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"You feel like you're fighting for someone's else's freedom and you don't have your own." (Audio Interview, 16:50)

   Daniel Edward Burress
Image of Daniel Edward Burress
Daniel Burress, en route to Vietnam, 1965
War: Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Branch: Marine Corps
Unit: 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division
Service Location: Vietnam
Rank: Sergeant, E-5
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A "gung-ho" Marine recruit at 21, Daniel Burress received a liberal education when he was shipped off in 1967 to Vietnam, where "a good day was a dry day" and "a bad day was stacking bodies." During battles, he found little racial tension, but back at the garrison, it was a different story. The news of Martin Luther King's assassination only fed his disillusionment about a war in which he trusted very few people. But on his last night in country, he did find himself sharing a bottle of whiskey with a white Marine to whom he had spoken very little during his tour.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (8 clips)
»Complete Interview  (53 min.)
»Transcript
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (8 items)
Answering if he experienced combat; Vietcong playing mind games; giving respect to the guys who went out on reconnaissance. (02:37) A good day in Vietnam and a bad day there. (03:36) Feeling disconnected from back home; hearing about Martin Luther King's assassination; overcoming morale problems. (01:07)
Absence of racism on the battlefield; knowing that it will all start up back in the world. (02:58) Fighting for survival is the only objective; not trusting the Vietnamese people; boredom among soldiers leading to "dumb things." (05:42) Friendships forged in battle; his last night in country; bonding with a white Marine; regretting not keeping in touch with some of the men he served with. (06:49)
Believes that blacks died in disproportionate numbers in Vietnam; feeling unpatriotic after he came back. (03:29) Vietnam not a just war because it wasn't declared; fighting the "white man's war." (03:15) 
  
 
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  October 26, 2011
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