sorrin’s art is on display in the Vietnam Veteran’s Art Museum in Chicago and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. She resides in the Hudson Valley. 

Credit: Courtesy of Joan Furey
Military Payment Certificates
 

Military Payment Certificates

Military personnel in Vietnam were paid in scrip instead of cash. This was done to discourage black market activity. Certificates could be exchanged for U.S. currency upon leaving the country.

Credit: From the collection of Stuart W. Lehman.
Ho Chi Minh Sandals
 

Ho Chi Minh Sandals

Vietnamese sandles made from tire treads and inner tubes, often called "Ho Chi Minh" sandals after the North Vietnamese leader.

Credit: Property of the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, New York State Military Museum
South Vietnamese Honor Medal
 

South Vietnamese Honor Medal

Awarded by the South Vietnamese government to members of the United States armed forces who assisted with the organization and training of the Vietnamese military.

Credit: From the collections of the New York State Museum.
Naval Pea Coat and Cap
 

Naval Pea Coat and Cap

Robert Wurster of Rensselaer, New York wore this pea coat and cap while serving as a signalman aboard the USS Beatty and the USS Little Rock from 1967 to 1973.

Credit: Property of the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, New York State Military Museum
Homage to John Marts
James Davis Nelson
 

Homage to John Marts Artist:James Davis Nelson

John Marts was a friend of Nelson's who was wounded three times. This painting represents Nelson's experience during the war and shows the still-surviving spirit and valor of the American youth who bravely took up the call to arms.

James Davis Nelson served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War as a combat artist and rifleman from 1967-68. Nelson’s works are a memorial to those he fought with during, as he once joked, “an all-expenses-paid vacation to Southeast Asia.”  His paintings depict the personal relationships he formed with fellow soldiers while highlighting the atmosphere of urgency and tension that he felt upon his arrival in Vietnam.  Nelson had studied Fine Arts at the Art Students League and National Academy of Design in New York City and was working in a studio on Fifth Avenue when he was drafted in 1967.

Credit:
U.S. Air Force Service Ribbon Bar
 

U.S. Air Force Service Ribbon Bar

This service ribbon bar includes ribbons signifying the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Good Conduct Medal, the Combat Readiness Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, a Distinguished Service Citation, an Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Air Force Longevity Service Award, and the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Award.

Credit: From the Collections of the New York State Museum.
Vietnam Service Medal
 

Vietnam Service Medal

Awarded to all armed forces members who served in Vietnam, (or the surrounding waters and airspace) between July 3, 1965 and March 28, 1973.

Credit:
MCI Accessory Pack
 

MCI Accessory Pack

Meal Combat Individuals (MCI) were designed for individual soldiers in the field. They weighed about 2.7 pounds and included one canned meat, one canned fruit, one canned bread, or dessert item, and an accessory pack.

The accessory pack included coffee, creamer, sugar salt, a plastic spoon, cigarettes, matches, chewing gum, toilet paper, and sometimes a small can opener.

Credit: Property of the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, New York State Military Museum.
U.S. Air Force Pilot's Survival Knife
 

U.S. Air Force Pilot's Survival Knife

Designed for pilots who were shot down or crash landed in the wilderness or enemy territory, the back of the blade can be used as a saw and the pommel as a hammer. The pouch on the sheath contains a carborundum sharpening stone.

Credit: From the Collection of Stuart W. Lehman.
"P38" Can Opener
 

"P38" Can Opener

Nicknamed "P38" because it supposedly took 38 punctures to open one can. This handy device was included in cases of rations. Soldiers sometimes attached them to their dog tag chains.

Credit: From the Collection of Stuart W. Lehman
M1 Helmet, c. 1965
 

M1 Helmet, c. 1965

This M1 helmet was worn by Captain Dennis Finnegan of Lynbrook, New York when it was pierced by a bullet during combat on May 10, 1967. Finnegan served three tours of duty with the 101st Airborne Division before he was killed in a helicopter crash in 1972.

Credit: Property of the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, New York State Military Museum.
Cigarette Packs
 

Cigarette Packs

Cigarette packs were included in a soldiers Meal Combat Individual (MCI) accessory pack and components. MCIs were designed for individual soldiers in the field. They weighed about 2.7 pounds and included canned meat, one canned fruit, one canned bread, or dessert item, and an accessory pack. The accessory pack included coffee, creamer, sugar, salt, a plastic spoon, cigarettes, matches, chewing gum, toilet paper and sometimes a small can opener.

Cigarettes were discontinued from the MCIs in 1972.

Credit: Property of the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, New York State Military Museum
Field Dressing, 1970
 

Field Dressing, 1970

Manufactured by the Lily White Sales Company, New York.

Credit: Property of the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, New York State Military Museum.
Bunk Canvas
 

Bunk Canvas

This graffiti-covered Bunk Canvas came from the USNS General Nelson M. Walker, a troop transport ship that brought thousands of soldiers to Vietnam from 1966 to 1967.  Soldiers on board often passed the time by inscribing their bunks with graffiti, leaving a record of their names, hometowns and sense of humor. Before the ship was scrapped, volunteers removed and preserved many of the bunks and other artifacts.

Credit: Property of the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, New York State Military Museum.
Soui-Tre, Battle of F.S.B. Gold
James Davis Nelson
 

Soui-Tre, Battle of F.S.B. Gold Artist:James Davis Nelson

On March 21, 1967, 450 American soldiers of the Third Brigade, Twenty-fifth Infantry Division at Fire Support Base Gold at Suoi Tre in Tay Ninh Province, held off a force of 2,500 North Vietnamese Army regulars of the 271st Regiment.  The fight lasted for four hours of machine gun fire, grenades, and hand-to-hand combat.  A column of tanks arrived to end the assault moments before the Americans’ ammunition ran out.

James Davis Nelson served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War as a combat artist and rifleman from 1967-68. Nelson’s works are a memorial to those he fought with during, as he once joked, “an all-expenses-paid vacation to Southeast Asia.”  His paintings depict the personal relationships he formed with fellow soldiers while highlighting the atmosphere of urgency and tension that he felt upon his arrival in Vietnam.  Nelson had studied Fine Arts at the Art Students League and National Academy of Design in New York City and was working in a studio on Fifth Avenue when he was drafted in 1967.

According to Nelson: “This painting is a memorial to those I served with and to the American soldiers of the Third Brigade, Twenty-fifth Infantry Division, who, some dying, some surviving, took part in that engagement. After the war, veterans sent me their photographs and descriptions. I remembered what had been described to me by members of my company. My purpose was to create a chronicle of the battle.”

 

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